Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Arriving by Water

On Sunday, a yacht called Manhattan II sailed up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany. The cruise was hosted by the SS Columbia Project, and on board were people with an interest in the Hudson Valley who had been invited to "exchange ideas about how to promote the Hudson River as a regional destination and increase the opportunities for the adjacent waterfront cities and towns."

There were several stops on the upriver journey, where invited guests could board or disembark. One of them was Hudson. Newburgh was also one of the original stops, but because of Winter Storm Stella, the boat was not able to dock there. As it happened, docking in Hudson turned out to be a challenge, but it had little to do with the snowstorm.

Because the City's floating docks have not yet been put out after the winter season nor have the Hudson Power Boat Association's floating docks, the only place that a boat the size of Manhattan II could safely put up was the bulkhead at the state boat launch, where a selection of the chain link fence had to be pulled back to allow passengers to disembark.

Photo courtesy Alan Neumann
Nick Zachos, chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, who with Sam Merrett and Scott Davis of HPBA helped pull back the fence (and put it back in place afterward) and get passengers safely off the boat, said of the incident in a comment to Gossips: "More evidence that we need an LWRP and a harbor management plan and a harbor manager."


  1. ... More evidence that Mr. Falkenheimer should be involved in none of it.

    Take back the City dock!

  2. This might be a time to explain (re-explain) the ownership issues at our waterfront and what it all means for docking and undocking. I thought we had one of the river's only deepwater ports. Who owns the port? Is it open to the public? And the Power Boat Association? Does it own the dock? Harbor manager? Is there just one "harbor"? Etc. Thanks. --Peter Meyer

  3. Nobody in their right mind would schedule a cruise like this in the month of March. To sensible boaters, the "winter season" isn't over yet. The SS Columbia Project screwed the pooch. Why didn't they schedule this in the month of May?

  4. Athens has two bulkheads, one has no fences, the other a gate.

    And, just where is Hudson"s harbor?

  5. When we asked these same harbor-related questions during the last waterfront program effort (LWRP), and particularly when we asked for a Harbor Management Plan (HMP), it took months for someone in City government to respond to residents who were supposed to be participating in the process from the get-go. (For those who don't know the story, the public was shut out and the program failed.)

    Anyway, we were instructed that the HMP was "inclusive," meaning that it was incorporated into the program without further mention or ado.

    But one thing did get corrected thanks to the Valley Alliance. Technically speaking, Hudson does not have a "deep water" port, so sometime in the summer of 2011 the many references in the draft LWRP to Hudson's deep water port were all scrubbed.

    Also, the HPBA owns its three parcels outright, having purchased the length of shore between the State boat launch and Dock Street from the HDC. The deed says the shoreline there was purchased for a dollar, but there's no way that can be true.

    1. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled that rivers that are physically navigable are legally navigable for purposes of state ownership ("state title"). On such rivers, in any state, the riverbed and banks are state land, held in trust for the public for navigation, fishing, and other non-destructive visits.
      Landowners often point out that their property deed, which is a legal document, makes no mention of the river running through their property being state land or being a public easement. The courts have repeatedly ruled that this makes no difference--a deed can only convey things that were owned by the seller, and if the river was navigable, the seller didn't own it. It was public property all along, since the beginnings of our country and our legal system. Consequently, a navigability claim or finding is not a "taking" of private property--the river was public all along.
      - See more at: http://www.nationalrivers.org/river-law-and-public-rights.h…

  6. SS Columbia
    207 feet long
    1,500 to 2,000 passengers
    go to website for details