Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Visioning a Future for the Furgary

Bill Krattinger, from the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, is expected to visit the site of the Furgary Boat Club on Thursday, July 6. After that visit, he will meet with the mayor and members of the Common Council at 4 p.m. at City Hall, to discuss the possibility of pursuing state and national register designation for the site. It was determined two years ago, at the end of July 2015, that the settlement of shacks known as the Furgary was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, not because the shacks are examples of great historic architecture but because the site in its entirety--shacks and their setting--is an example of a Maritime Cultural Landscape.

In the meantime, advocates for the Furgary, calling themselves the Shantytown Committee, have created a map to show what a plan for preserving the site might look like, which Gossips shares here, with the permission of its creators.

If you are curious to know which shacks are being recommended for preservation, you could go down and have a look. The numbers are spray-painted on the buildings, and the site is accessible.


  1. Thirty years ago I left a break away (5th) slip between cabin 13 and 14, in anticipation of the enevitable. Do you now plan undermine my vision of increased access?

    Get your mind right mapmaker.

    1. Learn to: 1) participate, and 2) compromise.

      There's increased access EVERYWHERE.

      You want more access only where it can frustrate others. You don't really care about access.

    2. During Sandy, this entire area was under four feet of water.

    3. Yeah, we had lots of access after Sandy.

      There can be nothing proprietary down there anymore after the court challenge was lost. The court's judgement swept away that thinking, and now the stewards of Shantytown must think of everyone else, of taxpayers.

      At the same time we should maximize our interests, which is why that shack reserved for leasing is on the map. And can there be a more fitting tribute to Joe S. than to reserve shack no. 16 for that purpose, which SHPO has already recognized as among the oldest of all the shacks (19th c.)?

      We probably missed something, but it's finally a reasonable plan.

  2. State and local restrictions on use of navigable rivers have to be legitimately related to enhancing public trust value, not reducing it. Rivers cannot be closed or partially closed to appease adjacent landowners, or to appease people who want to dedicate the river to fishing only, or to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies.

    The only thing this city gained five long years ago was a duty to to enhance public trust value.

    With zero dollars budgeted in each of the last five years, the public has been five years betrayed.

    The only thing the Department of Public Waterfront maintains is disdain for the public as their master.

    These public servants should have reached a public private partnership by incorporating with the existing maintainers to increase use rather than sending in the militia.

    1. I agree with all of the above until your last paragraph, and therein lies the crux.

      Whatever the City should have done all along will lose its relevance the moment the City initiates that public/private partnership. After that we must all look forward, albeit it in the trust-but-verify mode.

      But right now, and only for now, the circumstances are somewhat reversed. Though the mayor has invited a NYS historic preservation specialist to visit Hudson, the state official is looking for public feedback above all else. By his own account he needs to see the kind of cultural "context" which the City wouldn't provide even if it could (note: "cultural" rather than historical).

      But a big reason the public is not invited to attend the official's site visit (which the official had personally "hoped" the public would attend) is because of you. It was your own veiled threat to sabotage or even burn down any shack which counted in any plan other than your non-plan which decent people found off-putting.

      Otherwise the public has a great opportunity right now, an edge over our unimaginative City planners, which you would squander in the traditional "Furgary" mode (read: shoot self in foot as usual).

      The State's highest court left us with nothing!, but now that we're on the verge of salvaging something out of nothing you want to rehearse all the wrongs of the past? If you can't recognize this opportunity, then you have a self-serving fixation.

      Look at the map again (above). Do you suppose we can achieve anything better now that the City owns everything? Seriously: anything.

  3. "veiled threat to sabotage or even burn down any shack"

    I do know how to start a fire; kerosene, naphthalene and tide. But I don't play that way...

    Have you already forgotten that the recent fire just above dock street was (reportedly) started by a youngster living in the high rise.

    The poor huddled masses of the second ward might just find this plan as an intrusion by the nouveau-rich from the first ward.

    It's the new use while eliminated the old that causes deep seated ill will, from three generations that once used the place.

    1. Yes, your real theme is resentment and class warfare! I should have known. The only thing you left out is race-baiting, but I'm sure we can count on that next.

      You once told me that if you couldn't have Furgary (the judgement of the State's highest court incidentally), then as far as you're concerned no one else in the city should have whatever it is they want either, whether that's Kite's Nest, The Sloop Club, the Nack Center, whoever.

      You have no plan and no proposal beyond resentment, for which you are always preparing fresh ground.

      News flash: Shantytown is a City park which will someday be accessible to everyone, and not just you, me, and our respective friends. Those were good times, but the times have changed.

      Why not let go of the resentment and instead contribute to the planning effort. That's the surest way to defend your interests.

  4. Hundreds of my aquaintences once used the old Fisherflok's wharf this time of year. But I can count the people I call "friend" on one hand. Your just incorrect.

    For five years the city has restricted our collective (county) commerce and liberty, when they are obligated to enhance same.

    Maybe you like slow service and less liberty. County Fisherflok don't.

    By the way, will your underwater museum be done before or after the promanad has a wheelchair ramp? Old Fisherflok don't have a lot time to dither.

  5. 1.

    I believe that every defense of our traditional liberties is admirable and necessary, but even the most dogged Libertarian knows that shouting "fire!" in a theater is not protected speech.

    Without moderation anything can become intemperate, or even unhinged. The greater part of wisdom is recognizing the reasonable from the unreasonable.

    Frankly, there's not a whole lot that's reasonable left to your complaints, aside from your generic statements about traditional liberties with which I agree whole-heartedly.

    Your expectations are "impatient."You have no time for planning - or at least no time for other people's plans. But central to the civilized norms of our founding, which the most liberty-loving take for granted, is property ownership.

    Back when the erstwhile owners of the shacks held actual deeds, Shantytown was considered private property. Cotton Gelston, the City proprietor who created the earliest deeds, held the first deed to the land beneath your own shack. He left it to his son Samuel who sold it to the railroad, and so on.

    In 2012, the State rightly determined that any such deed was illegitimate: the people of the State of New York were the uninterrupted owners of the property since the 18th century.

    After the City acquired the site from the State, our previous mayor and Common Council were unnecessarily rough on us. In reply, we did our best to expose their lack of imagination and even hypocrisy, but with some small exceptions not worth mentioning the City was always within its rights concerning what it did or didn't do to the site. Yes, they'd been totally unimaginative and even mean, but not unlawful.

  6. 2.

    Now taking stock five years after the eviction, we have to acknowledge that river access - which we always enjoyed via the railroad property - was greatly augmented when the current mayor restored shore access via the new City property.

    The next chapter will decide the value of the shacks themselves, and not only as artifacts but as components of an ongoing maritime cultural landscape.

    That's the larger picture, and anything which is remotely reasonable must be framed within it. That's the context in which we must all fit our interests going forward.

    In contrast to this, and evidently by virtue of your disdain for the big picture, your unvarying complaints are absurdly selective and self-serving. By arguing your "rights" to public lands in such proprietary tones (as if we'd ever really lost river access at North Bay), you are less a defender of traditional liberties than a promoter of self-serving entitlements.

    This is the danger of your impatience, for which you now have no greater claim than any other taxpayer's claims.

    Here's a suggestion, then, by which you may temper all of your righteous indignation (in the face of having fewer rights than you suppose): make your own reasonable proposal for the site which best preserves and furthers the traditional interests you and I share.

    You might begin by dropping the entitlement thinking.

    1. Be patient and wait for a greater future liberty? Sounds like BS to me. The place no longer functions and is being picked apart.

      It wouldn't have cost taxpayers a penny to (only) fence in the shacks and continue to allow riverbed access.

      There once were many boats and more users. Our public servants serve us our liberty poorly.

  7. Excluding County Fisherfolk, who were always "entitled" to equal access on shore, might turn out to be very costly to city taxpayers.

  8. I believe you've framed the issue: were county Fisherfolk "entitled" to the continuous historic use of shore?

  9. If our petulant public servants thought it necessary to exact revenge against the tin boat navigators that sued, why was the eastern shore of the north bay restricted for the ones who did not?