Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Activity on the Precipice

In November, Gossips published a news item discovered in the Hudson Daily Star for April 30, 1851, reporting how the precipice at Promenade Hill was being made steeper to enable the Hudson River Railroad to lay tracks at its base.

A hundred and sixty-six years later, the railroad--now Amtrak--is again at work altering the rock face below Promenade Hill. This morning, Richard K. Wallace submitted this report to Gossips, along with photographs and a video.
Men on a Mountain
Track repair at NYC's Penn Station is creating the "summer of hell" for some Amtrak riders. In Hudson, it's the summer of hell for nesting birds and other little creatures nestled in the trees and bushes along the cliff and rugged rock face just below Parade Hill, at the foot of Warren Street.
There, a crew of chain-sawing tree men, climbing and repelling from the top of the hill, have begun clearing all the vegetation along the full length of the ridge, above the railroad tracks below. Across the tracks, a ground crew retrieves the falling limbs, branches, and brush, feeding everything into a mulch-making chipper.
This noisy, daring operation began yesterday and is expected to continue for six weeks until the entire escarpment is cleared of all vegetation, soil and loose rockthis according to the hard hats on the job. Once completed, the bare surface will be covered with shotcrete, a process that involves applying a kind of mortar mix onto the rock face using a hose, pneumatically projected at high velocity, usually reinforced by conventional steel rods, steel mesh, and/or fibers. 
Gone from view forever will be the Cambrian shale, argillite, and quartzite geologic formation, the foundation of the Parade Hill escarpment, first exposed when this Hudson railway cut sometime in the early 1800s. Gone too will be one more green nesting ground and safe refuge for all manner of Hudson's beloved winged, furry, and who-knows-what other manner of creatures, flora, and fauna.
As if in lamentation of this gross alteration of the landscape of the 1795 "Proprietors" grant, this morning a mixed gathering of distressed birds perched on the hill were doing their chirping, singing best to angrily protest the workmen, chain saws, and chippers below. Sad.


Gratitude to Richard K. Wallace for this report


  1. Actually it's Ordovician shale, but that doesn't change the fact that it will be resurfaced with some God-awful material. Ugh.

  2. sounds like a blank canvass to paint HUDSON on.

  3. I suppose it's stupid to ask, but does Amtrak need any permissions for doing this? Was anyone in Hudson government informed of this operation?

  4. It appears that the railroad owns the Promenade slope, which puts this action in the same category as Amtrak's unauthorized grading of an access road in January in a Zoning District which requires planning permission for the grading of roads.

  5. At least now the garbage will slide down to the bottom where it can be easily collected.

  6. Money for this and still a defunct bridge?