Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day at the River

As the Tin Horn Uprising Brass Band played such tunes as "Wade in the Water," "Which Side Are You On," and "Down by the Riverside," people gathered at noon at Ernest R. Lasher Memorial Park in Germantown to demonstrate their opposition to Amtrak's plan to install fences and gates around its right of way, cutting off access to the river. There was an actual sample of the fencing to be used on display.

Alluding to Amtrak's position that the fences are needed for public safety, Jen Crawford, chair of the Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee told the crowd about the current practice when people are down by the river, "When we hear a train coming, we yell 'TRAIN!' That's how we keep each other safe." A little later, when a train was heard approaching, the crowd yelled "TRAIN!" and held up their signs toward the train as it sped by. Crawford assured the crowd the protest wasn't against the train. "I want the train to be here," she said, "but I also want the train to let me be here."

Former Germantown supervisor George Sharpe called for people "to come together in a bipartisan way," declaring, "We do not want to lose access to our 'poor person's park.'" He recalled that twenty-five years ago, there were no protected crossings, and Amtrak resisted local governments' requests for them to be installed. He maintained, "The path to continued safety is to leave things alone."

Several of the speakers stressed the need for public meetings in the affected communities and reminded those gathered at the rally that the public comment period would end on May 1. Comments by email should go to, with the subject line "F-2018-0060." Comments can also mailed to:

New York State Department of State
CR G-2018-0060
Office of Planning
Development & Community Infrastructure
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231

Jennifer Benson, outreach coordinator for Riverkeeper, urged people in their comments "to write about what the river means to you."


  1. Everyone on the entrapped eastern side of the Hudson, continues to pay 63 cents per gallon of gas, for better roads, bridges and improved river access.

    More tax, less use and fewer users.

    Where has all the money gone?

  2. Why wouldn't these folks have finished the title search begun? The work's nearly done, and all signs are favorable that the 19th c. crossing rights have survived.