‘Simply Build Nothing’ – West Side Rag

‘Merely Construct Nothing’ – West Facet Rag

At that Zoom assembly, the New York Metropolis Parks Division (Parks) offered to the committee revised concepts for his or her Riverside Park 79th Road Boat Basin renovation. Parks was shifting towards a design for a barely smaller, two-story “dock home,” a euphemism for a big administrative constructing to accommodate all of the amenities and other people they decided essential to service the trendy marine facility they envision in Riverside Park.

Some locally of the Higher West Facet of Manhattan have been horrified on the concept of an enormous field supported by tall, fats columns positioned between the Hudson River Greenway and its views of the sundown over the Palisades.

Proposed new dock home. Zoom screenshot.

The Boat Basin is in a very beloved space of Riverside Park, the place benches line the walkway beneath the cover of crab apple branches that flower gloriously pink and white within the spring. Right here views prolong from the George Washington Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. The benches collect aged folks, resting skate boarders, younger lovers canoodling, loners studying or listening to music, and youngsters with dad and mom. Every day a throng of walkers, skate boarders, bikers, and child strollers surges alongside the trail in each instructions.

The Hudson River, as soon as a industrial water freeway, within the twentieth century grew to become New York’s sewer, crammed with industrial contaminants and uncooked human waste. Native environmental activism impressed court docket motion. Fifty-three years in the past, Congress overrode President Richard Nixon’s veto of the Clear Water Act. Atlantic sturgeon and different fish have returned, the wild oyster inhabitants has recovered, and humpbacked whales have been seen. Yearly the river fills with splashing New York Metropolis Triathlon opponents. Like its nice, civilized sister rivers, the Loire in France and the Rhine in Germany, the Hudson is now understood as an important pure public treasure to be protected.

Which brings us again to Parks’ Boat Basin Marina and Dock Home venture. The marina was for many years a motley assortment of live-aboards who made their major residence a motorized construction and paid a small slip charge. They have been enjoyable and funky boats with window packing containers and canine and neighbors having cocktails on the deck at sundown.

The present $90 million renovation venture closed the marina in 2021, with the live-aboards pressured out. The wooden docks have been rebuilt with extra slips. With extra transient boats, the Parks division needs a a lot bigger administrative and repair facility. Nevertheless it’s not clear who will use this costly new facility. They speak about ADA compliance and storm-surge design, septic hookups, and the need for places of work and storage and assembly rooms, showers, and power storage, however it’s wanting so much like a snug fuel station on the Hudson River with docking for rich yacht and sailboat homeowners.

Parks says they thought-about a small constructing on the basin with administrative and storage features contained in the city-owned underground parking storage throughout the walkway. It’s a part of Parks’ present renovation of the rotunda and the Boat Basin Café, and the 2 initiatives could possibly be mixed. They discovered this answer missing. They’ve a imaginative and prescient of a splendid single construction servicing a state-of-the-art new marina.

However why put a contemporary marina on the sting of Riverside Park on the Hudson River? Why ought to the wishes of a comparatively small group of boaters be extra essential than the park expertise of all of the close by condo residents and all of the guests touring the walkway? Why on this age once we are attempting to mitigate local weather change and proceed our cleaning of the waters of the Hudson ought to we permit parking for gas-propelled boats?

Why not discard the concept of a elaborate marina. Depart the present docks for native teams to arrange occasional kayaking or for folks to take pleasure in strolling on a dock farther into the Hudson with longer views.

Merely construct nothing.

“Nonetheless in search of the unicorn.” Dawn, 3/25. {Photograph} by Sunny Mindel.

Patricia Woodbridge is a retired Film Artwork Director who has lived on the Higher West Facet for 50 years.

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