Some participated to raise awareness for their fight to keep part of the waterfront as open space, since ferry company NY Waterway has purchased the former Union Dry Dock south of the cove to use for ferry maintenance and refueling. The city is fighting to obtain the area for open space.
Each year thousands of people enjoy the cove for kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and more. The beach is not for swimming or lying on a blanket, but is an access spot for the water.
According to Jon Miller, who runs the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse located on Sinatra Drive North, roughly 6,000 people visit the cove per year to kayak or paddle board.
“This spot is a mecca for people to get into the Hudson River,” said Ron Hine of the Fund for a Better Waterfront. “It’s completely unique.”
Protecting the cove
According to Hine, the future of the Hoboken Cove is at risk.
It’s unclear yet whether Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit will permit NY Waterway to locate their new homeport nearby, for ferry maintenance, storage, and refueling. Currently the land is not in use, as NY Waterway is awaiting permits.
“If they move in and we lost the battle to protect our waterfront, it would be such a major defeat,” said Hine. “This is so important.”
At one point, the city floated the idea of acquiring the property by eminent domain.
Jon Miller of the Hoboken Cove Community Boat House said he has seen a resurgence of life in the Hudson River.
“Over the past few years we’ve had seals, whales, and dock worms come back to the river,” said Miller. “The last thing we need is an oil spill.”
He noted that he was worried about the safety of those who kayak, as the homeport may see as many as 80 ferry trips per day for maintenance and refueling.
“My kid kayaks here,” said Miller. “My nightmare is that a ferry backs up and doesn’t see him.”
All day long, participants in the day’s activities tweeted at Governor Phil Murphy through the FBW’s Twitter account, urging him to “#SavetheHobokenCove.”
“I wanted to learn more about the ecosystem and how I can help.” – Hannah Alter
Naturalist Noelle Thurlow led several educational workshops for children including a BioBlitz, which is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within the area.
She also led workshops testing the rivers water quality and one called Trash Free Seas in which participants documented the trash that washed up along the shore.
Union City resident Lydia Sardinas said she and her family go to the Hoboken waterfront every weekend.
“It’ is wonderful to give so much exposure to nature and the water to the youth,” she said.
11-year-old Hoboken resident Hannah Alter attended with her parents Dave and Camille.
“I wanted to learn more about the ecosystem and how I can help,” said Hannah.
Camille Alter said, “It is so easy to become disconnected from nature when you live in an urban area. Places like this are becoming even more important.”
The event was sponsored by the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, Resilience Paddle Sports, Fund for a Better Waterfront, and Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront. The nonprofit Waterfront Alliance based in New York City is sponsored several City of Water Days throughout the metropolitan region the same weekend.
City of Water Day at the Hoboken Cove was supported in part by a grant from the Waterfront Alliance and the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program.
Marilyn Baer can be reached at email@example.com.