Though its official opening is still two weeks off, joggers, walkers and Hoboken residents now have access to Hoboken's newest waterfront Park, Castle Point Park. Thursday was a cool blustery day, not made for much walking on the waterfront, but that didn't stop the diehard health enthusiasts from pounding the pavement on the new quarter mile stretch.
"Isn't it wonderful?" asked jogger and Willow Avenue resident Nancy Kim as she took a short respite to give the park the once-over. "How nice is it going to be when you can jog the entire length of the river in Hoboken?"
The dream of a fully connected waterfront walkway may not be that far away. Castle Point Park is the second section of the waterfront walkway to open in three months. It joins another quarter mile section between Pier A Park on the southern waterfront and Sinatra Park on the central waterfront. The only sections left incomplete are the two properties directly north of the new Castle Point Park and the Stevens Institute of Technology's physical plant to the north.
There is Union Dry Dock, Hoboken's last waterfront industry. They have been in negotiations with Stevens for the purchase of that land, but the results of those negations are not known and sources say the sides are still fairly far apart from making the deal happen.
The other property is the former Maxwell House site. There is a currently an application before the Planning Board for a 982-unit mixed use development that would include a four-acre park and waterfront walkway.
The city also has plans to form a partnership with Weehawken as early as 2002 to connect its waterfront Walkway with Hoboken's at the city's northern end.
In October, Mayor David Roberts pledged that by the end of his term Hoboken will have a continuous waterfront walkway.
Castle Point Park has a gazebo on the south with several benches and picnic tables. On the northern end is a fishing pier that extends to into the Hudson and is perfectly framed by the Empire State Building in Manhattan on the New York side of the river. The pier has a gazebo and a fish cleaning station. Connecting the southern gathering area and the northern pier is a stone walkway with a cast-iron railing on the river side with rustic old-world type street lamps to light the way.
Another positive about the completion of the park is that traffic on Sinatra Drive has been open to two-way traffic once again. The southbound lane has been closed for six months while construction of the park has taken place.
Thursday, car after car pulled aside the park and took a peek at the new open space.
"I like what I see," said Martin Gusenberry from the window of his white mini-van. "There is nowhere on the waterfront with a better view of Manhattan than Hoboken, and now they have the waterfront parks deserving of such a spectacular vista."
An exact time and date for the official ribbon cutting of the park has yet to be set, but according the to the mayor's spokesman, Michael Estevez, it should be within the first 10 days of the New Year.