Items tagged with 'Hudson River'

A few bits about the proposed Albany Skyway

Albany Skyway rendering

A rendering of the proposed park.

Updated with comment from NYSDOT.

One of the more intriguing Capital Region projects to pop up in the state's Regional Economic Development Council funding announcements this week is a linear park that would take over an off-ramp that connects currently connects Quay Street along the Albany riverfront to Clinton Ave downtown.

Here are a few details about the "Albany Skyway"...

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Vikings on the Hudson

viking ship under Green Island Bridge

Thanks, Laura!

Laura snapped this pic as that replica Viking ship made its way from Waterford to the Port of Albany Wednesday afternoon. We got a chance to gawk at the ship as it was docked in Waterford Wednesday morning -- there are a handful of photos after the jump.

The Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre had spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Waterford after traveling the Erie Canal. The ship left Norway this past April, crossed the Atlantic, traveled along the St. Lawrence Seaway, crossed the Great Lakes as far as Green Bay in early August (while dealing with some unexpected costs), and has been working its way back east since. (There's a map tracking the ship's journey in almost-real time on its website.)

The Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre is said to be the largest Viking ship built in modern times. From the ship's website:

Norway's leading experts in traditional boat building and the square sail were engaged in the development and construction of the ship. The construction is an experimental archaeological research program, and the aim was to recreate a ship with the superb seaworthiness that characterized the ocean going long ships in the Viking Age.

It's headed for Kingston this weekend, and then New York City the week of September 17.

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Signs of a comeback for one of the Hudson River's iconic species

atlantic sturgeon illustration

illustration: Duane Raver/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia

The Atlantic sturgeon is an iconic species for the Hudson River -- it's the fish depicted in the logo for the river's estuary, it was once a favorite food in this area known as "Albany beef," and they can grow up to 8-feet-long. The last century has been rough on the species, though -- the population has declined significantly the fish are now considered endangered.

But the state Department of Environmental Conservation reports this week that there are indications that Atlantic sturgeon populations are rebounding. DEC says a survey of the Hudson River last year found the highest numbers of sturgeon in the survey's 10-year history -- and there appears to be an overall upward trend.

Said acting DEC commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release: "We are cautiously optimistic that, with our continued vigilance and efforts to protect this species, Atlantic sturgeon will have a secure future."

The decline of Atlantic sturgeon populations prompted a 1998 moratorium on fishing them along the East Coast. And that ban could last until the late 2030s because sturgeon can live as long as 60 years, and don't reach maturity until 11-21 years old.

As David Strayer, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, explained to us last year:

"Fisheries biologists talk about [the overfishing of Atlantic sturgeon] like clear cutting, which I think is an apt analogy. You wouldn't think you could go into a wood lot and cut all the trees every five minutes and expect there to be a forest there any longer. Everybody understands it takes so many years for a baby tree to grow up. It's the same way with the sturgeons. When we started fishing them real hard it was like someone went into the woods and cut all the trees."

And now it appears the forest of fish is starting to slowly grow back.

Earlier on AOA: Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

Oh, hey, another seal in the Hudson River

seal at lock c-1Speaking of unusual Hudson River creatures... the state Canal Corporation reported today that a seal -- yep, a seal -- made its way through the lock at the Federal Dam in Troy this weekend. From the Canal Corp's FB posting (link added):

We had a special visitor at Lock C-1 (Halfmoon) over the weekend! A seal swam up the Hudson River and locked through the federal lock at Troy before visiting us on the Champlain Canal. Thank you The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation for your guidance as we worked to keep the seal safe.

That photo is also from the Canal Corp's FB posting.

As it happens, it's not really all that usual to see a seal in the Hudson River around Albany. A seal -- or maybe multiple seals -- have been popping up around Coxsackie the last few years. As you know, the Hudson is open to the ocean at its southern end, and the thought is that seals end up here after after following food up river.

(Thanks, Duncan!)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River
+ That time whales swam to Albany

Photos from Rail, River, Hudson 2015

rail river hudson 2015 composite

A whole nine days ago (there was a summer break in there), this year's AOA Rail, River, Hudson trip made its way to Hudson. And, like last year, it was a lot fun!

The sold-out trip took more than a hundred people from downtown Albany to Hudson and back via bus, train, and boat.

Here are a bunch of photos from the day...

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Three environmental issues facing the Hudson River

hudson river sunset kaykers

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

As much as the Hudson River has been revered and treasured by people over the years for its beauty and key role in our communities, it's also suffered its share of adverse impacts during that history.

Here's an overview of three significant concerns that environmental orgs flagged about the Hudson River right now.

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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To Athens by ferry

Hudson-Athens ferry composite

By Duncan Crary

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

Last summer, in anticipation of AOA's Rail, River Hudson trip, I made the case that "How you get there matters, because getting there is half the fun." This time around, I'll add that getting there by boat will make any location feel more exotic.

Here in the Capital Region we have a few cruise boats that offer roundtrip sightseeing and/or party cruises (like the Dutch Apple II in Albany, The Captain JP II in Troy and the The Caldwell Belle in Schuylerville). These are all great ways for the public to experience our rivers by boat. But except for special events, these local cruisers are rarely used for commuting between destinations. And while there's been a lot of talk over the years of bringing water taxis to Albany, we're still waiting to see that happen.

You don't have to go too far downriver, though, to find public water transit. For the past three years, the Hudson-Athens Ferry has been carrying people between that city and village, across the Hudson River.

Two weeks ago, I finally made it onboard with a fellow traveler from Troy. Here are a few notes from our adventure...

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

hudson river creatures

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

The Hudson River is many things:a thread through history, a transportation corridor, a scenic inspiration. But first and foremost it's a habitat for all sort of creatures.

Here are a few odd and notable inhabitants of the Hudson River...

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Hopping islands in the Hudson River

paddling past Peebles Island

Paddling past Peebles Island.

By Duncan Crary

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

I've got a thing for islands. And not just the tropical resort kind. Show me a dry spot in a parking lot puddle and I'm compelled to adventure onto it.

Every island, like every potential lover, is mysterious from afar. Little worlds unto themselves, they can be paradise or prison -- deep dark sanctuaries where the wild things are. Put the spade to their sands, and you may strike pirate gold.

Here in Albany, our recorded history begins on the islands where friendly Mohicans once welcomed Henry Hudson ashore. I often wonder about that first languageless exchange -- of arrows snapped across the knee and spirits passed around the fire. Today, there are fewer islands and even fewer Mohicans in these parts.

So for the wayfarer of backyards, these are some notes I've logged on a handful of the Hudson River islands among us.

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Charting a return for steamship trips on the Hudson

S.S. ColumbiaA group is aiming to bring back steamship service on the Hudson River between New York City and Albany by restoring a century-old ship. From the New York History Blog:

Although the S.S. Columbia is a newcomer to the Hudson - it plied the waters of the Detroit River for much of the 19th century - its history is strongly linked to New York City. The Columbia was designed by naval architect Frank Kirby and artist Louis O. Keil, who together built the celebrated Hudson River Day Line steamers Hendrick Hudson, Washington Irving, and the Robert Fulton.
Built in 1902, the S.S. Columbia included an array of design, engineering and aesthetic innovations. At just over 200 feet in length and 60 feet at the beam, the boat was designed to carry 3,200 passengers on her five decks. She was adorned with mahogany paneling, etched and leaded glass, gilded moldings, a grand staircase and an innovative open-air ballroom. Restoration of these features is expected to begin when the ship in New York. The Columbia will be powered by its rare and intact 1200 horsepower triple expansion steam engine; the massive engine is viewable by passengers.

The S.S. Columbia is currently in Toledo for repairs. The plan is to move it to Buffalo this summer, and then eventually up the Saint Lawrence Seaway and down the Atlantic Coast to New York City in 2016. According to the New York History Blog, the project is trying to raised $300k to get the boat to NYC. The whole project will ultimately involve $10 million, according to its website.

The ship is pretty rough shape now -- you can follow along with the repairs view the project's Flickr stream.

There's a long history of people taking day cruises along the Hudson, which Duncan wrote about last year here at AOA.

photo via S.S. Columbia Project

The frozen Hudson River from above

US Coast Guard Hudson River ice flight Albany 2015-02-06

As part of its monitoring of Hudson River ice during the winter the US Coast Guard posts reports about river ice conditions online. We like to check in on these reports now and then because every week or so they include aerial photos of the frozen river.

Here's the latest aerial survey, from February 6, that includes photos from New York Harbor all the way up to Troy. One of the photos is above -- it's the Hudson River at Albany, looking north.

Two other large format photos from the survey, of the river at Troy and Castleton, are after the jump.

This past weekend in the Times Union, Keshia Clukey had an interesting article about riding along with one of the Coast Guard ice breakers that work up and down the Hudson River.

Earlier on AOA: Winter on the Hudson, a long time ago

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Today's moment of winter

Hudson River at Troy ice sunset

The Hudson River at Troy.

The Albany riverfront has been a topic of concern and potential for a long time

Albany waterfront 1914

The State Street Pier on Albany's riverfront in 1914.

The Albany river front -- how to better connect it with downtown, how to add amenities, what to do with 787 -- has been a frequent topic of conversation for years.

How many years? At least a hundred.

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H., as in the film (and giant floating head)

Two bits from the recent past resurfacing together:

+ Remember that giant head that was pulled out of the Hudson last year?
+ Remember that film that was shooting in Troy earlier this year?

The film -- titled H. -- is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy this week. And, inspired by that story about the floating head last summer, the film's plot includes a giant head floating in the Hudson River.

After the jump there are photos from the shoot this past April involving the giant, floating head.

The trailer for H. is embedded above. It was written and directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia. A description of the film, from a Variety story: "a contempo greek tragedy about two women, both named Helen, whose lives and relationships begin to unravel in the wake of a meteor explosion over their town of Troy, NY."

We haven't heard anything about a local screening, but you gotta figure the film will make the rounds on the festival circuit first. So it could be a while before it shows up locally.

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Schodack Island State Park

Schodack Island State Park river view

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local parks to bring the scoop on each one to you. Today I'm headed north to Hudson Crossing Park. I've also already visited Hudson Crossing, Cherry Plain, Moreau Lake, Grafton Lakes, and Peebles Island.

If you've never been to Schodack Island State Park, you are definitely missing out. It is an incredibly peaceful spot right on the Hudson River, and the grounds are meticulously cared for. It also scores big bonus points because it doesn't charge an entrance fee during the week, making it a great destination for families and visitors during the week.

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The Nina and the Pinta on the Hudson

nina_pinta_columbus_foundation.jpg

If you were down by the Hudson River during the first part of this week you may have see these: the Nina and the Pinta (you know, like Christopher Columbus). The replica ships, owned and operated by the Columbus Foundation, are based in the British Virgin Islands.

The ships were in Newburgh over the weekend, sailed by Albany Monday and Tuesday they were in Troy. Crew member Jamie Sanger says they stop in the Collar City for maintenance.

"We stop in Troy every year to have a crane pull the masts out so we can get under the bridges. Then when we get to Oswego we can put them back in. We won't stop in Newburgh again for another few years, but we'll be sailing past Albany and stopping in Troy again sometime around June of next year."

Sanger says the Nina was built first, about 25 years ago, and is an exact replica. About 15 years ago they built the Pinta, which is slightly larger than the original ship.

The most common question he gets is: "Why is there no Santa Maria." The answer: it would be too large and most ports they stop in only have room for two ships.

The ships will be docked in Amsterdam at Lock 12 until 8 am on Wednesday if you're interested in getting a closer look. Then they head to Rochester, where they'll be docked for tours through Sunday.

The photo above is courtesy of Jaime Walton from Silver Fox Salvage in Albany. A few more from him are after the jump.

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That time whales swam to Albany

New Netherland 1684 map Rensselaerwijck

From a circa 1684 map of what was then called New Netherland.

That article about a possible shark in Lake Ontario reminded us about a story we once heard about whales swimming up the Hudson River to Albany.

Just another fish (er, cetacean) story, you say?

Well, it's true. Really.

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How you get there matters, because getting there is half the fun

steamboat_square_albany_1921.jpg

Part of the Albany riverfront was once known as Steamboat Square (shown here in 1921), where people would board steamships for travel along the Hudson River. / photo from Library of Congress via Wikipedia

By Duncan Crary

By now, you probably know "The New York City People" have arrived in Hudson. Or as one writer for the BBC put it, the place has become "a far north weekend colony of New York City."

Like most Upstaters, I'm not impressed by people simply because they're from "New York." But I am impressed by how they come from New York to Hudson. They take the train, for two hours.

Not only does that demonstrate the appeal of Hudson, it demonstrates the appeal of traveling by train. Or any car-free and easy travel, really. The key word being easy.

Hudson Week 2014 in-post ad Olde Hudson

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Rail, River, Hudson with AOA

aoa hudson tour 2014

Tickets are now sale!

Back in the day you could day trip to the edges of what we now call the Capital Region and never use a car. You could hop a trolley or a train, or take a boat along the Hudson. That sort of trip sounds fun to us -- and it inspired this year's AOA summer tour.

This July we've lined up an AOA day trip to Hudson -- a train ride down, a sunset cruise on the Dutch Apple for the return -- with a lot of fun and surprises along the way. We'd love for you to come along.

Because these tours have been so popular in the past, we're giving you the early heads up now so that you'll be ready when tickets go sale on later this week.

Here are the details...

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Docked in the past

steamboat_square_albany_1921.jpg

People traveling up the Hudson and disembarking at the Albany riverfront. Hmm, interesting...

We came across this photo today while doing some research on a different historical topic -- it's a circa 1921 photo of what was once known as Steamboat Square on Albany's riverfront. Seeing the boat docked there, and the buildings up against the river, just gave us one of those the-past-is-a-different-place feelings.

Here's a larger version.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Riding the trolley -- everywhere
+ Postcards from the past: Albany

photo from Library of Congress via Wikipedia

Yachts on ice

Farther afield, and following up on modes of frozen Hudson transportation: This weekend people will be ice yachting on the Hudson River near Kingston. Yes, ice yachting.

From an AP story this week by Michael Hill:

Sharp winds lashed up the Hudson River as sailors launched boats onto the ice. Sails whipped furiously as the long blades slid across a white sheet that spread for miles.
Finally, a frigid winter has created excellent conditions for ice sailing on the river.
"In the blink of an eye you can get up to 30 miles an hour ... you can just feel the power of the wind filling the sails," Michael Soldati said after a bracing run across the ice. "It's just awesome. It's just you and the wind."

That YouTube clip embedded above has some good video from this past weekend (and a brass band). And here are some good photos from the Daily News.

Here's a website dedicated to the ice yachting on the Hudson -- it includes a bunch of photos, a details about activities this weekend:

The forecast for sailing has changed for the weekend -- Sunday is looking better with more wind and cooler temperatures than Saturday. Saturday should be warm with little wind -- the soft "snow ice" surface may soften to the point where even with good wind we could not sail. We will be on the ice none the less with sails hoisted and holding court to answer your questions and hopefully provide an enjoyable day on the ice. There is an ongoing potluck of gourmet food and fine wine on the ice when the sailing is happening -- visitors are encouraged to participate.

Gourmet food. Fine wine. And yachts on ice.

Bonus bit: The Coast Guard monitors the ice on the Hudson River, including aerial surveys of the conditions. And then it posts those photos online. Here are the collection of photos from this past Thursday -- you can see the long stretch of ice on the Hudson near Kingston.

(Thanks, Jill!)

Winter on the Hudson, a long time ago

We got a question today from a reader who, curious because of this winter's deep freeze, wanted to know if there are any officially sanctioned places or events for safely walking across the frozen Hudson River. After a bit of research and asking around, we arrived at the same conclusion she did: no, there are not. So, let's make this clear: Do not ever try to walk across the frozen Hudson -- not here, not upriver, not anywhere.

But, in looking into this topic, we came across some interesting local frozen Hudson River history. That image above is titled "Snow scene in Albany, New York". It's a hand-colored wood engraving on paper, part of the Albany Institute's collection, from around 1850 -- when things, including the river itself, were different.

Are those carriages? On the frozen Hudson? Yes, yes they are. From Hudson River Panorama: A Passage Through Time:

Ice formed regularly on the upper portions of the Hudson River until the 1903s, when deep channels were dredged for the year-round operation of the Port of Albany. A frozen river provided many opportunities to cross from one side to another. Numermous references to people walking or skating across survive, but horse-drawn sleighs provided one of the fastest and most common crossing methods. The popular Albany Sleigh, manufactured by James Goold and Company, was well known throughout the United States and Europe. According to the an 1871-72 brochure, Goold used only the finest wood and steel in his Albany Sleigh, which featured pleasing combinations of colorful paint decorations and included the finest plush upholstery and carpets for interiors. Established in 1813, Goold's company also manufactured carriages, coaches, and wagons.

So not only were people conveyed across the frozen Hudson River in a sleigh -- they were doing it in style. (Here's more on the Albany Sleigh over at Hoxsie.)

Bonus history bit: The frozen Hudson River also plays a role in "The Knox Expedition," a Revolutionary War story.

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Today's moment of winter

snowy hudson river troy from hedley 2014-02-14

We had a chance to gawk at downtown Troy and the snowy Hudson River today from the (currently unoccupied half of the) 7th floor of the Hedley Park Place Building. It has quite a view.

Here's a panorama version.

Today's moment of winter

ducks on frozen Hudson River

Quack. Quack. Quack.

While walking along the Monument Square site we noticed this group of ducks hanging out on a the edge of "pond" on the frozen Hudson River. They were just hanging out, chatting*, and paddling around a bit.

Here are a few more pics.

* At least, that's what it sounded like. We don't speak duck.

An opportunity to check out the Corning Preserve Master Plan

Corning Preserve Master Plan Concept clip

A clip from one of the images laying out concepts in the draft plan.

Albany has a riverfront. It's just that there's not much there. And it's hard to get to what is there.

In attempt to address both those issues the city of Albany is working on a Corning Preserve Master Plan that could serve as a map for improving riverfront amenities and access. And on Tuesday (January 28) there are two public "open houses" at city hall for people to get a look at what's being proposed:

noon-1 pm: lunchtime open house with illustrated displays

4:30 pm-6:30 pm open house with displays, presentations, and opportunities for Q&A

If you're interested in this topic, but can't make the presentations -- or just want to review ahead of time -- there are docs and images related to the master plan posted online (first link above, at the bottom).

Among the ideas proposed in the draft plan: a multi-purpose boathouse with waterfront dining, and "grand staircase" access to the river.

image: Albany 2030

Hudson River rise

scenic hudson sea level rise map Albany

The areas shaded in tan are "100 year floodplains and low-lying areas" after a sea level rise of 6 feet.

After seeing this National Geographic continent-level map based on projections of sea level rise from melting ice, we were curious how rises in sea level could affect the Hudson Valley.

Wait, the Hudson Valley? Yep, it's tidal all the way up to the Federal Dam at Troy. From a Scenic Hudson report (link added):

Over the past century, sea level on the Hudson has risen about a foot--more precisely about 3.2mm per year--a rate greater than the global average. The best data available indicates that we can expect the Hudson's water levels to continue rising up to six feet by the end of this century, and perhaps that much again during the next century.

To help people get a better understanding on the implications of the rising water levels, Scenic Hudson has posted an interactive "Sea Level Rise Mapper." It's good -- it allows you to zoom in on a specific area to see what areas will be threatened, along with projected numbers for affected acreage and households, for the Hudson Valley from just north of NYC all the way up to Troy.

The short story for this area, based on the Scenic Hudson map: Even with a six-foot rise in sea level, many parts of this area along the river would still be protected from permanent inundation (though those low-lying areas of East Greenbush and Schodack along the train tracks get swallowed up). But the area in potential danger during a large flooding event would increase, covering significant portions of Green Island, Troy, Watervliet, Rensselaer, and downtown Albany.

[via Buzzfeed]

Politics Recent argument from Bruce Gyory, a political consultant here in Albany and adjunct professor of political science at SUNY Albany: Climate change will become "the fundamental factor realigning American politics." [City & State]

Earlier on AOA: Photos of Irene flooding in Troy

map: Scenic Hudson

Aboard the Sloop Clearwater for dinner

chefs consortium clearwater composite

By Daniel B.

Most days I don't think about the Hudson River. I don't ponder its historical significance. I don't fret about the health of the fishery. Nor do I long to spend any time on its banks. And I'm not alone.

This is why more than forty years ago, folk singer Pete Seeger decided to build a boat. And not just any boat. His boat would be a 106-foot wooden replica of the ships that traversed the Hudson River 200 years ago. It would be called the sloop Clearwater, and its goal would be to bring people to the river.

The boat itself is stunning. It casts a striking figure on the water with its 108-foot mast and 3,000 square foot mainsail. This vessel would be a stunning museum piece, but it is in active use on the river, sailing as far south as New York City and as far north as Albany. The general public can even buy a ticket for a day sail. Money raised from such activities helps to fund the organization's core objectives of environmental education and advocacy.

Recently the Chefs Consortium, a regional group of local food advocates, organized a dinner for thirty people on board the Clearwater sailing out of Kingston.

So what's it like to eat the Hudson Valley's bounty while sailing on the Hudson?

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A heads up when something could stink about the Hudson River

hudson river looking towards dunn bridgePassed during the end-of-session rush at the Capitol: the "Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act." The environmental org Riverkeeper explains:

The Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, once signed by the Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make public reporting about unsafe water conditions nearly as routine as severe weather warnings. The law will require public wastewater treatment plants to publicly disclose within four hours of releasing raw or partially-treated sewage. The state will also for the first time report annually on reported sewage discharges.

This is an important issue around here because of something called "combined sewer overflows" (CSOs). Basically, when many of the antiquated sewer systems in this area become overwhelmed with storm water, they start dumping the excess -- sewage and all -- into the Hudson and its tributaries. Yep, eww.

Riverkeeper did testing last year for sewage-indicating bacteria in Hudson -- and two of the worst spots for contamination were near Albany (Island Creek/Normans Kill in Glenmont, and the Dunn Memorial Bridge). The org reported that the Capital Region's CSOs "dump an estimated 1.2 billion gallons of combined sewage and wastewater into the Hudson each year."

[via @AndyArthur]

Earlier on AOA: Something stinks about the Hudson near Albany (includes some good discussion in the comments)

photo: Flickr user andyarthur (cc)

Schumer on board with walkable, bikeable Livingston Ave Bridge

chuck schumer livingston ave bridge

Chuck Schumer near the Livingston Ave Bridge today.

Chuck Schumer was in town today to push for the inclusion of a pedestrian walkway on the Livingston Ave Bridge -- regardless of what direction the project takes (rehab or total replacement).

Said New York's senior senator in a press release:

"For decades, people could easily walk over the Livingston Avenue Bridge and its sister, the old Maiden Lane Bridge, providing an important link between downtown Albany and the Rensselaer waterfront. ... Then all of that stopped, and the gates went up, shutting down the pedestrian link between these great cities. When the new bridge is built, we have a fresh chance to reconnect these two downtowns [Editors: Albany and Rensselaer] and funnel more visitors to key areas on both sides of the river. Failing to include a pedestrian component in this bridge would be shortsighted, and we can't make that mistake. That's why I'm urging everyone from CSX to Amtrak to NYSDOT to climb aboard with this plan, so that every design going forward will link up the biking and walking paths on both sides of the scenic Hudson."

In a Soapbox piece last fall, Martin Daley explained why local transportation planners are pushing for a pedestrian walkway on the bridge -- and the obstacles the idea has encountered:

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The Half Moon in Albany

half moon albany 2011-09-19

Our educational experiences clearly did not include enough canon fire.

Today's anachronistic maritime moment: the Half Moon arriving in Albany today.

New York Now's Matt Ryan was nice enough to share these photos of the Half Moon, a full-scale replica of Henry Hudson's ship of the same name, landing in Albany. The ship/museum is crewed in part by students -- both from the Capital District and the Netherlands. The trip today was part of a re-creation of Hudson's trip up the River That Would Eventually Be Named The Hudson in 1609.

photo: Matt Ryan

A walkable Livingston Avenue Bridge

livingston ave bridge

A way across the Hudson -- possibly for more than just trains.

By Martin Daley

soapbox badgeIt's a frustrating thing to watch bureaucracy get in the way of great vision. It can result in some pretty bad decisions, the kind that make you look back and say "woulda, coulda, shoulda..." when it's too late to make changes. Which is what we may be saying soon about the pedestrian walkway on the Livingston Avenue Bridge.

The bridge has become a very important issue to many cycling advocates and pedestrians. I am one of them. I tell people this is my "chickens issue" -- a project that could significantly transform Albany.

So what's so special about a walkway on a bridge?

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Not a river of chocolate. Or an omen. Probably.

cohoes falls 2011-09-03 brown

The Cohoes Falls this past Saturday.

From a post on NYT's City Room Wednesday:

Have any New Yorkers noticed, over the past couple days, that the Hudson River -- at least parts of it -- seems to have turned red? ...
John Lipscombe, director of the water quality program for the conservation group Riverkeeper, said the reddish color came from suspended sediment from upstate rivers. Mr. Lipscombe said he watched several rivers wash into the Hudson the day after the storm hit. "They were torrents, and they were red," he said.
He added: "The reddish clay is part of the geology of the Catskill area, and when that kind of rain causes a scouring of the river banks, an enormous amount of red clay and other dirt washes into the Hudson. This has happened before but it was pretty dramatic this time."

This past weekend the Cohoes Falls (above) looked like they were running with chocolate (the smell was something rather less appetizing, along the lines of dead fish and backed-up sewer). And when we were in Windham a few days after Irene, the Batavia Kill was running a deep red/brown -- the mud left behind had turned into a reddish dust that stuck to seemingly everything.

This has apparently been an issue of concern for New Yorkers. Twitter is full of people remarking on the color. Speculation: the Hudson has an STD, Irene took a dump in the river, possible apocalypse.

Update: A video clip from shortly after Irene...

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Something stinks about the Hudson near Albany

hudson river looking towards dunn bridge

The Hudson River at the Dunn Memorial Bridge was among the 10 worst spots in the study.

The environmental org Riverkeeper released a report this week on Hudson River sewage contamination levels -- and the results for this part of the Hudson were... uh... gross.

Riverkeeper's testing found sewage-indicating bacteria levels were above acceptable limits more than 50 percent of the time at both Island Creek/Normans Kill in Glenmont (65 percent of the time) and the Dunn Memorial Bridge in Albany (50 percent). Those two spots were among the top-10 worst of all the spots tested. The data for all the locations tested are posted online -- and table with local data is after the jump.

So, what's causing this problem? The Capital District's combined sewer systems dump untreated sewage into the river when they're over capacity (example: after a heavy rain).

Riverkeeper says the systems release 1.2 billion gallons of untreated sewage and wastewater into the river each year.

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The Livingston Avenue Bridge

livingston avenue bridge medium

It's spanned the Hudson a long time. How long? Well...

By Carl Johnson

The Livingston Avenue Bridge, the graceful and anachronistic swing bridge that carries trains across the Hudson River at Albany and still swings open to let larger ships reach Troy, has been part of the landscape longer than anyone now alive. It is often cited as dating to the Civil War.

Like many local legends, that's partly almost true.

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Mutants in the Hudson

Hudson River Atlantic tomcod in Science

Sadly, his mutation doesn't involve lasers shooting out of his eyes.

Here's something weird and kind of amazing: researchers led an NYU School of Medicine scientist reported last week in the journal Science that a species of fish in the Hudson River has evolved protections against PCBs. And it only took about 50 years.

The Atlantic tomcod is known for its ability to survive in water heavily polluted with PCBs, but scientists weren't sure why. So the research team collected fish from spots in the Hudson that are full of PCBs, as well as fish from other less-polluted rivers in the region. After analyzing the genomes of the collected fish, they found the tomcod in the heavily polluted water carry a small gene variant that appears to allow them to suffer fewer of the effects of PCB exposure.

The researchers say a few of the fish from the relatively unpolluted water also carried this special gene, so they figure it had already been present at low levels in tomcod populations prior to the pollution. But when GE started dumping PCBs into the river in 1947, these few mutants suddenly had an advantage. And now almost all the tomcod in the Hudson carry the mutation. (PCBs were banned in 1976.)

Said Isaac Wirgin, the NYU population geneticist who led the study, in a release: "We think of evolution as something that happens over thousands of generations. But here it happened remarkably quickly."

More coverage: NatGeo | Wired | AP

By the way: the Hudson River dredging project is scheduled to start back up again in late spring.

photo of an Atlantic tomcod from the Hudson River: Science/AAAS

A beacon on the Hudson: The Saugerties Lighthouse

Saugerties Lighthouse, land side.

Our first view of the Saugerties Lighthouse.

By Akum Norder


Open the middle door to find a set of stairs. Ascend. Then climb the blue wooden ladder. Lift the heavy metal trapdoor and -- you're swimming in slanting winter sunlight.

Up in the tower of the Saugerties Lighthouse, my husband and I were grinning like kids. A lighthouse tower! With no tour guide or line of other visitors waiting their turn. Sheltered from the wind, we were free to watch the light play on the Hudson River's mosaic of ice for as long as we wanted. We spent an hour up there, eating pears and drinking in a 360-degree view of winter as the sun sank behind the Catskills.

The Saugerties Lighthouse is a landmark from another time. The historic -- and still active -- lighthouse is also a bed and breakfast. And the fact that you can't reach it by car makes it all the more an adventure.

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Up and down

This is a graph of the Hudson River level at Green Island over the last week:

hudson gauge 2010-3-24

As of this afternoon, the Hudson was still in the range of the lowest flood stage, as defined by the National Weather Service (there are flood warnings throughout the region into tonight and tomorrow morning). Here's a pic from Troy @mstyne took late yesterday afternoon.

The Mohawk has followed a similar pattern (and there's been some flooding in Waterford). [CBS6]

That NWS is forecasting that both the Hudson and the Mohawk will be at more normal levels by this evening.

graph: USGS

The crumbling castle

bannerman's castle

The castle, as it was seen from the train in November 2009

You might have seen news during the last week of 2009 that part of Bannerman's Castle -- the castle-like structure that sits on an island in the Hudson near Storm King -- had collapsed. (You've probably seen the castle from the Amtrak train on the ride down to New York City -- it's just north of Cold Spring.)

This week comes news that the castle is continuing to fall apart. The island's preservation trust expects even more of the structure to come down through the winter.

Chuck Schumer says he's lobbying the federal Department of the Interior for money to help preserve the building.

Bannerman's Castle was constructed to serve as a military surplus warehouse during the first part of the 20th Century. It was sold to the state during the 1960s.

(Thanks, Duncan)

Bruno speaks out about case, dog found duct-taped and bagged, another student mugging in Pine Hills, Albany High production prompted by protests

Joe Bruno called into Talk 1300 yesterday to complain about the federal case against him. During the segment, Bruno said of the federal investigation of him: "I wasn't a terrorist.... I never abused the public trust that people put in me. I never, never used politics to make money. I just didn't do that." Bruno's comments may not go over well with the judge presiding of his case, who has warned both sides in the trial about speaking outside of court -- and just the day before said scolded them in court: "This is not an election campaign." [NYDN] [TU] [TU] [NYT]

About Gary Sharpe, the judge in the Bruno trial: An op-ed in the Troy Record this past weekend questioned whether the judge had a conflict of interest because his son works as a prosecutor in the Albany US Attorney's office -- the same office that's prosecuting Bruno. The head of that office told the NYDN yesterday that Sharpe's son has had no involvement with the case. [Troy Record] [NYDN]

David Paterson said he will pull the $25 fee for the new "EmpireGold" license plates -- if someone can come up with a way to replace the $129 million the fee is projected to contribute to the state budget. [NY Post]

The Paterson Administration projects that increases in the fee that retailers pay to be sellers of tobacco products will reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets by 40 percent. [TU]

A group of hunters in Saratoga County say they found a dog wrapped in duct tape and stuffed in a garbage bag. [WNYT]

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Shooting in Albany, Jennings and Ellis debate, rolling billboard targets police chief, snakeheads!

Jennings and Ellis

Jerry Jennings and Corey Ellis just before the start of last night's debate

Police say a 19-year-old man was shot and killed last night in Albany's Delaware Ave neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Spectrum (map). There weren't a lot of details -- the APD was canvassing the neighborhood for info. The police say they're not even sure the man was shot at the location he was found. The shooting pushes Albany's murder count to six this year. Update: Police now say the shooting appears to have been an accident. [TU] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [WNYT]

Jerry Jennings and Corey Ellis debated last night in front of an overflow crowd at the Albany Public Library's main branch. Jennings said his top priority is the city's children and economic development -- Ellis said transparency and public safety. The exchanges were mostly calm. One exception: Jennings got a little stirred up when Ellis said he had been ignoring the city's gang problem. There was only one mention, by Ellis, of retiring police chief James Tuffey. The candidates answered a wide range of questions that had been written on notecards by the audience before the debate -- a format that didn't allow follow-up questions. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU] [AOA was also there]

For a quick read through of the debate, here's the stream of live tweets from AOA and the TU. Also, CBS6 has posted video, helpfully broken down by issue.

At last night's Schenectady school board meeting, the board president briefly addressed the now infamous graduation kegger, saying it demonstrated "a lack of parental boundaries." James Casino, the board member shown taking a Jager shot from an ice luge in one photo, was not at the meeting. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

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Judge orders state Senate back to work, Paterson warns of another fiscal shortfall, trans-fat ban adjusted, police get DNA evidence from soda bottle

A state Supreme Court judge ordered the state Senate -- both caucuses -- into session today. The judge scolded senators for their behavior and said they risked appearing "rude, inconsiderate and egotistical." Democrats say they'll show up for the session (though they're promising not to take up anything controversial) and the Republicans have already filed an appeal. If the Senate doesn't take action a handful of measures will expire tonight, including sales tax extensions in many counties. [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYDN] [TU]

If it seems like the Senate mess would put incumbents at risk of being thrown out of office... well, behold the power of pork. [TU]

At the NY Conference of Mayors meeting yesterday in Saratoga, David Paterson said that state tax revenues "may be down 35 percent this year from where they were projected." [Post-Star]

Police say two men were shot on Kent Street in Albany yesterday afternoon (map). Witness says four people jumped out of car, ran up to a porch and started shooting. [TU] [Fox23]

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The Mohawk's ups and downs

Mohawk graphSummer's comment about the Mohawk this morning prompted us to go looking for info about the river's water levels. And, as it turns out, there's a bunch of data posted on online -- something to keep in mind if you're a boater, fisherperson or other river user of some sort.

The US Geological Survey posts some pretty simple river level graphs created from data taken at a station in Cohoes. And the National Weather Service uses that data to create a whole bunch of graphs, charts and forecasts for points in Schenectady and Cohoes.

Bonus river data: the USGS service that tracks the Mohawk also tracks rivers and streams all over the state. As you might expect, this list includes the Hudson (here's the reading near Green Island) -- but also smaller streams such as the Normanskill.

Mohawk graph: National Weather Service

The Scoop

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