Items tagged with 'Hudson River'
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?
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."
Earlier on AOA: Something stinks about the Hudson near Albany (includes some good discussion in the comments)
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:
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
It'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?
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...
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.
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.
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."
photo of an Atlantic tomcod from the Hudson River: Science/AAAS
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.
This is a graph of the Hudson River level at Green Island over the last week:
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.
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.
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]
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]
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 $]
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]
Summer'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