Hudson River Vista
A park or green space has been periodically advocated along the river 800 feet south of 103rd Street to 107th Street, or a large portion thereof. In 1969 the area was designated the “Hudson River Vista.”
The newer, smaller James T. Ellett Memorial Park is just south of the area or in the southernmost part of it, in the northern half of the block between 102nd and 103rd Street.
Community Club Formed in Lansingburgh—Recent Gambling Crusade Recalled—Several Radical Suggestions.
“Why not go over the heads of the Mayor, Commissioner of Public Safety or other officials in order to enforce the law?” said C. W. Ferguson after he had been elected President of the newly-formed Community Welfare Club of the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Wards in Westminister Presbyterian Church last night. He continued: “Why not appoint a committee to follow policemen over their posts, point out infractions of the law and if they do not perform their duty prefer charges against them and bring them to trial? Then the city officials will have to take a stand. It is not our wish to fight the city administration; in fact, we want their co-operation.” Mr. Ferguson then referred to the “cesspool of rottenness,” meaning the dumping ground which it was said extended from Rensselaer Park to the old city line. “Why not go to the City Hall and have this nuisance suppressed,” said the speaker. Mr. Ferguson advocated the establishment of a public park on the river bank from Third to Sixth Street. Then he asked the assemblage if they knew the Lansingburgh people were not living within the fire limits of the city. “It’s a fact, according to the Fire Marshal,” said Mr. Ferguson. “There’s another matter of vital importance to us. Do you know that the new dam and lock in course of construction will raise the level of the river from three to five feet and that we will be at the mercy of any flood? Why, the overflows of the Oakwood reservoir won’t be in it.” Mr. Ferguson favored the construction of a big dock from Second to Sixth Street.
Troy Times. February 5, 1914: 5 col 4.
Urging the establishment of a Hudson River Vista to beautify and preserve the single unobstructed view of the Hudson River from Troy streets, the Lansingburgh Community Council has formally presented a resolution to that effect to individuals and agencies concerned.
The area proposed by the council extends along Second Avenue, four blocks, from about 800 feet south of 103rd Street to 107th Street, and from the Second Avenue westerly curb line to the low water mark on the river bank.
Letters signed by the council president, Benjamin M. Romp, accompanied copies of the resolution sent Sidney Smith, city manager; Thomas H. Brown, clerk to the Troy City Council; John Manning; clerk in the Rensselaer County Board of Supervisors, and to the Hudson River Valley Commission, state agency charged with improvement, cleanup and preservation of worthy values on mile-wide strips of land bordering the river.
In the resolution the council points out the concerns of all agencies with the Hudson River Valley Commission’s aims, and notes that the proposed Hudson River Vista is the only substantial area remaining where the public can view with ease from a highway the beauties of the Hudson. About a mile of the river can be seen, they indicate, including the confluence of the Mohawk with the Hudson and the wooded Ford Park at the northern end of Green Island. In addition a view of mountains to the south and west is available.
Only one private residence and three business establishments occupy portions of the area now, the council points out, and petitions all government agencies concerned to rezone the land strip to preclude more building there and to acquire title to existing buildings and have them removed.
Troy Record. June 21, 1968: 23.
The plan to have four blocks along the Hudson River in Lansingburgh kept forever free of buildings to provide a beautiful vista is worth backing. It is a splendid idea.
It would be called Hudson River Vista because from those four blocks between 103rd and 107th Streets in Second Avenue the motorist gets a wonderful view of the river. The panorama includes the confluence of the Mohawk and wooded Ford Park.
The history books say that about 150 years ago the banks of the river in Lansingburgh were lined with trees and benches.
“This was a public promenade and pleasant for the young people who did their sparking there.”
Near the river, “gingerbread and small beer” were sold for 3 cents.
Before that, back in 1670 when the Town of Lansingburgh was being formed, the land along the northern section was called Tascamcatick by the Indians. Land south of this was known as Passquassick and was “a pleasant woodland along the mighty river.”
In the river, submerged after the first dam was built, was an island called Whale-fishing Island. Legend says that in 1747 a whale “ascended the river in the time intense floods,” was stranded, captured and cut up into whale steaks.
The woods, the river and the island created “a landscape of great beauty.”
The historian of 1880 was so moved as to quote, “Men may come and men may go but I flow on forever.”
With all the moves to clean up and preserve sites along the Hudson River, this Lansingburgh plan seems practical and downright delightful.
So much of our beautiful river is obscured from the view by dilapidated buildings and weed-grown lots.
Troy Record. June 22, 1968: 12 col 1.
Most Trojans should be delighted that a move has begun to save the last good view of the Hudson River in this city. The four-block stretch along Second Avenue in the area of 104th Street is worth preserving.
Now, all we have to hope is that the Hudson River Valley Commission has more success with this project that it did with the Fifth Avenue brownstones.
Fusco, Bob. “Capitol Letter.” Times Record. June 25, 1968: 11 cols 2-3.
It also was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission to retain the west side of Second Avenue, between 103rd and 107th Streets, as a “Hudson River Vista” as recommended by the Lansingburgh Community Council. This is the only section in Troy where motorists and pedestrians are afforded an open view of the Hudson River.
It is the aim of the Community Council, by having it rezoned from residential 3 to 1, to keep the section open and devoid of dwellings and commercial enterprises. Eventually, it is hoped the sector can be converted into a park-like area.
“Troy Planners Approve Rezoning Of Two Tracts.” Troy Record. June 10 1969: 11 col 6.
Councilmen unanimously passed a resolution rezoning a area west of Second Avenue from 103rd to 107th Street to preserve the site as a scenic area for viewing the Hudson River. Sponsored by John R. Riely, the measure drew the support of the Lansingburgh Community Council.
Healy, Howard. “Council Votes To Return $52,000 Bond To Former Garbage Contractor For City.” Times Record. July 11, 1969: 13 col 5.
In years to come as opportunity develops or space becomes available other spots on the Troy shores should be beautified. The Lansingburgh Community Association is interested in developing the open shoreline from the area of 104th Street north as the Hudson River Vista.
“Beautifying the Shores.” Editorial. Troy Record. March 20, 1972: 10.
See also River Road
Properties that have existed, or do exist, along the Hudson River Vista (in addition to the aforementioned Casino/Bolton Hall) include:
• 229 Second Avenue – a residence – renumbered as 243 Second Avenue?
• 233 Second Avenue – a filling station – renumbered as 245 Second Avenue – Citgo in 2017
• 287 Second Avenue – boat sales – a residence in 2017
• 321 Second Avenue – auto sales – renumbered as 315 Second Avenue? – Hudson Professional Center and Lansingburgh Family Practice in 2017