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. . . Original Posting (with updates and links) . .
Have we been taking the quiet beauty of the great West Lawn of Riverside Park for granted? I’ve recently heard it said that “no one uses that part of the Park” — the section between the old Pump House and Governor’s Lane. The statement was apparently being used to justify usurping most of the space, viewshed, and charm of the West Lawn for a giant new sewage pump station, modern and industrial in style, that would spread from near the old pump house to Governor’s Lane, as seen in the following rendering, which comes from a 25-page Presentation to the Stockade Association Board of a proposed North Ferry Pump Station Project, given on March 1, 2017, by architect Frank Gilmore and CHA’s lead engineer Mike Miller:
. . click on rendering for larger image; full Presentation (pdf) . .
. . the SA Board and Officers never informed Members or residents of the Stockade of the size and location of the proposed Pumping Station until the last day of April, in the May Stockade Spy.
Not used? Not appreciated and valued?
To the contrary, we stroll by the West Lawn of Riverside Park on the Park’s one footpath when entering or leaving the Park from Washington Avenue or Governor’s Lane, and enjoy both its calmness when unoccupied and its activity when in use. We play bocce and frisbee on it, and run with our dogs and children. We sit on its benches to read, watch sunsets and crew sculls, tugboats and party boats on the Mohawk, and also heron on the Isle of the Cayugas or Scotia shore. We have picnics there, or quiet dates on a blanket. We occasionally see wedding parties and fashion models being photographed in front of Governor Yates’ brick wall, and the unique ornamental wall at the foot of what is now St. George’s parsonage. We also very much enjoy a rare view of Stockade “backyards” — long, rolling or terraced yards of homes along Front Street.
. . above: view on Sunday, April 23, 2017 . .
. . above: two renderings of the proposed pump station . .
I hope there will soon be a full, objective discussion of the Proposed Plan and alternatives to it (e.g. reuse the old pump house and its present lot, or a different location outside of the Park, perhaps out of the floodplain), and I hope it will be led by an energized and responsible Stockade Association. To the right is a thumbnail image of a collage with salient portions of the March 1, 2017 presentation; click on it for a larger version, and feel free to download it or the Project pdf. file for distribution.
This slide show has photos of the West Lawn, with views of it and from it, as well as people enjoying it.
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. . a view from Scotia of the west end of Riverside Park (17Oct2013) . .
above: [L] Loraine and Devin make his first snowman just outside the fence of 29 1/2 Front Street, in 2009; [R] Devin’s snowman is a lone sentinel outside the fence of 29 1/2 Front Street, echoing the famous, feckless snowmen at the gates of the Stockade the night of the 1690 Massacre.
On January 26, 1998, a Resolution of the Schenectady City Council (including then-Council member Gary McCarthy) resolved, that Riverside Park “is recognized as a unique component of the [Stockade Historic] District and best serves residents and visitors as a quiet place to view the natural beauty of the Mohawk River.” In addition, the Resolution stated that “to change its special nature would deprive visitors and disadvantage the homeowners who are the caretakers in this Historic District of national importance.”
- With its combination of urban waterfront beauty and relative tranquility, Riverside Park was praised by the editor of Architect Forum as “probably the finest thing of its kind in America.” (Dec. 1961)
Although he later unsuccessfully sought to have a 300-foot dock installed at Riverside Park for his Onrust replica boat, Don Rittner (former City and County Historian) was well aware of how special this Park is. He wrote in a report prepared in 2007 for the City Planning Department concerning a proposed Bike Trail, that “Riverside Park is valued as a unique component of the Stockade Historic District offering residents and visitors a relatively tranquil place to enjoy a magnificent view of the Mohawk River from the walking path and park benches.”