CHELSEA WATERSIDE PARK ASSOCIATION NEWS:
Sailing With History,
Both Land And Sea
Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival with a sail on the Hudson sponsored by the Chelsea Waterside Park Association
The bond between the Chelsea Waterside Park Association and the Hudson River sloop Clearwater can be traced back to the very inception of the CWPA in 1986. Our founding president, Robert Trentlyon, suggested that the organization’s members should have an event to celebrate the work everyone had done to stir up the neighborhood’s dream of a park along the derelict and forgotten shoreline of the Hudson River.
The late Chelsea Waterside Park Association member Doris Corrigan searched for a boat we could charter for a Hudson River sunset sail, giving our members a chance to look at the proposed site for Chelsea Waterside Park from a water perspective. We were hoping for an environmentally sensitive craft, rather than a diesel powered craft.
What Doris found for us was the Clearwater sailing sloop, a 106’ replica of the 18th and 19th century Dutch sailing vessels that transported goods up and down the Hudson River. The goods came by sailing ships fitted for the ocean, and were unloaded onto the docks along southern Manhattan and in Brooklyn. The Clearwater was built in 1968 by folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, in despair over the pollution in the Hudson. As Seeger said, he would “build a boat to save the river.” This year, the Clearwater is celebrating it’s 40th year of river advocacy!
It was a perfect fit, and we booked our first sail to depart from Pier 62 at 22nd Street, the southern arm of the embrace that was to become our waterside park. At that time, Pier 62 was a parking lot, Pier 63 maritime was a huge white bubble that housed tennis courts, as well as a two story brick structure with a ramp that had parking
on the roof. Pier 64 was covered from head house to it’s western end with a massive pier shed. That was our view from the river on that first evening cruise.
Since then our merry band has enjoyed the same event year after year, with only one cancellation at the last minute due to violent lightning storms passing through at the critical moment. Wisely the Captain of the Clearwater made the call not to sail, as it would not be prudent to be in the middle of the river with a 106 ft mast! The boat stayed docked and we ate our supper under the shelter of the Chelsea Piers, joined by the crew of the Clearwater.
Over the years our members have gained much respect for the mission of the Clearwater, especially in the education of youth to the need to protect the mighty Hudson from pollution.
We plan to repeat the event this year on Wednesday, July 25th. Now we can look back from the river at the fulfillment of our dreams and hard work for the last 32 years.
See you on the Clearwater!