Seventy-Ninth Street Boat Basin
Parks & Recreation created this Boat Basin for the people of New York and the recreational boaters of the world.
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s 1875 design for Riverside Park provided for the existing rail lines and sculpted Riverside Drive. Those early accommodations for transportation technology would only multiply over time. When Robert Moses first laid eyes on Riverside Park in the early 20th century, industry and time had taken their toll. Two tracks became six and vacant land on the riverfront became dumps. It disgusted Moses, but also motivated him to dream of an amazing riverside redevelopment plan with decking over tracks that would yield new parkland and public amenities. He believed this waterfront could be “the most beautiful thing in the world.” At the time however, Moses was 25 and far from being able to implement his dream.
Twenty years later City/State Park Commissioner Robert Moses, who also headed the Triborough Bridge Authority, had all the power he needed to finally make his visions a reality. Funding for the project came from various federal work relief funds. One of the main categories of projects the federal government sought to fund was infrastructure improvement, including the elimination of places where train tracks crossed roads. With this Moses presented the plans for his very unusual and expensive “Seventy-ninth Street Grade Elimination Structure.” In reality this structure, which stands more than 200 feet away from the rail line, was the beautiful boat basin Moses envisioned as a young man.
Since the time it opened in 1937 the boat basin has been home to New York City boaters. For many years, a limited number of boats held year round access to slips at the basin, which limited access for seasonal and recreational boating. Since 1991, no additional year-round permits have been issued, and the boat basin is returning to its original mission. By 2003 70% of the marina’s 170 slips and moorings were used by seasonal, recreational boaters. For the past ten years kayaks have become a common sight on the Hudson River, and so in June of 2003 Parks dedicated a launch just for canoes and kayaks.
Directions to Riverside Park
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