Archive for the ‘business’ Category

The Binghamton Ferry

NY harbor is known as the birthplace of steam ferry travel. The first successfully recorded operation of a steamboat ferry was the North River Steamboat, operated by Robert Fulton, which ran from NY to Albany starting in 1807. Four years later, regular ferry service began running to and from Manhattan. Before rail tunnels under the Hudson were established, the railroads terminated in Hoboken, making ferry travel vitally important for anyone attempting to reach NYC. Nearly 400 different double ended ferries operated in the NY harbor during the 19th and 20th centuries, with a peak of 150 ferries actively operating in the early 1900’s. This webpage offers a detailed look at the history of ferry travel across the Hudson and has many pictures of the steam ferries in operation.

The Binghamton was one of 6 steam ships run by the Hoboken Ferry Company, a subsidiary of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. It was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company at Newport News, Virginia and was launched on February 20, 1905. The ferry operated from 1905-1968, traveling 2 miles from the Hoboken Terminal to Barclay Street, a twelve-minute journey. She was able to carry nearly 1,000 passengers as well as vehicles. The Binghamton is what is known as a double-ender, meaning cars could drive in one side of the boat and exit from the other. This made for increased speed and efficiency of loading and unloading passengers.

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Photo courtesy of “Burger International Photography at http://www.burgerinternationalinc.com via flicker

In 1907, the first of two rail tunnels under the Hudson was completed. By 1937, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, as well as the George Washington Bridge, had opened up making automobile travel into the city much easier. With these developments, the need for steam ferries diminished and by 1967 the ferry run was closed down. However, ferry service would return to the Hudson river in 1986, with the introduction of the NY Waterway. Small diesel powered boats began runs from Edgewater, Hoboken and Weehawken and now are regularly used by commuters trying to take advantage of lower rents in Hudson and Bergen County.

The Binghamton’s second life began when the Erie Lackawanna Railroad sold her to Edward Russo, who planned to convert her into a restaurant. Russo planned to open for business in 1970, but the waters surrounding the pier took a long time to dredge and a tugboat strike caused further delays. Russo would eventually find himself unable to find a suitable person to run his restaurant and he sold the Binghamton to its next owner, Ferry Binghamton Inc. On February 28, 1975 the ship was moved to her current location and opened as a restaurant later that year.

The restaurant featured a popular nightclub and it operated successfully until 2007. Then it was sold to private businessman Donald Kim, who planned to renovate the Binghamton and re-open it. Despite the completion of nearly a million dollars in repairs, damage was spreading faster than the repairs could be made. Kim soon found himself in a lengthy battle with the town of Edgewater over code violations and fines. The expense of the repairs and time spent fighting the town allowed the damage to reach a tipping point and finally, in 2011, Kim filed for a demolition permit.

The impending demolition caused a great deal of consternation due to the Binghamton’s placement on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places (granted on July 9, 1982). By the summer of 2012 the Binghamton had deteriorated enough that it was actively taking on water. The side that faced the river had nearly been destroyed. Kim decided to sublease the existing pier to another developer who planned to scrap the Binghamton for salvage, including the steel hull, and bring in a new boat to be used as a restaurant.

Then in October 2012 came Superstorm Sandy. The already weakened ship was no match for the intense flooding and winds that Sandy brought. During Sandy, the entire boat was under several feet of water. Pieces of her bow broke off and floated to shore.

Here is a Flickr set of pictures taken after Sandy.

Here is a Video made during Superstorm Sandy.

This news report from CBS news clearly shows the damage done to the river side of the boat.

The following pictures of the Binghamton and immediate surrounding area were taken by Corrine Gehegan, a local podiatrist whose office is next to the Binghamton. They were taken approximately 3 days after the storm had passed and flooding had subsided.

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To add insult to injury, a fire broke out on May 19, 2013. There was no damage to the boat, only the pier and dock that extended from the river walk to the ferry. At that time, Kim restated that he planned to demolish the boat. As of August, 2013 nothing has occurred. The boat still sits there, its bow slightly below the water line. When the demolition finally comes, it will be a sad end to a famous and historic ship.

I visited in spring 2013 and entertained thoughts of entry. Aside from the pier being completely unsafe, you could tell from 100 yards away that the boat itself was completely unsafe. One wonders if it can be safely towed, or would it break into pieces? Below are pictures I took in June, 2013.

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Here is another video about the end of the Binghamton ferry.

More pictures and info are available on the Binghamton Ferry Facebook page.

The Boat Yard Cemetery of Lower Bank

There aren’t many companies whose employees pass the burial site of the founder but Cavalier Boatworks is one such company. The plaque by the headstone tells the story.

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Was Action Park the most dangerous park ever?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/danm3/35-horror-stories-that-prove-action-park-was-the-6wr

this article says yes. My main memory of the park was the looping water slide. Picture a hotwheels stunt track but it was a tube not a slide and it featured you and not a toy car and there you have it. Words can’t convey how much abuse it put your body thru. it was short, fast and brutal. IIRC you had to be a minimum weight and height because if you weren’t there was a risk you wouldn’t make it thru the loop. My neck and head felt horrible afterwards and I wouldn’t ever do it again.

Allen’s Clam Bar

I think we’re gonna need a bigger table.

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The East Hanover bar that trolls grammar nazis

I have worked in Livingston on Route 10 for 2 years but I rarely traveled on Route 10 because my home lay to the east. Ever since I moved out west I travel that road every day and that was how I became familiar with Bogey’s. it’s a small tavern, has a bar in front and some tables in the back. My girlfriend recently ate there and said the food was pretty good (which is high praise coming from her). What makes the place interesting is their signage. For years they have had signs that have grammatical errors or words incorrectly spelled. In the beginning I thought it was an accident but the repeated nature of it makes me believe that it is intentional. Some would even say they’re trolling.

 

 

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After seeing this sign I decided to ask about it since supposedly this wasn’t the first time. The owner stated that it was an error the first time but when it happened again they decided to leave it be. Several weeks later, as a joke, it seems someone “fixed” the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

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A month or two later we saw this sign which mocks the business name, but misspells the key word. 

 

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Last week this sign went up. And that’s when I knew that it had to be intentional. It’s nice to see a business with a sense of humor. Now when I pass by I smile instead of grinding my teeth.

1937 Yellowstone Park Bus

1937 Yellowstone Park Bus

I saw this car in Readington, NJ, off to the side of Route 22. I was headed south, not doing anything but driving along, when I saw this 4 row open air … Frankencar. I couldn’t think of another word to describe it. It looked like some really old car had been stretched and customized into something totally new.

Turns out, it wasn’t new at all. It was in fact, very old. The car is owned by the Tewksbury Balloon company and it is used as their chase vehicle. When you fly in a hot air balloon, you gain lift through the use of hot air jets, but despite that you are still at the mercy of the wind. The pilot has to watch the winds very carefully and at the same time be watching the terrain for suitable landing spots. Most of the time, balloon pilots set down in a large open space such as a baseball field, parking lot or a farm. On rare occasions it’s someones backyard. A chase vehicle follows on the ground and when the balloon lands they pick up the pilot and passengers. The basket goes on or in the vehicle along with the balloon itself.

This chase vehicle is a 1937 White Model 614 Yellowstone Tour bus. Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park established in the United States by President Grant on March 1, 1872. Covering over 3,400 square miles, the Park was a popular destination for Americans eager to explore thanks to the recent introduction of the automobile. As visitor levels soared, increasing traffic volumes created problems for Park management so in 1917, multi-passenger bus tours were introduced. The model pictured above was first introduced in 1931. These 14-passenger units featured glass side windows and an opening top cover so that guests could stand up to enjoy the scenery. These buses also had a more powerful 75hp engine than their predecessors, to facilitate climbing the mountain passes, and new hydraulic brakes provided increased safety.

Many of the Yellowstone buses are prized by collectors and are often used in tourism related businesses. More information on the history and models of Yellowstone buses can be found at Geyser Bob’s detailed website here.

The Tewksbury Balloon company flies passengers over the hills of northern and central NJ out of White House Station, so if you fly with them you can ride in their Yellowstone bus on trip back to their launch site. There are lots of pictures on their facebook page.

You can also see pics of another restored 1937 yellowstone bus here

The Dinosaurs of Alpha

The G J Oliver Company was founded in 1960, and manufactures and designs lube oil systems, as well as fabricates steel for industrial use. The large metal dinosaurs on their back lawn and in front of the offices are the creation of Woody Hauser, one of the company employees. They were created at the request of the owner, whose grandkids love dinosaurs.

During slow periods at work, Hauser would design and fabricate these steel beasts, working from rubber toy dinosaurs given to him by Mr Oliver. Hauser estimates each dinosaur took roughly 6-9 months to design, build and erect. When he is done building one, he begins work on another, but only during slow periods at work. How many will he end up building? Hauser couldn’t say.

You can see the dinosaurs easily from the road outside the facility. Just find Industrial Drive in Alpha and head towards the end. They are on company property and are visible from the road.

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