In thinking in terms of the Passaic River, finding adjectives that are positive in nature to describe it is not an easy task. In fact, it’s likely — literally — no one has ever said it’s a beautiful body of water — and actually meant it. But about a mile north of the entrance to South Bergen County, in North Arlington (on the border with Lyndhurst), sits a sparkling new boat house that will be used for crew teams — mainly North Arlington High School — and other club teams.
It sits just off the Passaic River. The views for spectators of the sport are nothing short of amazing. And when it is officially opened Thursday, Sept. 8, it instantly becomes one the crown jewels of the Bergen County parks system — and certainly of Riverside Park which traverses North Arlington and Lyndhurst.
The Observer was given access to the beautiful new building — notice we just used the word “beautiful” without hesitation? — thanks to County Commissioner Steven A. Tanelli, a North Arlington resident and former borough councilman. We were joined by Derek Sands, the communications director for Bergen County Executive James Tedesco. The CE will be on hand, with other dignitaries, at 10:30 a.m., Sept. 8, to cut a ribbon to officially open the place.
If you’re a rower or want to get an idea of what the place looks like, you really should go to the cutting ceremony yourself to get a better send of just how majestic this place is. The ceremony is open to the public. But in the interim, we’ll give you a little sneak-peek.
The majority of the first floor of the building is a storage area for boats. It’s an enormous amount of square footage — and combined with the old storage facility, which also got a major facelift — there’s enough room to store 100+ boats, all out of sight from the public and away from would-be thieves.
The second floor, though, is the most impressive part of the building.
Half of it is a wide-open space where athletes may work out, coaches might conduct team meetings and any number of other things could go on for the sport. But that space isn’t just for crew. Tanelli says the space may also be used for meetings, shows, etc. — there’s a permit process — and he says the Board of County Commissioners will, at some point, conduct a meeting there.
While it won’t necessarily be a place to throw a sweet 16, per-se, it will certainly be a place where residents of South Bergen may congregate, to meet, etc.
The other half of the upper portion includes numerous accessible restrooms, which are equipped with showers. There’s a room that contains numerous lockers and open-air cubbies for teams and visitors to store their things whilst using the place.
There’s an audio-visual room (there are TVs in the large multi-purpose space). And there is also space for storage for the parks department. In the front of the building is an elevator, so the entire building is accessible to just about anyone. And the front and rear foyers to the building include two unique tiled mosaics, each with a crew them.
“The new boat house is a beautiful, useful addition to our (often forgotten) Riverside County Park,” North Arlington Daniel H. Pronti said. “Something the young athletes from our area will get to enjoy and be proud of. With the restrooms finally going in, after almost a decade, and the new amphitheater slated to open in the fall, we are finally starting to see the attention being moved, in a southerly direction to the North Arlington-Lyndhurst area. It’s great to see we are becoming relevant.”
In all, the place is everything anyone in crew would envy. And it allows an extremely easy boat launch just a few yards away on that Passaic River.
None of this is possible without the forward-thinking of Tedesco and Tanelli, and Bergen County Parks Director James Koth, though there are plenty of others who were involved. And because of their foresight, something remarkable, something very ”beautiful,” is here in our midst — right on the rarely-called-“beautiful” Passaic River.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.