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Stanley

Sunday Stroll

A garden hose slithers through the muck toward the shoreline of the river. A sewing machine, an air conditioner and a lawn mower lie nearby, proof that even in 2006 people still think of the Hudson as nothing more than a toilet to flush away what they are tired of looking at. It took me nearly twenty minutes to find a way to get close to the river that is only two blocks from my home. But as I walk closer to the river’s edge and ignore the drone of the highway across the water, the beauty and majesty of a great river can still be sensed. The late December sun is setting on an unexpectedly warm winter day. The stench of the Hudson is not noticeable as the Hudson of my childhood. This is my lifeline, this my river. Our predecessors came up to explore and subsequently settle along a river that we have long ago turned our backs on. In this part of the river we are denied access and even a glimpse. The joke is that Henry Hudson sailed up to Troy and turned around. That punch line stings as we are pushed away from the water, a means of recreation and commerce, cut off from the Hudson River.

sewingmachine

4 Responses to “Sunday Stroll”

  1. Nosher →
    December 15, 2006 at 1:48 pm #

    What a beautiful and true post. I hope this is something that will change, because we all deserve to enjoy the river’s gifts.

  2. Nosher →
    December 15, 2006 at 1:48 pm #

    What a beautiful and true post. I hope this is something that will change, because we all deserve to enjoy the river’s gifts.

  3. albi →
    January 16, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    You are correct about the difficulities decision makers have placed against our access to the river. Right again about how the common people discard trash into the river like its going to wash away forever, instead of polluting someone elses view.

    But lets think about the smell you found at the river. Most of the animal and human waste no longer goes into the river, due to massive public and private spending on wastewater treatment facilities. Think about how the river would have seemed at the time of the civil war. There was one horse for every five persons. The horse droppings fell in roads and streets where they would wash into the river. Today, up river of Troy, more than 99 percent of the human and animal waste is treated before the water that carries it reaches the river. However, Troy does have a large concentration of what are called combined sewer overflows. Those are part of sewers that carry both sewage from our homes and buildings and the runoff from streets. When it rains a lot, the flow from the streets exceeds the ability of the pipes to carry the flow, the flow mixes with the sewage from homes and buildings that is already there, and flows out of the pipes into the river. New York City used to have the largest concentration of these sewers, but is spending the many millions necessary to separate these flows. In a few more years, Troy will have the largest concentration of combined sewer overflows in New York State, and more than New York City.

    So Troy not only has old drinking water pipes that are collapsing seeemingly every month, but needs new sewers to get the sewage to the treatment plant and allow the storm water to be treated by other means before it reaches the river.

    After all this discussion, I want to point out one more thing. I don’t know exactly where you approached the river, but there is something you have to keep in mind. The mud and mushy areas near and in rivers are churning with the cycling of nutrients. Even clean rivers stink. Then think about how your river is tidal all the way to the Troy Federal Dam. That means the mud and dead organic matter is soaked twice a day and exposed to air twice a day in that entire fringe between the high and low tide mark. That means even a clean tidal river stinks a lot!

    So call City Hall and all the politicians above them, to get the combined sewers separated, but if it hasn’t rained lately, relish that rank smell on the breeze by the river, as its only natural!

  4. albi →
    January 16, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    You are correct about the difficulities decision makers have placed against our access to the river. Right again about how the common people discard trash into the river like its going to wash away forever, instead of polluting someone elses view.

    But lets think about the smell you found at the river. Most of the animal and human waste no longer goes into the river, due to massive public and private spending on wastewater treatment facilities. Think about how the river would have seemed at the time of the civil war. There was one horse for every five persons. The horse droppings fell in roads and streets where they would wash into the river. Today, up river of Troy, more than 99 percent of the human and animal waste is treated before the water that carries it reaches the river. However, Troy does have a large concentration of what are called combined sewer overflows. Those are part of sewers that carry both sewage from our homes and buildings and the runoff from streets. When it rains a lot, the flow from the streets exceeds the ability of the pipes to carry the flow, the flow mixes with the sewage from homes and buildings that is already there, and flows out of the pipes into the river. New York City used to have the largest concentration of these sewers, but is spending the many millions necessary to separate these flows. In a few more years, Troy will have the largest concentration of combined sewer overflows in New York State, and more than New York City.

    So Troy not only has old drinking water pipes that are collapsing seeemingly every month, but needs new sewers to get the sewage to the treatment plant and allow the storm water to be treated by other means before it reaches the river.

    After all this discussion, I want to point out one more thing. I don’t know exactly where you approached the river, but there is something you have to keep in mind. The mud and mushy areas near and in rivers are churning with the cycling of nutrients. Even clean rivers stink. Then think about how your river is tidal all the way to the Troy Federal Dam. That means the mud and dead organic matter is soaked twice a day and exposed to air twice a day in that entire fringe between the high and low tide mark. That means even a clean tidal river stinks a lot!

    So call City Hall and all the politicians above them, to get the combined sewers separated, but if it hasn’t rained lately, relish that rank smell on the breeze by the river, as its only natural!