By Vladimir Brezina
This week’s Photo Challenge is Nostalgic.
Kayaking through New York City’s waterways and becoming aware of the maritime traditions of the harbor, it’s hard not to become nostalgic about its bygone days, reflected in the numerous wrecks of ships, some of them over a hundred years old, that lie here and there in the harbor.
A case in point is the Binghamton, a 1905 steam ferryboat—the last of many—that has reached her last resting place, as it now clearly is, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson at Edgewater.
The Binghamton operated as a cross-Hudson ferry, making a mile-long trip back and forth between Hoboken and Manhattan, continuously from 1905 to 1967, when the last ferries were forced out of business (until their recent renaissance) by competition from the Hudson tunnels and the George Washington Bridge.
The Binghamton is significant as possibly the last surviving steam ferry still afloat built to serve New York Harbor, the birthplace of commercial steam navigation, the birthplace of the double-ended steam ferry, and an area whose development was profoundly shaped by the introduction of vessels of this kind.
Indeed, The US Department of the Interior added Binghamton to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Bill Lee’s essay ends when Binghamton‘s future still looked promising. Unfortunately, in 2011 Hurricane Irene greatly accelerated her progressive deterioration, and last year Hurricane Sandy finished the job. Binghamton no longer floats, but is resting on the bottom.
Every time we paddle past, we see greater decay. Now an entire side of the boat is down, giving us dramatic views into the inlaid wood and stained glass of the interior—all ruined now. Water sloshes back and forth through the interior spaces with each passing wave.
A reminder of the transience of beauty…