Liberty State Park
|Liberty State Park|
Location on the Upper New York Bay at the mouth of the Hudson River.
|Area||1,212 acres (4.90 km2)|
|Operated by||New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry|
Liberty State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of New Jersey, located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, opposite both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The park opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations and is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry. Liberty State Park covers 1,212 acres (490 ha). The main part of the park is bordered by water on three sides: on the north by the Morris Canal Big Basin and on the south and east by Upper New York Bay. The New Jersey Turnpike Newark Bay Extension (Interstate 78) marks its western perimeter.
Most of the park's area is on landfill created by the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, defunct companies whose lines once terminated there. In the northeast corner of the park is the CRRNJ Terminal, a historic transportation building. Statue Cruises offers ferries to Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island that depart nearby. A 50 feet (15 m) section of track from the Lehigh Valley Railroad can be found in the park at in the park.
The southern Caven Point section of the park is separated from the main part of the park by the Liberty National Golf Club and is accessible along the water's edge using the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The long thin pier at the foot of Chapel Avenue that was once part of the park has been demolished. The Peninsula Park lies between the Big Basin of the Morris Canal and the Tidewater Basin in Paulus Hook. The Liberty Landing Marina is located on the Big Basin.
Communipaw Cove is part of the 36-acre (15 ha) state nature preserve in the park and is one of the few remaining tidal salt marshes along the Hudson River estuary. The Interpretive Center, designed by architect Michael Graves, is part of the preserve. To the west lies the Interior Natural Area, which is off limits to the public and is being allowed through natural processes to recover from environmental abuse. The park is also the only state park in Essex, Hudson, and Bergen counties. Another section of the park is called Liberty Industrial Park.
Much of the park is situated on landfilled tidal flats that formerly supported vast oyster banks as part of the territory of the Hackensack Indians, who called the area Communipaw and used it as a summer encampment. In the seventeenth century it became part of the colonial province of New Netherland, the patroonship Pavonia. The area was known as Jan the Lacher's Hook, so called for the man who was the bowery's second superintendent, Jan Everts Bout. For many years, the village, often referred to by Washington Irving, existed where the Liberty Science Center now stands. For hundreds of years it was a ferry port for local communities of Bergen, Bergen Township, and Hudson County, as well suburban and long-distance travelers to Manhattan.
In the latter half of 19th century, a small island named Black Tom projects was joined via landfill with the mainland. It became a major shipping, manufacturing, and transportation hub within Port of New York and New Jersey, leading to the construction of Communipaw Terminal. It was from this ferry/train station that many immigrants arriving at Ellis Island spread out across the USA. In 1916, on what is now the southeastern corner of the park, the Black Tom explosion killed as many as seven people, caused $20 million in property damage, and was felt throughout the Tri-State Region.
Construction of the North River Tunnels, containerization, and the Interstate Highway System, made the area less viable. The decline of industry, deterioration of rail and maritime infrastructure, and toxic waste, eventually made the area obsolete. Abandoned buildings and brownfields dominated the landscape after the mid-twentieth century, though there was still some manufacturing and recreational use.
Audrey Zapp, Theodore Conrad, Morris Pesin and J. Owen Grundy were influential environmentalists and historians who spearheaded the movement that led to the creation of Liberty State Park. They are remembered by the naming of places and streets along the waterfront.
It is estimated the park suffered $20 million in damages during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. As of August 2015, the CRRNJ Terminal and Nature Interpretive Center remain closed due to storm damage. No timeline has been given for its completion.
Points of interest
Freedom Way and Liberty Walkway
A road called Freedom Way goes through the center and serves as a barrier between the area closed to the public, to its west, and the area that is open to the public, to its east. It has many bike paths, walkways, and fields.
Liberty Walkway, a crescent-shaped promenade, stretches from the CRRNJ along the waterfront south to the Statue of Liberty overlook, bridging two coves along the way. It is part of the longer Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Halfway along Liberty Walkway is a bridge to Ellis Island, but only authorized vehicles are allowed. The southeastern corner of the park contains the Statue of Liberty overlook, picnic facilities, a playground, the U.S. Flag Plaza and Liberation Monument, the Public Administration Building, and a memorial to the Black Tom explosions. Picnicking and barbecing facilities are also located at the southern end of the park. Originally called "Liberty Walk", this part of the project won a landscape award in 1995. The name "Liberty Walk" was already associated with Philadelphia such as through a booklet The Liberty Walk Through Historic Old Philadelphia published by the American Wax Museum, Philadelphia (before 1969) which listed a walk round 23 sites of historic interest.
Liberty Science Center
The Liberty Science Center, at the northwestern entrance to the park, is an interactive science museum and learning center. The center opened in 1993 as New Jersey's first major state science museum. It has science exhibits, the world's largest IMAX Dome theater, numerous educational resources, and the original Hoberman sphere, a silver, computer-driven engineering artwork designed by Chuck Hoberman.
Monuments and memorials
Empty Sky is the official state memorial to the September 11 attacks of the World Trade Center. Situated on a berm the parallel walls engraved with the names of victims are oriented to face the former World Trade Center site. Designed by architect Frederic Schwartz, it was dedicated on September 10, 2011, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail runs just west of the park with a station at its entrance. Hornblower Cruises operates ferries to Ellis Island and Liberty Island, and a water taxi to Paulus Hook and the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal.
In March 2013, Jersey City received a $500,000 grant to study extending Jersey Avenue from Downtown directly into the park, which would simplify access and create a new gateway to the park. In May 2013, a new pedestrian/bike bridge was placed over Mill Creek at the small basin to replace an older one that had been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. It is situated so as not interfere with any new road construction. In 2014 NJDOT announced that it would build a $10 million bridge over the Morris Canal. 
On July 4, 1985, Daryl Hall and John Oates played an outdoor benefit concert for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in front of an estimated 70,000 people at Liberty State Park. The concert was later re-played on HBO.
In 2001, Cirque du Soleil premiered its new work. The Park was the site of the All Points West Music & Arts Festival, held from August 8–10, 2008, and hosted the festival again from July 31 - August 2, 2009, with such acts as Jay-Z, Coldplay, Tool, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
In 2006, the park began to host the Liberty Jazz Festival. This two-day event is normally held the first weekend after Labor Day each year and has included performers such as George Benson, Waymon Tisdale and other jazz artists.
In May 2010, plans were put forth outlining the use of the park as the new home of the United States Formula One Grand Prix for the 2012 season. These plans met outrage from the community, particularly the Friends of Liberty State Park, and were ultimately rejected by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Twelve out of the 13 American Flags displayed at Liberty State Park (one flag not shown), with the Statue of Liberty in the background
Communipaw Terminal, historic building. Dock in foreground serves ferries to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty
Flags at half-staff in Liberty State Park
As seen from One World Observatory in June 2015
- List of New Jersey state parks
- Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
- Hudson Parks
- Port of New York and New Jersey
- Marine life of New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary
- Jersey City Independent,: Nature Untameed
- "Liberty State Park: Black Tom Explosion". State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. January 26, 2005. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- Morris Pesin Marker in LSP
- Coyne, Kevin (June 22, 2008). "A Quest That Brought Lady Liberty Closer". The New York Times.
- Jersey Journal FOLSP: Jersey Journal
- Ragoza, Rafal (May 25, 2013). "Latest estimates on Liberty State Park recovery from Hurricane Sandy". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- Landscape Architecture 1991 - Volume 81 Page 69 "The first phase of the park is the 1.5 miles (2.4 km) waterfront promenade, Liberty Walk. Construction on the promenade has already begun and will be completed in early 1991; "
- Backroads of New Jersey 2007 Page 48 "Take Freedom Way south or walk the 2 miles (3.2 km) Liberty Walk Promenade through a thirty-six-acre natural area river marsh."
- Setha Low, Dana Taplin, Suzanne Scheld Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity 2009 p. 83 "...Liberty State Park, includes grass-covered fields, a public boat launch, walkways along the waterfront, spacious parking lots, and ... The other connecting corridor is the 1.3 miles (2.1 km)-long Liberty Walk, a newly built promenade along the water's edge ..."
- Landscape Architecture Magazine 1995 "Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) of Philadelphia and New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) were the co-winners of a Top Honor Award for the overall plan and an Honor Award for Liberty State Park and Liberty Walk "
- NJ Department of Parks and Forests Archived 2011-02-03 at WebCite Liberty Science Center
- "Art and Architecture of New Jersey," ETTC.net, retrieved May 10, 2011.
- NJ 911 Memorial page Archived March 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., retrieved February 20, 2011.
- McDonald, Terrence T. (May 23, 2013). "Seven months after Sandy, a new $800K bridge in Jersey City". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "Mill Creek Footbridge". bridgesnyc.com. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
- McDonald, Terrence T. (August 22, 2014). "$10M bridge connecting Downtown Jersey City to Liberty State Park closer to reality". Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
- Ronald Reagan speech at LSP
- THE WORLD’S MOST BELOVED TENOR ANDREA BOCELLI GIFTS NEW YORK CITY WITH A ONCE IN A LIFETIME MUSICAL EVENT
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (April 13, 2001). "CIRCUS REVIEW; Dancing Lion, Eerie Dragon in a Time Warp". The New York Times.
- Collantine, Keith (2010-05-04). "New York F1 track plans revealed – Jersey City bids for 2012 night race". F1 Fanatic. Keith Collantine. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- Official website
- Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
- Friends of Liberty State Park, an advocacy group for the park's preservation
- The New York Times, 1913 proposal to develop Jersey City port facilities
- Liberty State Park Ecosystem Restoration Study (PDF). Hudson-Raritan Estuary (Report). USACE. October 2005.