When it was built in 1939, the Maxwell House Coffee Plant was the largest coffee processing plant in the world. For a time, it was Hoboken’s largest employer. Its 182-ft-long “Good to the Last Drop” sign facing the Hudson River, including a neon lit drop, became an iconic landmark until the plant closed in 1992.
In the late 1990s, local developers Daniel Gans and George Vallone acquired the property and by 2000 proposed a sprawling $300 million residential development covering the 14-acre site. The Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) negotiated an agreement with the developers to change the original plans so the buildings would be set back from the waterfront, behind a public street, in order to preserve a continuous, public riverfront park. As part of the agreement, the developers donated the five acres of land on the river-side of Sinatra Drive North to the City.
Today, Maxwell Place Park contains the only natural sand beach on the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge and thus has become an ideal launching pad for those seeking to get into the river via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Two nonprofit groups who facilitate free access to the Hudson River make their home there, the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse and Ke Aloha Outrigger.
On City of Water Day, Saturday, July 16, FBW will join with these groups and others for a day of activities celebrating Hoboken’s public waterfront park and its access to the river, and educating the public on environmental and climate change issues. Biologist Noelle Thurlow of Resilience Adventures will provide a hands-on catch and release experience to learn about wildlife in the Hudson. The NY/NJ Baykeeper will be there to explain their program for reintroducing oysters into the New York Harbor. The Montclair State University Traveling HAB Lab will demonstrate the impact of climate change on our watersheds and water quality.
Want to try your hand at fishing in the Hudson? Come to the Castle Point Park fishing pier, just south of the Union Dry Dock site. The Hudson River Fishermen Association will be there to help, providing rods, reels and bait.