For most of the 1900s, maritime industries dominated Hoboken’s Hudson River waterfront. The transformation of this waterfront began some thirty years ago as new commercial and residential projects were built along with a continuous, public waterfront park.
The first park, Sinatra Park, was built in 1994. Then came Pier A Park and the promenade at the South Waterfront. By 1998, the construction of the 1600-unit Shipyard Project began. In 2001, the City approved the Maxwell Place Project with a city-owned waterfront park. Castle Point Park followed and then, in 2003, Pier C Park.
These waterfront parks added nearly 18 acres of parkland to this mile-square town that for many years had suffered from one of the lowest per capita public open space ratios in New Jersey. This was the first major addition of parkland for Hoboken since its first small parks — Church Square Park, Stevens Park (originally Hudson Square), Elysian Park and Columbus Park — totalling about 11 acres were built some 100 years earlier.
In the next several years, there will be two significant additions, completing several of the final gaps in Hoboken’s waterfront park, one at the Weehawken Cove (2.5 acres) and the other at Union Dry Dock (3 acres). The construction of the Sinatra Drive Project beginning next year will be a dramatic improvement to the central waterfront that will tie together many of these parks from Fourth to Eleventh Streets with a protected bicycle pathway, widened sidewalks and hopefully a continuous row of street trees.
The total acres, however, are less important than the goal of fully connecting the park for the entire length of Hoboken’s riverfront from the Hoboken Terminal up to the Weehawken Cove. This was the vision set forth by the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) in 1990 with its Plan for the Hoboken Waterfront. FBW’s plan and continued advocacy became the driving force in shaping the development of Hoboken’s riverfront and establishing a clear delineation between the park at the water’s edge and the upland blocks for private development. The linear nature of the park encourages walking, running and cycling its length. Hoboken’s waterfront park also connects to the Waterfront Walkway in Jersey City to the south and in Weehawken to the north.