History and Weather Combine for an Illuminating MAS Boat Tour
July 30th, 2009, 5:39 pm
On Wednesday night, 300 courageous souls boarded the Circle Line for the MAS Annual Boat Tour, braving wind, rain, and ominous darkness. In honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage, the boat tour featured the upper Manhattan and Bronx sections of the mighty Hudson River. Architectural historian and MAS tour guide Francis Morrone expounded upon many architectural jewels of this stretch of the Hudson, including the Wave Hill, in the Bronx, the George Washington Bridge, and the magnificent 1904 IRT Powerhouse, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently considering landmarking after much urging from MAS. Mr. Morrone also pointed out the spire of the Cloisters, reveling in the thought that its outstanding location and unadulterated view of Palisades were solely the result of the patronage of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Firth Haring Fabend, an expert on the history of Dutch settlement in New York City, chimed in reminding passengers that the Rockefellers are proudly of Dutch origin and have made many other architectural and land-conservation contributions to the upper reaches of the Hudson River. Francis and Firth were an excellent accompaniment to views from the Hudson, but the weather took center stage as strong winds whipped water off the surface of the river and rain poured down. As the rain subsided and the gloaming gave way to night, passengers saw the most spectacular sight of all: the ghostly spires of Grant’s Tomb and Riverside Church against flashes of lightning illuminating Manhattan.