Nearly two centuries ago, Hudson County was a destination for beach enthusiasts. From the 1840s until at least the 1880s, the Hotel LaTourette and its surrounding beaches at Bergen Point in Bayonne were referred to as “the most fashionable resort in the suburban district of New York.”
Times have changed, but remnants of beaches remain.
Bayonne, Jersey City. and Hoboken each still have at least one beach with sand. And while residents can visit these beaches for relaxation or recreation, the one thing they are advised not to do is go into the water. In the case of Newark Bay, it is because of the pollutants discharged there over many years. With Upper New York Bay, it’s the pollutants, but it is also because of the strong currents, as in Hoboken, where swimming is prohibited by city ordinance. Many young people have died by jumping into the Hudson River in Hoboken.
Hoboken boasts two mini-beaches; Maxwell Place Park at Sinatra Drive and 11th Street, and Weehawken Cove, near 16th Street. People can actually walk onto the sand along the rocky river at Maxwell Place.
Sunbathers are infrequent, however. More often, the tiny beach is used for recreational activities.
There is minimal fencing and anyone can access the area, which is located near a children’s playground.
Bayonne, Jersey City, and Hoboken each still have at least one beach with sand adjacent to either Upper New York Bay or Newark Bay.
On July 18, Hoboken was awash with participants of City of Water Day, particularly kayakers who launched their vessels from the 11th Street area.
Jersey City boasts the relatively new “Newport Green” beach, which has sand and play equipment for kids, but doesn’t reach the water. Instead, it’s above the waterfront walkway.
For those who could not get out of the city on July 8, Newport held its own beach party. Residents gathered on the 8,000 square feet of authentic castle-building sand on dozens of Adirondack chairs. The annual post-Independence Day event featured a food festival and concert.
Liberty State Park also has some sand and stone-covered beaches at the park’s northern end.
Old timers in Secaucus remember the days when they could swim in the Hackensack River. And while those times are over because of contamination and the town does not have a beach per se, its boat launch at Laurel Hill County Park serves as the starting point for water lovers of all types. Canoes, kayaks, and jet-skis are among the favored watercraft.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.