The Albany Times Union is reporting that the iconic Half Moon replica ship, which was a prominent feature Capital Region for a quarter century will sail off into the sunset next year. Or sunrise, rather, as it will be headed east. The board of directors of the New Netherland Museum on Tuesday said that the ship, which has suffered from financial difficulties and the lack of a home port, will be moved to the Dutch city of Hoorn in 2015.
This is a kick in the pants for the Albany Waterfront. The Half Moon, like the Destroyer Escort USS Slater was a character in the story of Us and our region’s nautical history. I can’t tell you what Henry Hudson himself would say, but one thing is certain – this is the second time one of his ships has left him behind. It’s a kind of a sad coincidence.
The loss of the Half Moon replica is a loss to the Region and our historical narrative.
That being acknowledged, there’s hope for the river that bears Hudson’s name. There are several ongoing efforts to restore and expand recreational opportunities along the waterfront (Albany’s South End Bikeway connector from the Corning Preserve to the soon-to-be-completed Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, the proposed Rensselaer County Trail, an effort to provide recreational boating access to the Corning Preserve ponds, and of course the overwhelming support for a walkway on the rebuilt Livingston Avenue Bridge). That’s just to name a few. There is reason to remain optimistic.
The silver lining in the Half Moon replica’s loss is that decision makers should now know the consequences of not supporting the waterfront and being proactive to make connections. It’s up to us, the residents of the region, to accept nothing less than a full commitment from our local, state, and federal partners to support waterfront projects like those mentioned, and those to come, lest they suffer the same fate as the Half Moon replica. Maybe Henry Hudson would be proud of us for soldiering on.