Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Morris Heights

Today our Tuesday Tour takes us southward on the Hudson Line to Morris Heights station in the Bronx. The station is sandwiched in between the Major Deegan Expressway and Roberto Clemente State Park, which itself borders the Harlem River. Morris Heights station consists of an island platform, with a set of stairs that connect it to street level. Enclosed in a bus station style shelter at street level is a single ticket vending machine. It is a relatively low-traffic station – excluding limited-service stations, Morris Heights gets the second fewest number of daily passengers on the Hudson Line.


New York Central and Hudson River bill of lading, tickets and a 1936 timetable

Compared to other Hudson Line stations we’ve visited, Morris Heights station is relatively uninteresting. However, the state park that is located next to the station is pretty nice, and worth a visit if you ever happen to find yourself at Morris Heights. The park offers nice views of the Harlem River, and the Washington Bridge that crosses it.

Anyways, that is about it for today’s rather short tour. Next week we’ll take a visit further north to one of the line’s more interesting stations!

 
  
 
  
 
   
 
  
  
 
 
  
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Manitou

Welcome to Manitou, located 46 miles north of Grand Central, and the second and final limited service station stop to be featured on our tour of the Hudson Line. Unlike Breakneck Ridge, the other limited service station we’ve visited, Manitou does get trains during the week. In the morning, the 8:08 stops at Manitou, and in the evening the 6:16 from Grand Central stops there. Despite such a limited schedule, according to Metro-North’s ridership statistics a handful of people do in fact commute from Manitou. However, the majority of Manitou’s ridership is on the weekend, when it is used by people looking to hike or bike in the area.


Shelter at Manitou station in 1965.

Similar to the other Metro-North limited service stations (Appalachian Trail and Mount Pleasant are the two others, along with the aforementioned Breakneck Ridge) there isn’t too much at Manitou. There are no ticket machines, and only a low-level platform, if you could even call it that. On the southbound track there is a small shelter, although it wouldn’t protect you much from the elements. The inside wall of the shelter has been decorated with paint and some string art, likely not Metro-North’s doing, but left by some quirky passengers.



Shots from the vicinity of Manitou station. Photo on the bottom was taken in 1987 from the Bear Mountain Bridge. From the collection of Otto Vondrak.


The Hudson Line passes under the Bear Mountain Bridge just south of Manitou station. Photo by jag9889.



CSX at Manitou and vicinity. Photos by Michael Foley.

While Manitou station isn’t all that interesting in itself, the area surrounding the station is quite beautiful. You can just make out the Bear Mountain Bridge, which is south of the little Manitou platform. Bear Mountain State Park is accessible to the west of the station and across the river, and the Appalachian Trail to the east. I think that anyone who has the time to make a day trip to either Breakneck Ridge or the Bear Mountain area totally should. They each offer two different hikes in the attractive Hudson Highlands – and a train ride via Metro-North can get you to either in under and hour and a half. In fact, I hope to get over there again sometime for photos, perhaps on a less crappy day!

 
  
 
  
   
  
 
  

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Hastings-on-Hudson


Various artifacts from Hastings-on-Hudson station, including New York Central and Penn Central tickets. The Monthly Commutation ticket is from the collection of the Hastings Historical Society, and belonged to a young woman named Josephine Selvaggio.

Nestled in between the stations of Greystone and Dobbs Ferry, and just over 19 miles from Grand Central, lies the station of Hastings-on-Hudson. The railroad has been a main feature of Hastings since the 1840’s, and along with it came various factories and industry. In 1840 a sugar refinery was established just south of where the train station is. A fire destroyed the building in 1875, and many of the other riverfront factories also burned. While the refinery was not rebuilt, other factories moved in to occupy the desirable space, adjacent to both the railroad and the riverfront.

Over the years a chemical company, a cable and wire company, a pavement company, and even a brass manufacturer have all called Hastings home. Unfortunately some of this industry has left parts of the area contaminated. Though there are certainly spots close to the train station where one can admire the view of the Hudson River and the Palisades, it is impossible to not notice the marks of Hastings’ industrial history.


Industry in Hastings – A postcard from the Hudson River Steam Sugar Refinery, and a brochure from the Anaconda Wire and Cable Company. The railroad, which ran right alongside these factories, is visible in both. These two artifacts come from the Historical Treasures of Westchester County website.


A 1926 photo of the riverfront area in Hastings-on-Hudson. Located beside the railroad tracks and the Hudson River, the area was quite industrialized. Visible in the photo are the Zinsser Chemical Company (far left), the American Brass Company (far right) and the Hastings Pavement Company (center). The roof of the train station is visible in the bottom right. Photograph by Arthur Langmuir, from the collection of the Hastings Historical Society.


The first train station in Hastings, circa 1900. This station was demolished in 1910 to make room for a new station. Photo from the collection of the Hastings Historical Society.

The current Hastings-on-Hudson station, operated by Metro-North, consists of two side platforms straddling four tracks. The platforms are connected by an overpass, which includes a few ticket machines inside. The old railroad depot, constructed circa 1910, still stands and overlooks the platforms. The building’s manned ticket window is long gone, but the space is now occupied by the Hastings Station Cafe. Beyond that, there isn’t much that is particularly noteworthy here. Just another Hudson Line station, complete with a nice view, and a little bit of history.

 
 
  
 
   
  
 
   
  
 
  
   
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Spuyten Duyvil


View of the railroad tracks near Spuyten Duyvil in 1890.

When coming up with superlatives for the Hudson Line, people generally cite it as Metro-North’s most attractive line. I, on the other hand, like to think of it as the most frequently misspelled. It is the Hudson Line that has stations like “Phillip’s Manor” and “Pokipse,” and, of course, the one that takes the cake – “Spitendivel.” Today’s tour takes us to the (correctly spelled) Spuyten Duyvil, a station about 10 miles north of Grand Central Terminal in the Bronx. Considering that it is a station that is frequently misspelled, as well as rather attractive, it seems to be a good representation of the Hudson Line.


Stock certificate for the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad Company

As I am sure you could gather, the name Spuyten Duyvil is clearly not from the English language. The name derives from the Dutch Spuitende Duivel, which means spouting devil. First bestowed on the creek nearby, the name was later adopted for the train station as well. Historically, there was also a railroad that bore the name – the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad Company. It was leased to, and later incorporated into the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, which allowed that road to connect with the Harlem Railroad at Mott Haven.


Spuyten Duyvil station in 1958.


1975 view near Spuyten Duyvil.

I don’t think there is really too much else to say about Spuyten Duyvil, other than the fact that it really is an interesting spot. Located right on the water, you can watch the Circle Line and other boats sail up and down the river. Right above your head is the Henry Hudson bridge, which provides an interesting vista very much unlike any other Metro-North station. Just north of the station is an old rail tower that is no longer used, which is visible in a few of my photos from the station. Also north of the station is where Amtrak diverges, and the tracks cross the river via a swing bridge which is visible from the platform. The swing bridge is definitely interesting to watch, it opens and closes somewhat frequently to accommodate around 30 trains that pass over it every day.


Aerial view of Spuyten Duyvil. The Henry Hudson bridge as well as Amtrak’s Spuyten Duyvil swing bridge are visible. If you look closely you can just make out the Metro-North platform under the bridge.

Anyways, that is all I’ve got for today and Spuyten Duyvil. I must insert a shameless plug here – if you like the historical photos I post along with these Tuesday Tours, you should totally like us on Facebook (if you haven’t already). I’ve been posting a bunch of old photos on there, and I promise something pretty interesting will be happening over there within the next month (shh, it’s a surprise!).

 
   
 
  
 
 
 
  
 
 
  
 
 
  
 
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Tarrytown


Tarrytown postcard, monthly ticket from 1896, and a Hudson Division timetable from 1967

As we continue our travels along the Hudson Line, our next stop is Tarrytown station, about 25 miles north of Grand Central Terminal. Today’s tour is chock full of photos and information – certainly befitting one of the line’s busiest stations. Tarrytown is second only to Croton-Harmon in terms of ridership on the Hudson Line. It boasts an 1890 station building, which has been recently restored, and one of Arts for Transit’s newest works. Undoubtedly, Tarrytown is one of the more interesting spots on the Hudson Line, and certainly worth checking out if you’re ever in the area.


Postcard views of Tarrytown station

On our Hudson Line travels, you may have noticed that there are three stations on the line that match with very well with each other, but don’t quite match with the rest. Although beautiful, the stone stations at Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, and Irvington look a lot more like Boston & Albany stations than they do New York Central stations. This would be an apt observation, as each of those stations were designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge – the same architects that designed over 20 Boston & Albany stations (including one of my favorites, Chatham). Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge designed a total of five stations for the Hudson Division in 1898 and 1890 – Riverdale, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, New Hamburg, and Tarrytown. New Hamburg’s station was never actually built. Of the four that were built, Tarrytown’s station was the most expensive, at a cost of $34,492 (which, adjusted for inflation, would be around $826,126 today).


Early 1900’s view of Tarrytown station.

Many stations along the Hudson Line have gotten recent repairs, but the efforts that Metro-North went through to fix up Tarrytown went above and beyond. The $45 million dollar effort not only restored the historic station depot, but built new platforms, overpasses, stairways and shelters. Although all of those things are nice, I think it is the station building that people will notice first – especially since it contains one of the few remaining manned ticket windows. The building’s restoration included a new slate roof and gutters – but it is Metro-North’s attention to history that makes me give them major bonus points on this project. At some point over the years, the three dormer windows in the roof of the building had been lost. In a nod to history, the roof was restored to what it looked like when first built – and those restored windows definitely look nice!


Tarrytown station in 1970.

Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of the station isn’t the historical – it is one of the new additions to Tarrytown. Holly Sears created some lovely art for the station through the Arts for Transit program. The piece, titled Hudson River Explorers, consists of 11 windows made of laminated glass. Each window features various animals above and below the water, some native to our area, and others that are a bit more exotic. Although all the animals look quite realistic, the scenarios and scale in which they’ve been placed are closer to fantasy. Polar bears swim with elephants and a house cat in one panel, and in another a bobcat stands next to an equally-sized butterfly. Many of the combinations, like a seahorse and a full-sized galloping horse, seem quite playful, and are a cheerful addition to the often humdrum travels of a regular commuter.


Two of the original paintings by Sears. Bright background colors were later added for the finished piece, which is made of laminated glass and was installed in the two station overpasses.

I’m always appreciative when an Arts for Transit artist includes more information about the work on their website, and Sears has done a good job with that. Seeing the process of the art – in this case from a painting into beautiful laminated glass – is always enjoyable. Sears’ site is worth checking out, as she features each of her original 11 paintings for this piece. These paintings are also on exhibit at the Hudson River Museum until October 13th.

  
 
  
   
  
 
  

That is about it in terms of information on Tarrytown station. Below you’ll find the photographs I took while wandering around – including a few as the construction was wrapping up. There is going to be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new station on September 27 at 2:45, which should be interesting. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to the event to get any further photos!

  
 
  
 
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
  
 
  

*Special thanks to Terri Evans at Shepley Bulfinch for pulling some documents from the Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge archives for this post!

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Dobbs Ferry


A postcard of Dobbs Ferry station, and a portion of a Hudson River Railroad timetable from 1851, listing Dobbs Ferry station

Welcome to Dobbs Ferry, one of the lovely Hudson Line stations with a great view of the mighty Hudson River. On the fourth of July, I spent the day exploring the Hudson Line, but ended up spending most of my time here. The waterfront view is quite lovely, and adjacent to the station is the aptly named Waterfront Park – reason enough for you to come and visit this place. Though the station used by Metro-North particularly noteworthy (besides the nice Arts for Transit piece), the old station building still stands and is a lovely piece of railroad architecture. Though I didn’t get to see the inside, the station has two floors, the first of which has a waiting room, ticket window, bathrooms and a boiler room. It was designed by architects Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in 1889. Last year the town was looking for proposals for businesses interested in leasing the station, but apparently all of those proposals were later rejected.


A 1914 map of Dobbs Ferry, depicting both the railroad and the river. Note the railroad sidings that are no longer present today.


Early 1900’s view of Dobbs Ferry station

Dobbs Ferry itself was named, as one would expect, after a ferry crossing over the Hudson River. Members of the Dobbs family arrived around the 1700’s, and operated their ferry until 1759. Other area ferries operated until the early 1900’s. It was this ferry that made the area an attractive place for an encampment of General Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War.


Dobbs Ferry station in 1974

The current station at Dobbs Ferry, operated by Metro-North, is about 20 miles from Grand Central Terminal. The average train time to Grand Central Terminal is around 45 minutes. As previously mentioned, the station isn’t particularly noteworthy, but it did have a bit of a makeover in the mid-2000’s. The work at the station, part of the Hudson Line Stations Improvement Project, was completed in 2008. It included updates to the platform, overpass, and a new platform canopy. An elevator was also installed in the updated overpass, making the station ADA compliant. While this was all going on, some attractive art was also added to the station platform, as part of the Arts for Transit program.

 
  
 
 
   
 

Floating Auriculas, the lovely mosaic found at Dobbs Ferry, is probably the nicest thing you’ll find on the platform. Behind this piece is artist Nancy Blum, who has created public art for venues across the country. My love for the transit system in Minneapolis has been well documented on this site, and I was surprised to note that not only is Blum working on the art for three stations on the new Central Corridor line, she also did the art on my favorite, East Bank station. Blum has done public art in various media, but for the most part the underlying theme is nature and the natural world, and the piece at Dobbs Ferry certainly fits that theme. Blum’s lovely auricula flowers, about eight feet in diameter, adorn the side of the northbound platform, rendered in mosaic form using Italian glass and marble tile.

Thanks to Blum’s website, we get a lovely view of the progression of an Arts for Transit piece – from an original painting, all the way to the finished mosaic on the station platform. The first four photos above are from the artist’s site, the remainder (above and below) are mine.


Yes, Metro-North has plenty of awesome conductors!

  
 
  
   
 
  
   
  
   
 
  
 
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Irvington


The namesake of Irvington – author Washington Irving. Also named Irvington – the first coal burner on the Hudson River Railroad.

Over the past three years, I’ve visited almost every Metro-North station in order to bring you these Tuesday Tours. While seeing stations is nice, sometimes the interesting part is exploring the towns in which these stations lie. Whenever possible, I try to take the train for my explorations, which often times leaves me extra time to explore while waiting for the next train. I try to scout out stations on Google Maps before heading out, just to see what is around and looks interesting. Places like Scarborough, Dobbs Ferry, and Irvington, with their waterfront parks, all looked like promising places to visit. Of all of the Hudson Line stops I’ve been to, I probably spent the most time in Irvington – wandering around the shops, lunching at one of the many restaurants, chatting with some of the residents, and even going to get my hair cut. Though the station itself isn’t too particularly interesting, the town is quite charming, and certainly worth the visit.


Postcards of Irvington station, from the collection of Steve Swirsky.

Irvington station is located approximately 22 miles from Grand Central, with Tarrytown station to the north and Ardsley-on-Hudson to the south. There are two side platforms, with four tracks running in between. The two platforms are not directly across from one another, but there is a tunnel under the tracks that does connect them both. The old station depot, built in 1889 and designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge is still present, but not in use by the railroad. Despite all the time I spent in Irvington, I never managed to get a decent photograph of the station, as the front of it is apparently an appealing location for cars to park.

I don’t really have too much more to say Irvington station, but while we’re on the subject, has anyone out there tried any of the restaurants surrounding the station? It seems that food alone might be a good version to head to Irvington. I grabbed some takeout from Haru Hana, which was pretty good. Chutney Masala, which is right across from the station in the waterfront side, smelled delicious. I heard that Red Hat also has tasty lobster – though you better be careful what you do with that lobster. It wouldn’t be good if you dropped it on the tracks. What a waste of a good lobster!

 
  
 
   
  
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
   
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Garrison


Excerpts from old Hudson River Railroad timetables, from 1853 and 1889, showing the station name as “Garrison’s.”

If you’re looking for attractive views along the Hudson, Garrison might be the station for you. Garrison station is located along the waterfront, and from there are lovely views of West Point on the river’s opposite bank. Due to the proximity to West Point you may think that the name derives from some military installation, however the name is a reference to the Garrison family. The first Garrisons arrived in the area in 1786, but it wasn’t until 1803 that Harry Garrison purchased waterfront property that the area became known as Garrison’s Landing. The name caught on, largely because of the ferry to West Point, established by the Garrisons in 1829. When the railroad arrived, and a station established, the name became permanent – though over the years it has morphed from “Garrison’s” to just “Garrison.”


Just passing through Garrison…

Today’s train station is located just shy of 50 miles from Grand Central, in the un-electrified territory of the Hudson Line. The old stone station, just north of Metro-North’s station, still stands and is in use by the Philipstown Depot Theatre. Completed in 1893, the station was built by William H. LaDue, who was also responsible for the construction of several other stations in the area. Right next to the old station is the entrance to a tunnel leading under the tracks, built in 1929. The newer platform, used by Metro-North, consists of two side platforms, connected by an overpass. Thus Garrison is one of very few Metro-North stations to have both a tunnel and an overpass.


Photo of the 1897 train wreck, just south of Garrison station. Photo from the George Eastman House Collection, though erroneously labeled as Harrison, NY and not Garrison.

In railroad lore, Garrison may unfortunately be remembered for the terrible train crash that occurred on October 24, 1897. A nine-car train, containing six sleeper cars, left Albany at 3:43 AM and derailed just south of Garrison station at around 5:46 AM. The engine and several train cars were thrown into the river, and eighteen of the nineteen people that perished drowned in the Hudson. Among the casualties was the engineer, at 35-year veteran of the New York Central, and the fireman, who had been working for the railroad for seven years.

The cause of the wreck was inconclusive, and the investigatory report reads:

This train was wrecked either by derailment, which destroyed the embankment, or that the embankment gave way and threw the train into the river. Therefore the board feels it to be its public duty to recommend in urgent terms and to require that all railroads in this State whose roadbeds or parts of roadbeds are carried on embankments lying alongside of and washed by water courses, shall give careful inspection to and constant efficient maintenance for such embankments.

That is about it for Garrison, though it may be worth mentioning that north of the station is a tunnel. An elevated roadway provides a nice vantage point to watch southbound trains passing through that tunnel.

Next week the Tuesday Tour will be heading south and visiting another one of Westchester county’s Hudson Line stations. Want a hint? A hear next week’s station has a restaurant nearby that has some tasty lobsters…

 
  
   
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   
 
   

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Ludlow


Monthly pass from Ludlow, and a Domino Sugar postcard. Yonkers, just north of Ludlow station, has been the home to a sugar refinery for over 100 years.

Today’s tour of the Hudson Line takes us to another of Yonkers’ railroad stations. Our visit to Ludlow will be relatively short, as there isn’t too much to mention here. The station is located just less than 14 miles from Grand Central, and is the southernmost Hudson Line station in Westchester county. Riverdale station is just south of here, and the main Yonkers station is north. Like many places along the line, the station consists of two outside platforms with four tracks running through the center. While most stations also have a platform overpass, here the elevated Ludlow Street serves as a method to access the other platform. Ticket machines are also located on this road.


CSX at the sugar refinery, just north of Ludlow station, in 2003. They are no longer a customer of CSX. Photo by Michael Foley.

As we’ve seen at other stations on the Hudson Line, the combination of the river and the railroad provided an optimal location for industry to thrive. Over the years many of these industries and factories have slowly disappeared. For over 100 years Yonkers – just north of Ludlow station – has been the home to a sugar refinery, still in operation today. The Yonkers location also serves as the headquarters of American Sugar Refining, Inc. This is one of the few sugar refineries still operating in the northeast, and Brian O’Malley, president of Domino Sugar, considers the railroad an important factor in the longevity of the Yonkers refinery.

That pretty much sums it up for Ludlow, which is one of the few Hudson Line stations not graced by an attractive view of the Hudson River. Next week we’ll be heading further north on the Hudson Line to a station that just might have a nicer view.

 
   
  
 
  
   
 
  
   
 

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Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Peekskill


Cropped postcard views of Peekskill station

For today’s Tuesday Tour, we venture back up to the un-electrified territory of the Hudson Line, 41 miles north of Grand Central, and make a stop at Peekskill. Many Hudson Line stations have been recently renovated, however, the process still continues at Peekskill, hopefully to be finished by this fall. As such, the station isn’t much of a looker right now. Construction vehicles surround the tracks, orange cones sit on the platforms, and a portion of the overpass is blocked off. Although a minor inconvenience for passengers right now, when the station is complete it will be well worth it. Besides the aesthetics of making the place look nice, there will be new canopies, lighting, heating, and an upgraded elevator.


Various timetables for Peekskill. Thanks to Doug Dray for the 1979 timetable, which also includes the stations of Crugers and Montrose, which have since closed.

Although in fairly poor shape today, Peekskill’s old depot, built in 1874, is still standing and in the process of being restored. The building had been occupied by a restaurant called PJ Kelleys since the early 90’s, but they finally closed their doors in December of 2009. It has been unoccupied since then, with Metro-North performing various renovations on the building. Before the true restoration could begin, asbestos and lead paint had to be removed from the old building. As of last year Metro-North was still looking for a tenant for the 7,395 square-foot building, who will likely be allowed to move in when the station is restored to its former grandeur.


Fleischmann Company factory in Peekskill, from the collection of Steve Swirsky

When Peekskill’s station was completed in the 1874, the area surrounding the depot was a bit different than it is today. Peekskill had quite a few factories, many of which made use of the nearby river and railroad. Believe it or not, Peekskill was once a major producer of yeast – or as the city boasts, “The Yeast-making Capital of the World.” The Fleischmann’s factory that produced this yeast was located along the railroad tracks, about one half mile south of Peekskill station. By 1915, the complex was comprised of over 125 buildings, and had over 2 miles of track interconnecting them. By 1977, however, the company had vacated Peekskill.


These steel sculptures by Joy Taylor is to be installed at Peekskill station later this year.

Before I wrap up Peekskill, I just wanted to offer a quick sneak-peek of one of the upcoming additions to the station. The last portion of Metro-North’s Peekskill project is to install some artwork, courtesy of the Arts for Transit program. The piece selected for the station, titled Jan Peeck’s Vine, is comprised of various steel sculptures and was designed by artist Joy Taylor. The name of the piece derives from Peekskill’s namesake, Jan Peeck. Taylor also created the mosaic piece that was installed at Larchmont station on the New Haven Line.

 
  
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
 
   
   
  

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