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The History of the Boat Basin, an Upper West Side Marina

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

By Anna Kahn, Brown Harris Stevens Broker -- West Side-Columbus

Boat Basin, Upper West Side, Marina, New York City

The Upper West Side is home to many historic landmarks, but one of my personal favorites is the beloved Boat Basin. Located on the Hudson River, just off of 79th and Riverside, the Boat Basin gives residents of the Upper West Side the unique opportunity to escape the bustle of the city and simply enjoy the tranquil waterfront setting at their doorstep. While the Boat Basin is a beautiful New York City landmark today, it encompasses a long and varied history.

In 1846, what is now Riverside Park was merely just the Hudson River Railroad, built as a means of transporting goods more efficiently from Albany to Manhattan. Later in 1865, William R. Martin proposed a scenic drive and park along the Hudson River, which was ultimately commissioned as Riverside Park in 1873.

However, by the early 1920s, what had once been Riverside Park deteriorated into a muddy expanse with barbed wire around the perimeter. The city attempted to build a traffic circle and highway, covering the old train tracks, but the project remained unfinished due to lack of funding. As a result, Riverside Park became a dumpster and construction site.

Riverside Park under construction

Riverside Park & Boat Basin under construction by the West Side Improvement Project on May 16th, 1934 - Photo Credit: The Kermit Project

The neglected state of the park eventually drew considerable attention from residents and politicians around the city, ultimately sparking the proposal of the West Side Improvement Project in 1934. This restored the park to what it had been with the addition of the Boat Basin, the Freedom Tunnel, an underground parking garage, a restaurant, and the rotunda. The project was completed in 1937.

Today, the Boat Basin is the only facility in New York City that offers year-round boat residency, and it has recently become a launch site for sailboats, canoes, and kayaks. The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater also often docks at the marina with the purpose of informing the public of ways to improve the environment and eliminate pollution in the river. Most importantly, the Boat Basin offers serenity and comfort to all of those who come by.

View from Boat Basin at 67 Riverside Drive

The stunning view of the Boat Basin from 67 Riverside Drive, 9D

My new listing at 67 Riverside Drive is just steps away from the Boat Basin, offering panoramic views of Riverside Park and the Hudson River. The prewar masterpiece boasts nearly 10-foot-high ceilings, three spacious bedrooms, two new baths, incredible light throughout the day, and luxurious renovations from head to toe.

If you are interested in living near one of the Upper West Side’s gems in a one-of-a-kind home, please get in touch with Anna Khan.


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