The Club is Gone
On May 10, 2015 the historic New Rochelle Rowing Club building was destroyed by the City of New Rochelle. It cost of over $120,000 to tear down, far more than the renovation the club proposed.
We're leaving this site up to mourn the loss and to challenge the city to be creative. In an era when people have less and less access to the waterfront (especially for human powered craft), we hope they will provide equivalent waterfront access to regional sports men and women.
Seven years ago, the New Rochelle Rowing Club's building was recognized by the City Council as historic. Tuesday night, the council is expected to vote on awarding a contract for its demolition.
The building, constructed in 1900 after a fire destroyed the club's previous headquarters on the site, overlooks Long Island Sound on about a quarter-acre of city-owned Hudson Park. The structure was damaged nearly two-and-a-half years ago when Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast. Since then, the building has been a point of contention.
With club members contending it can be repaired, the city's Bureau of Buildings has recommended the City Council vote Tuesday to award a $120,360 contract to Yonkers-based Capital Industries Corporation to level the structure. To speed the process, the city accepted three "informal" bids and did not formally put the project out to bid, as is normally required for projects exceeding $35,000, City Manager Chuck Strome said.
Many thanks to the New York Rowing Association which now completely controls the club. Former members are keeping this site up in the hope that the NRRC will be reborn in a way that benefits owners of human powered craft in an era of radically declining waterfront access. Since we posted the story below, not much has happened. We hope that the city will agree that the NRRC has been a valuable asset for over 100 years.
recent history(May 8, 2013)
To all of our supporters, interested community members, touring kayakers, oarswomen and oarsmen. Last week, the city and the NRRC agreed to take an extra month before anyone takes action in court or otherwise. That is a wonderful outcome. It gives us all time to communicate and reflect.
Over the past several days we have encountered a major misconception... "that the rowing club owns the building but the city owns the land." Based on that statement a decision-maker might conclude that if the building was gone the rowing club would be gone.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. The land was conveyed to the city in 1886 in a deed which contained the provision that the NRRC must remain on the land where it was then located and is now located. According to expert real estate counsel's advice, this constitutes a legally enforceable covenant running with the land.
Having said that, our current structure is built like a rock. We'd like to keep it, improve it and maintain it in a place of honor among the city's historic structures.
Please see the important blog post "A Mistaken Premise"
A Farsighted Grant
On June 10, 1886 Alexander and Maria Hudson gave Hudson Park to the town of New Rochelle "...except the building of the New Rochelle Rowing Club..." For 127 years, the club has provided waterfront access to rowers, paddlers, sailors and their supporters. It is the oldest (perhaps the only) rowing club that still occupies its original site, and is still used for its original purpose from Maine to Florida.
We are told that the NRRC is the oldest (perhaps the only) rowing club that still occupies its original site, and is still used for its original purpose from Maine to Florida. Its members include Olympic medalists and the superb Fordham Prep Crew. The club was given New Rochelle's Heritage Award in 2008.
The club has weathered many hurricanes and nor'easters in over a century. This time, two thirty foot boats broke their moorings and came ashore. One raked the east side of the clubhouse (shown). The other caused damage to the west side of the exterior wall. Fortunately the structure itself is robust. Please donate if you value waterfront access and our historic and important mission. We can't do it alone.
The New Club
The hurricane has energized us to rebuild the kayak storage and shell storage and rededicate ourselves to the principal of waterfront access for athletes and enthusiasts. We intend to engineer with floating floors and breakaway walls so that storm surges can pass through without damage to the structure. The new club will rededicate itself to instruction and water safety.