2009 – Favorite photos of the year

Hackensack’s Anderson Street Station Burns Down

This station – about 3 blocks from where I live – was the second-oldest station in New Jersey. There’s a picture of it in my 2006 post.

I was woken very early that morning by the smell of burning wood, but my open bedroom window faced the opposite direction and I saw nothing and went right back to sleep. If only I knew…………….

By the time I got up, had breakfast, and found out the news on my computer, it was mid-to-late morning (despite what that clock in the picture says – that’s when the electricity was turned off). I ran right over there with my flip phone and took these pictures. They were still putting out hot spots.









By the next morning, they had leveled the building to avoid violent collapse from vibration as trains rumbled by. You can see they already had a new bus shelter installed (far left) for the train commuters to use to get to another station.



Inside the station, there was a thrift shop called The Green Caboose. That’s where this ice-coated Santana album in the rubble came from.




In the pile, I also found a piece of wood from the station that still had its yellowish paint on it (top). I took it home, cleaned off the gunk (middle) and here’s how the painted side looks (bottom). You can see a piece of black material stuck on the right end. Undoubtedly, it’s from a piece of clothing that was in the Green Caboose…………and it’s staying right there.




Hackensack’s Anderson Street Collapses

Not a good year for Anderson Street. It had another disaster in 2009 when an ancient sewer pipe – made of BRICK – collapsed, which resulted in the roadway above it collapsing as well. This was about a half-block away from me and I could see a lot of the activity going on from my living room window.

I sort of became a daily reporter for a Hackensack website I moderate because the road – a pretty busy street – was closed for SEVEN months and residents needed information.

I’m posting a few flip phone pix here, but if you want the full story: http://www.hackensacknow.org/index.php/topic,1149.0

Historically, the most important shot I got was of the actual broken brick pipe with some unpleasant stuff in it. The circular pipe was two brick layers thick. I can’t imagine how much work was involved in creating a pipe like that. And they’re all over town…………..in LOTS of towns.

This construction goes back to the 1880s, so this pipe was over 125 years old.




These two shots include a daytime closeup shot of a big drill bit and a nighttime shot that reminds me that this was a 24/7 operation that included big cranes pounding steel pilings all night long. Sleep was sometimes a problem.






The workers – knowing that I’m an historian – gave me two bricks that I would not touch until I THOROUGHLY disinfected them first:




On the slightly humorous side, digging was extended all the way down the street to a busy intersection, so when they had to swing the traffic lights out of the way, they did it so it appeared that when you finally got the delayed green light, you were free to drive into a brick wall.





On The Plus Side………

Not everything was a disaster in 2009.

Another site I moderate is the online forum for the Bergen County Historical Society’s (BCHS) site.

One of the most historic local sites is the Steuben House at New Bridge in what is now River Edge, NJ – just across the Hackensack River from Teaneck and New Milford. The bridge itself is referred to as “the bridge that saved a nation”.

In November, 1776, the British held Manhattan while George Washington’s forces – after having been driven out by General Cornwallis – kept an eye on them from Fort Lee atop the Palisades. One night, Cornwallis marched about 6,000 troops to the northern tip of Manhattan, crossed the Hudson River, scaled the Palisades in the town of Closter and were ready to march about 6 miles south to surprise and slaughter the Americans.

A shaky legend has it that a local patriot saw the redcoats and surmised what was happening and rode his horse to Fort Lee to warn Washington. (Note: that person was referred to as “The Lone Horseman” and is featured in Closter’s official seal. The next time you get pulled over by a Closter cop, be sure to admire his shoulder patch, which shows the same image.)

But Washington wasn’t in Fort Lee; he was in Hackensack, so someone was dispatched to get him. George beat it back to Fort Lee and ordered the troops to drop everything and retreat through what are now Leonia, Englewood and Teaneck. The British weren’t far behind.

When they reached the Hackensack River, the Americans crossed New Bridge and promptly burned it down. As night fell, they camped out on the grounds of the Steuben House right by the river. They could see the campfires of the frustrated British troops on the near opposite shore in Teaneck.

Thomas Paine was with Washington’s troops and wrote his famous “These are the times that try men’s souls” line here.

Thus began the retreat across New Jersey, which led to the horrible winter at Valley Forge, PA. After that, Washington and his men re-crossed the Delaware River (he was probably NOT standing in his boat), surprised (and beat) the British at Trenton and went on to win the war.

What this all boils down to is that if not for New Bridge – the bridge that saved a nation – we’d all be speaking with British accents today.

Hardly anyone seems to know about this. I went to a good school 2 miles from this bridge and never heard anything about it growing up. That kinda pisses me off.

Anyway, the BCHS is based at the Steuben House, which was under state control, making it difficult to get anything done that really needed doing. There have been horrible floods that resulted in a lot of ruined historical artifacts because the State never stepped up in time to prevent the losses.

This all changed in 2009 when then-Governor Jon Corzine visited the Steuben House to sign legislation that turned control of the property over to BCHS’s Historic New Bridge Landing Commission.

These pictures show:

– the table, legislation and pens set up in the Steuben House for Corzine

– the speakers, including Corzine on the right

– Corzine signing the legislation (damn this crappy flip phone!)










We weren’t done. The entire assemblage moved two blocks away to the North Hackensack railroad station on the Pascack Valley Line to unveil the station’s new name: “New Bridge Landing at River Edge”.






1. Bergen County Courthouse
2,3,4. Sky shots
5,6. Flipadelic shots
7. Sun sets house on fire (?)
8. Icicled thing on my roof
9,10,11,12. The interior of the Second Reformed Church of Hackensack (my next-door neighbor)



























Some piggy gull decides to swallow something that’s bigger than its esophagus and tries to wash it down with the water it’s standing in. Yum!


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