2018 – The Great Falls & historic Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ

(Ignore the stated publish date – this was published on August 25, 2018)


It’s been raining a LOT lately and whenever that happens, the Falls flow can be pretty tremendous. I keep telling myself I’m gonna go there the day after downpours, but something else always comes up.

On the morning of August 15 – after a couple of days of tons of rain – I took a look at the Great Falls cam (https://www.earthcam.com/usa/newjersey/paterson/?cam=patersonfalls) – dropped what I was doing and drove the 10 miles out to Paterson.

It had only been 7 weeks since I visited there with the Colorado Contingent, but, boy, was it worth it. The flow was average on June 23 with very little mist kicked up, but it was a different story on this day. Plus, the sun was out – unlike last time. That meant rainbows in the mist.

Speaking of the Contingent post (https://iaintjustmusic.bobleafe.com/?p=6333), you may need to jump back and forth a bit to compare the then-and-now pictures.

Before I start the tour, I want to show you an item I picked up on eBay 16 or 17 years ago. It looks like an egg with a nipple and “Passaic Falls Souvenir” is painted on it, along with some artist’s depiction of the Falls.


I don’t know its age, but I do know that the shown red tower isn’t there anymore, so that’s gotta be a clue. I found an old Falls convention patch/pass/something online that was dated 1919 and showed that tower, so that was my starting point…………..and ending point, until I emailed National Parks Service ranger Miguel Ruiz, whom I had met at the Falls gift shop the morning of my visit.

He checked around and while nobody could nail it down, the general consensus was that it might be from around 1914 or 1915 or sometime in the late teens, so it’s an antique.


So let’s start the tour:

This sign wasn’t there last time, so I have to put this picture up first, so you can all change your Labor Day plans ASAP.


I wonder how many people recall this: September 3 will be the 44th anniversary of famous French high-wire artist Phillippe Petit strolling across the Great Falls (https://www.reddit.com/r/newjersey/comments/3jiqr1/philippe_petit_braves_the_great_falls_of_paterson/). He became famous less than one month prior (August 7) when he did the same thing between the towers of the World Trade Center (without permission – http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/philippe-petit-twin-towers-balancing-act-remembered#slide1)

No guarantees this year. I attended this Festival in ’76 or ’77 and all I recall was that parking was horrible, but if you parachute in – without permission, of course – you too might become famous.

So after crossing the street from the gift shop. I saw the same rehabilitation work going on in the Overlook section (off limits, Hamilton in a box…………lotsa stuff going on, but it’ll be gorgeous when it’s done).


Just after entering the park on Wayne Ave. I immediately saw this scene, which I don’t recall seeing before, probably because of the angle of the sun, the bright white water going over a couple of Falls sections, the pump station building (you’ll see a photostitch of the inside of that later), and especially the right-side balance of the orange shirt on the guy taking a picture:


This scene (fence and pre-falls) has already become mini-folklore in the CO/NJ part of the family (see the Colorado Contingent post), but the reason I took it was because I saw it live a couple of days earlier on a TV news segment about the flooding caused by the Passaic River. This was the exact background the reporter chose. She must have seen it in my post (uh-huh):


The big sign at the Overlook is now missing the William Carlos Williams quote. Maybe they have a winter-themed one to replace it? (You’ll have to jump over to the previous visit’s post to make any sense out of that):


Approaching the pedestrian bridge: you can see part of the Falls chasm on the left and 5-time Emmy Award-winning videographer from NJ.com (the Newark Star Ledger) Andre Malok on the right. Here’s what he produced from his Falls shoot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARVANknuzys

After viewing his professional video, I’m tempted to delete my mishmash of multiple little QuickTime videos.


Love locks in Paterson! (Tin Tin + Tanisha)

From Wiki: A love lock or love padlock is a padlock which sweethearts lock to bridge, fence, gate, monument or similar public fixture to symbolize their love. Typically the sweethearts’ names or initials, and perhaps the date, are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away (often into the nearby river) to symbolize unbreakable love.


The main Falls and rainbow, as seen from the pedestrian bridge – the shadow of which can be seen at the bottom:


Heading north(?) – a left turn off the bridge – I made a 3-image photostitch with a glitch (for all photostitches, click once to enlarge to fill the width of the screen. When your pointer is on the image, it should turn into a + sign/magnifying glass. Click again to get the full size of the stitch. You’ll then have to scroll from left to right to see the full-size image, which is usually wider than your screen. The pointer’s + sign will now be a minus sign and you can then click to bring it back to full screen width. Hit your back button to bring it back to where it started).


A couple with an umbrella as storm clouds approach…………on a sunny day?


Nah – it’s just the hyperactive mist, which you may recall I “mist” last time due to lower water volume.


Geese swim near the edge of the Falls:


On the left is the pumping station building that I mentioned earlier. On the right is the Great Falls Development Corporation building that was shown is the previous visit’s post. I’ll wait while you go back and look……………….(is he serious?):


This is a 3-pic stitch that shows the interior of the historic pumping station, which was built in 1896. Entry was not permitted, but the door was wide open, so I stood in the doorway and took 3 pictures, which, when stitched together, let me capture the majority of the room (I think). Click, +, -, back button – you know the drill:


Right across the street is Hinchliffe Stadium – one of the last Negro Leagues stadia (3 years of high school Latin pays off!) in existence. It fell into disrepair decades ago, but is now starting to benefit from rehabilitation project money.

There is a TON of baseball history associated with this stadium. If you’re not familiar with it, go to the previous visit’s post and check it out. You may be quite surprised.

If you recall from that last visit, one of us got inside and one of us said, “I WILL get inside eventually” – mission accomplished………….from TWO different entry points.

One was on the Falls side: a completely-open entry point for vehicles. I walked up to a mid-field barrier and shot this multi-image stitch, but it really doesn’t show much:


I DID, however, get a better shot of the football scoreboard than I got last time:


With so much asphalt replacing grass – not to mention the mid-field barrier – there really wasn’t much else to shoot from this (disad)vantage point, I went back outside to walk around the perimeter.

It was nice to see work being done:


When I got around the corner, I saw the perfect shot to illustrate that Hinchliffe was, indeed, on the way back: a worker was painting the exterior by the left-side entrance that you can see in this last-visit 6-23-18 screen shot:


As I approached the man to tell him what I wanted to do, he started saying “No photos, no photos”. I explained that I didn’t want to include his face – in fact, it would be a better shot if he turned his back to me and just continued painting, but he adamantly continued saying, “No photos, no photos”.

Maybe his ass is on a Wanted posted somewhere.


I continued around to Amber’s last-visit entry point, which now had a clear path inside (taken from inside):


I imagine there were turnstiles here:


Going back three pictures, see the tower on the left with the two boarded-up windows? This is a shot of the inside of another tower’s similarly-boarded-up windows…………ticket windows:


This is the photostitch view I saw after turning around 180 degrees after taking the above shot – a great improvement over the previously-shown Hinchliffe stitch from mid-field. It shows a nearby tower’s ticket booth and contractors’ vehicles, etc., on the asphalt field:


After coming out the way I came in, I saw this painted on a nearby wall:


Jump back to the last visit to see a shot of two sides of this L-shaped building. I wanted more detail this time, so I did a stitch of the one visible wall (the other wall was blocked by parked cars). I WILL get that other wall eventually:


Having exited Hinchliffe, I walked back by the Falls and took a couple of shots. Hey – the rainbow’s arc changed a bit and its colors are better than they were 40 minutes ago. Compare this stitch with the earlier similar photo:


Another one to compare (last visit jumpback required): Check out the nearly-identical image taken in June with this one, whose falls are yellow. I don’t know if that’s due to the sun or pollution. The other differences are volume-related, i.e., the force of the flow and the river’s height (check the higher level on the bridge abutments vs. June’s).


Getting back to my starting point, this pic shows the downriver flow after the Falls and part of the Overlook area rehab, including the aforementioned Hamilton in a box.


This photostitch is an overview of the whole area. The building on the right isn’t really tilted – that’s due to the stitch program trying desperately to line up photos that I’ve fed it, but I wasn’t able to maintain EXACT horizontal precision while extending my arms out and moving them from left to right for four shots.


Below is a screen capture of the end of the third shot and the beginning of the fourth, which contained the whole building (and where I really screwed up). That little bit of the third couldn’t overcome the large bit of the fourth and the program did what it was supposed to do.


Time to say goodbye to Paterson and its shady……….oops!………..shaded people.


Oh, yeah………….the video:







  1. Jim Wright August 25, 2018

    Great stuff. Haven’t been there in a while…

  2. Carol August 25, 2018

    Well I’ve never been to England but I’ve been to Oklahoma. So I’ve been to a snippet of your part of the country, but you have introduced me to a much more up close and personal experience of your world. Enjoyed the observations and history!

  3. Bob Leafe August 26, 2018

    “Well I’ve never been to England but I’ve been to Oklahoma.”

    Well, it took a while before I realized that these were snippets of an old Hoyt Axton song (“I’ve Never Been To Spain”) that Three Dog Night popularized. Elvis did a great live version. Of course, both are on YouTube. Thanks, Carol.

  4. Kathy Hussey August 26, 2018

    Thanks for the photos. I graduated high school from Paterson’s JFK High and the ceremony was at Hinchliffe Stadium 6/1973. Glad they are restoring the area and the stadium. Thanks Bob!

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