What Goes Around Comes Around (Dayliners Past and Present)
The Hendrick Hudson Dayliner
The Hendrick Hudson Dayliner, built in 1906 was designed to carry 5500 passengers to various stops along the Hudson River including Indian Point Amusement Park. This was a very well run operation in its heyday and made great profits for its owners. Due to their hull designs these Dayliners could travel at the passengers arrived fairly quickly to each destination. I can remember very well the Dayliners coming past Verplanck, one after another around 11 AM. As a boy we would all yell and scream and body surf the waves created by these magnificent ships as they passed by. Some created bigger waves than others as larger passenger loads and different hull designs dictated the size of the waves.
When these Dayliners pulled into Indian Point Amusement Park young boys would yell, “through money to us!” to the passengers still
on board. When the coins flew the boys would dive in and retrieve the coins to great cheers of the passengers. This was a mark of only
Indian Point Amusement Park and, to my knowledge was not done anywhere else along the river.
The Washington Irving Dayliner
The Washington Irving Dayliner, built in 1912, was the largest. It could accommodate 6,000 passengers, roughly 500 more than the Hendrick Hudson. It featured an Alhambra deck with individual cubicles and wooden writing desks and another deck which contained a gallery of paintings of the Hudson River Valley. When the ship was launched, the redheaded mascot club from Washington
Irving High School in New York City was invited to attend. The club made such a hit the entire student body was invited to join the Washington Irving’s maiden voyage on the Hudson River.
The Washington Irving met a tragic end in 1926 when it hit a barge as the ship was leaving New York harbor and tore a 20 foot hole in its side. The captain sounded a distress signal and was able to sail the ship safely across the river to the Erie Railroad’s Pier 9 where the ship sank. Three people aboard the Washington Irving drowned in the accident.
Today’s modern passenger vessels, such as Sea Streak and Circle Line boats, have the ability to travel from New York City upriver to
river towns with far fewer passengers, some at great speed! This growing trend will increase in the next few years as Cold Spring,
Newburgh, Nyack, Piermont,and Tarrytown begin to realize the potential for economic development from this situation. No additional parking, limited time that passengers will stay on shore, and short travel time to return to New York City all play into this opportunity. The booming tourism market in New York City is an opportunity to take advantage of this trend. Further, while the amusement parks of years gone by were developed to serve the Dayliners, the Rivertowns today will develop “events” to serve the same purpose. Octoberfest in Newburgh will be a good example of this on October 14th, 2012.
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