Furgary Boat Club, Hudson NY
Furgary Boat Club Series:
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Hudson River backwater shacks and boat slips. A private spot handed down through generations. It's a little like going back in time there. The city has a lovely boat launch and club on the other side of town but this one is right behind the waste-water treatment facility on the "bad side" of town. This is a very old city with a history as a whaling town in spite of being quite far up river so this spot could go back quite a long time.
The Hudson River, once horribly polluted, has come a long way due to the efforts of environmental and conservation organizations such as Pete Seeger's Clearwater Org. Please visit them at http://www.clearwater.org/There is new troule brewing at the boat club:
here is the article from the Register Star Newspaper:
By Jamie Larson

Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

The Hudson Common Council recently approved a plan to give land the city owns beneath the Hudson River to the state of New York in exchange for a parcel on the city’s swampy North Bay containing the waste water treatment plant (WWTP). The transaction is a necessary step before the city can build the new $9 million WWTP, which has received $4.4 million in federal stimulus funding.

This transaction has raised concerns among members of an eccentric boat club of questionable legitimacy, located on the bay within the 14.49 acre property soon to be acquired by the city.

The Furgary Boat Club has sat unregistered, untaxed, and undisturbed, at the end of Front Street, in the north bay for 100 years or more, some say. The commotion about the property has “members” worrying the city could soon challenge their claim to the land, their makeshift cabins, and their family heritage.

“Hell yes we’re worried,” said a Fugarian who asked to remain nameless, standing on the waters edge next to his cabin. “We’re worried we’re going to lose it all.”

The man said his cabin had been passed down through his family and he’s had claim to it for around 30 years. He pointed to a pile of boards leaned up against his ramshackle structure, said they were for building a new deck but he isn’t about to start anytime soon if the city is going to take their land away.

At best the history of the Furgary Boat Club is vague and unverifiable. It was started as a simple conglomeration of shacks and boat slips for fisherman and hunters to camp and party, and remains in essentially the same condition today. The only way to acquire a shack is to have it handed down by a relative. There are rumored to be symbolic deeds to prove “ownership” of the lots within the club.

“A few of us maintain the place,” said Steve Brenner, caretaker of the Furgary's clubhouse bar. “Everybody helps out from cabin to cabin.”

Members say they even clean out the bay when there’s overflow of garbage from the Waste Water Treatment Plant during heavy rain. An overflow pipe from the plant empties into the Furgary's port. There is no running water or pluming in the Furgary but there is metered electricity and satellite television, all of which they claim to pay for.

One thing is known for sure about the club, members do not own their land or pay taxes. The property was believed city-owned, or possibly by the railroad company, but earlier this summer, as part of an ongoing title search of the Hudson waterfront, the Columbia Land Conservancy discovered the property is state-owned and in the same parcel as the WWTP.

The city will soon swap 9.04 acres of underwater real-estate for the area containing Furgary and members worry that it’s only a matter of time before the city Common Council votes to turn their squatter’s paradise into a park, or decides the plant needs to knock their cabins down to run new pipe into the bay.

The Furgary situation was discussed over the years as the City’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) Committee outlined a future for the waterfront, but due to the Furgary's undesirable location and established and complicated presence, the issue was pushed aside.

The group Friends of Hudson responded negatively to the LWRP’s lack of attention to the Furgary. “The LWRP Steering Committee should not have shied away from confronting this complicated and delicate issue,” the group wrote said in a statement. “The LWRP should have included the Furgary issue... and dealt with it as an underutilized asset and opportunity. The Draft LWRP should recommend a strategy to be undertaken by the city that could free this valuable resource for public access, honor the historical use by the Furgary and perhaps create a potential revenue stream for the city and the Furgary.”

Friends of Hudson did not give any advice on how to honor the Furgary's history while making it accessible to others. The anonymous Fugarian, who spoke with the Register-Star Thursday, said he believed that the club has historical significance and believes it should be protected as a Hudson landmark. “Of course it’s historic,” he said. “It has been around as long as probably anything else here. We have a right to be here.”

Others are more skeptical about the clubs significance given it’s somewhat shabby appearance and unofficial status. Historian Patricia Fenoff said she really didn’t know anything about the history of the Furgary Boat Club. “Historically I don’t see how it’s important,” she said.

While club members may be worried about the future of their slice of the river, officials have said nothing publicly about any change in policy towards the club as a result of the upcoming land swap. “There’s never any trouble down there,” Mayor Richard Scalera said. “My position is clear. Nobody bothers them unless some one has interest in buying the land. I don’t look at that land as valuable to anyone, except them.”

Furgarians said they trust the mayor’s word, there’s even an “Elect Scalera” bumper sticker on one cabin door, but they do not have the same faith in the common council. “Everybody wants to turn the Denny’s into a Ritz Carlton,” one man said. “We like Denny’s.”
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