Tappan Zee Bridge History: View from the River

The Historical Society of Rockland County’s first of two day trips — “The Tappan Zee Experience: Past, Present and Future” — happens in 10 days.

800px-TappanZeeBridgeFromBelow“As we go along Rockland shore, we will narrate about Haverstraw and its history (Henry Hudson, Half-Moon, brick industry, landslide, 400 years old next year), Rockland Lake (and the ice industry), Hook Mountain and Nyack,” Board President Larry Singer explained.

Guests will learn about Westchester on the trip back to the marina. Returning guests will see the I Lift NY crane up close for the first time and the progress made since last year, including the floating concrete batch plants.

The Rockland County Sheriff’s Marine Unit will escort the tour, (which is) “another plus,” Singer said.

Local historian Bob Baird, former Journal News Rockland editor, will discuss the Tappan Zee Bridge’s past, the construction and all that entailed in 1955 on the June 10 trip (which is sold out), and project officials from Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) will talk about the about the New NY Bridge project. Officials from the Thruway Authority will cover the July 9 trip.

Genuine Mississippi-style paddle wheeler/© 2014 Hudson River Sightseeing Cruises Aboard The River Rose

Genuine Mississippi-style paddle wheeler/© 2014 Hudson River Sightseeing Cruises Aboard The River Rose

“The boat is leased out of Newburgh, and is open for charter during the week,” Singer said of the River Rose, whose owner, Captain John “Duke” Panzella, has been around boats throughout his lifetime. After careers in heavy construction, land development and a very successful water softener business, Panzella retired at 52 and headed to south Florida. “I bought a big yacht that I rented and chartered, and then operated,” he said. When he saw the River Rose, he said, “I knew it’s something very special. It was a dream.”

Manufactured in 1984, the River Rose is the last stern-wheeler built, Panzella learned from its prior owner. It’s rented for private parties, weddings, class reunions, sweet 16 parties, sightseeing cruises, dance party cruises and dinner and brunch cruises.

In 2013 and 2014, it was voted 1st Place, Readers Choice Award, Best River Cruise by the Times-Herald Record.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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