Archive for the ‘Historical Society of Rockland County’ Tag

Schools were closed when the new bridge opened

The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge opened Dec. 1955/The Virtual Archives

Besides having a clear day for the Historical Society of Rockland County’s river tour last week, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with several people who are working on the new bridge.

They preferred I not mention their names. I agreed to respect their privacy and asked about their responsibilities and how they felt about working on the project and seeing it from this perspective.

One gentleman told me his father was an ironworker on the original Tappan Zee Bridge and said his son and grandsons are employed on the current project. “Four generations working on the bridge,” he smiled.

He lived in Piermont in 1955 and remembers walking across the new structure when it opened. “The governor drove across the bridge, and I didn’t have to go to school that day. Everybody was walking across the new bridge, and schools were closed.”

Detailed bridge update and photos are in this week’s Rockland County Times.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Gusty Winds, Snapping Cameras and Reminiscing

old and new bridgesDespite traffic on 9W north I arrived at the Haverstraw Marina with minutes to spare, and that’s no joke. As I walked to the line for boarding the River Rose I met a Pennsylvania native who’s called Rockland home for more than half a century, and her friend Pat Kennedy.

“I’d like to see it up-close and personal,” Kennedy said as we walked along the path to her first tour. The wind gusts kicked up, and she checked to make sure the hat tied under her chin was secure.

It was also Catherine Wolf’s first tour. “I grew up near the river and wanted to see the project,” she said, remembering when crews built the first Tappan Zee.

piers and cranesNo sooner had we learned about Henry Hudson and his ship, the Half Moon, the first time Haverstraw appeared on a map (1616) and other historic points than Sanders told us the weather ceased in-river work and project officials would stay safely on land.

We continued south to the project site.

“That’s very cool! Look at that,” one woman next to me said as we neared the towers. Because of the wind we — and other passengers — held onto the rail tightly.

“I came down every day to see the bridge being built,” Wolf recalled. “I was in high school and lived in Stony Point.”

crane and towersKaren Harris of Stony Point was eager to see the project and remembered watching the Tappan Zee’s construction. “We’d go up to Grassy Point and watch parts floating down the river,” she said.

While she’d taken the River Rose north to Poughkeepsie, Harris said it was her first time on the Tappan Zee tour. Accompanying her were her brother Thomas Welsh from Morristown, and sister in-law Beata Welsh and brother-in-law David Phillips, both from Chicago.

“We grew up on the river.” Beata Welsh said, “and our connection to the river is deeper than any place else.” We come every year,” Phillips said.

Days later Harris continued marveling about the tour. “I’ve told so many people they should try it. We had a wonderful time.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Today: Getting a Close Look at the Bridge Project

old and newWhile wind made the Hudson misbehave — making it too dangerous for project officials to board the River Rose amid choppy waves — we had a rare as-close-as-you-can-get opportunity to see the bridge project while the stern-wheeler traveled through the main span channel and back.

Today. Was. Amazing. Big thank-you to the Historical Society of Rockland County for an educational and fun tour on a less-than-kind river, to project officials and to the River Rose staff. Whoosh! Those towers are big!

workers on main span towers - close-upAs we neared the construction area one woman pointed to a TZC boat that was moving about in the water. The Hudson River was active today for sure.

I met people from Chicago, New Jersey, West Nyack and beyond. Because of the weather project officials decided to cease in-river work.

After the boat turned around on the bridge’s south side and began heading north I noticed some workers on one of the main span crossbeams. It looked like they were reaching for a part that was being lowered, and I thought, “What a great photo op!”

main span towersIt was so cool to see the project from the river, to see the towers and blue jump forms I sneak peeks at while driving, to wonder what they look like up close.

As I’d missed the boat tour during National Safety Week, when the bridge builder received praise for its safety record and practices, this was exciting for me. Can you tell?

Stay tuned for more about the day and, of course, photos.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Tappan Zee Experience, Historical Tour Tomorrow

I’m looking forward to the Historical Society of Rockland County’s popular and sold-out tour, The Tappan Zee Experience: Past, Present and Future,” tomorrow.

Guests will again board the stern-wheeler River Rose for a day of fun and learning about Westchester’s and Rockland’s history.

main span

Here’s a photo I snapped of the main span last June during a similar tour. The photo below next to new towers is courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority.

main span - NYSTA photo

It’s been more than one year since I was on the river and can’t wait to see how the project progressed since the super crane’s first assignment last April.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Getting Ready for a Historic Ride on the River

In a few hours the Historical Society of Rockland County’s first of two trips exploring Tappan Zee Bridge history on the River Rose begins.

Captain John “Duke” Panzella’s father joined the Navy in 1941 and had duty aboard the USS Battleship Missouri. During his early childhood, his mother told him about his father serving on the battleship — and that’s where Panzella inherited his love for all things nautical.

Captain John

Captain John “Duke” Panzella lives his dream/© 2014 Hudson River Sightseeing Cruises Aboard The River Rose

At age 7, he bought his first boat “for $7, a row boat,” he said, chuckling at the memory. Now 71, Panzella said he feels 42, restores boats as a hobby, and is living his dream of owning a party boat.

“I love being on the water, and being on this boat is special,” he said. “The Hudson River has a peace to it that soothes my soul.”

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.”

Fourteen years later, Panzella said, “it’s a pleasure to own (this former gambling boat) boat that came from New Orleans.”


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.

The River Rose particulars:

• Burns 50 gallons of fuel per hour between two engines
• 100 feet long and 28 feet wide
• Capacity for 150 guests, and an additional 25 caterers, musicians and crew
• She is the smoothest riding boat on the Hudson River!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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