High Hopes

Thursday evening we made our first reading beyond the long reach of the Port Authority’s jurisdiction, in Poughkeepsie, where we did enthusiastically tout the bi-state agency’s role in securing Hoboken’s Pier 1 for use by creators of the great movie. Just prior to the talk I’d nearly caught a glimpse of Hoboken’s palisades—it surely seemed possible–from an astounding vantage high atop the majestic Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, rechristened in October 2009 as the Walkway Over the Hudson Historic State Park. A most generous and multi-talented friend and kindred walker/historian, Prof. Laura Murphy of Dutchess Community College, shared the walk and made the talk possible.

Walkway Over the Hudson Historic State Park

But for the price tag on demolition the railroad bridge might have been knocked into the Hudson in the 1980s, while down the river in Jersey City the palatial Loew’s Jersey theatre was spared its date with the wrecking ball by relentless volunteer preservationists led by Colin Egan, who restored the Loew’s grandeur to a fashion most lovely. Colin kindly invited me to share the Loew’s venerable stage (once graced by Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby et many als) last Saturday night with film historian Charles Stanton, for a post-screening discussion of a notable movie boasting Hudson County waterfront connections.

I later enjoyed a ride home with a librarian from a local college and her husband, who works with kids like Charlie; knows Charlie in fact. And he knows movies like nobody’s business. We know but one film truly intimately, and the gift of sharing On the Waterfront stories is a gift from Charlie–in all his joys and struggles—and of Kristina and her daily lessons in love and loyalty.


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