Central New Jersey Rail Road Terminal, Jersey City
Voilà, the gem of Liberty State Park!
The Central New Jersey Rail Road terminal (1889), also known as Communipaw Terminal is one of the most beautiful buildings of New York Harbor. Twenty tracks and four ferry slips provided the terminal with streams of cargo, supplies, passengers, workers. The palatial waiting room has a gabled ceiling three stories high and the most grand view of Upper Bay and the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines; it now houses Liberty State Park’s Visitor Center. Statue of Liberty ferries leave from the slips.
However, the treasure lies behind this elegantly proportioned and well-maintained edifice:
the old tracks are overrun by a jungle of native flora, Nature come to reclaim her domain. Twenty tracks of young trees, tall grasses and weeds flourish, the dark old steel structures are lost amid the riotous green, the sidewalk cracks are colored in by little grasses and sprouts. A beautiful light filters evenly through the open trestles. It is dramatic in full sun, and magical on grey days:
(if it weren’t foggy, you’d have seen lower manhattan when the camera turned west at 0:25, looking out the building)
Nature’s indefatigable force is inspiring. Nothing we make–with all our might!–is going to last. No better proof exists than in the photographs of shipbreaking captured by Edward Burtynsky and Andrew Bell. Or, in the quieter photographs our own Tugster, closer to home, in the Kill van Kull.
What will last? Nature. Of which we can still claim to be a part, despite all our efforts.
“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home…” Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild