We are the Weehawken Rowers, also known as WeeRow. Our first row together was after a Weehawken town picnic in 1997(?). Lia Di Stefano had been an active member of Floating the Apple (FTA), our parent group, and was a coxswain and active boat builder with FTA. She skippered a gig from Pier 84 to the picnic. For the return trip she recruited Weehawkeners who had never rowed a gig before. Mark Gould and Jim Dette were among the four oarsmen.
From left to right: Mark, Jim, Lisa, Allison and Lia at the helm
photo courtesy of Don Betts of Floating the ApplePurpose
Mark and Jim continued rowing with FTA, gaining experience and finally became coxswains.
Our purpose is to have fun on the water. Our "official" aim is to restore, encourage and perpetuate safe, universal access onto the public waterways, reintroducing the public, especially young people, to the joys of rowing and sailing on our urban waterways, for us the Hudson River and New York Harbor. To unite us once again with its wonder, commerce and its great maritime heritage, it is also our purpose, to foster community boathouses and a pattern of hospitality between Weehawken and other boating communities.
Weehawken Rowing came into existence in September 2000, when a group of Weehawkeners rowed the Whitehall gig "IV", given to us by FTA, from Pier 84 to yet another Weehawken town picnic. After exhibiting the gig at the picnic we stored it at our first launch site in a green container provided to us by FTA. FTA also gave us the davit for hauling the gig in and out of the water.
In the spring of 2001 we announced and held a meeting of all those interested in rowing. Out of this evolved the email list, which was our only method of communication. The leadership devolved to Jim Dette because he had the experience and the time. We zeroed in on Wednesday rows by consensus. It seemed to work for the core rowers. Changing the night had little impact. Flexibility was and is the watchword.
Our second gig, "Taxi", was acquired when the Weehawken Historical Commission asked us to participate in the reenactment of the Hamilton Burr Duel on July 11, 2004, the two hundredth anniversary. We rowed the participants to the duel site and two of the rowers, Rich Sabogal and Frank Cervi, carried the mortally wounded Hamilton from the site. The whole show was telecast, live, to the nation via CSpan.
Hamilton/Burr Duel Re-enactment, July 11, 2004
Needed for a row are four rowers and a coxswain (cox). We have four coxswains at the moment: Lia Di Stefano, Jim Dette, Mark Gould, and Steven Graham. We do not staff the boathouse every evening and Saturday, and therefore can only operate on the present ad hoc basis. It has been very successful, nonetheless.
Word-of-mouth and email used to be our only method of communication and organizing rows. We now have this web site, thanks to the efforts of Steven Graham. The site is the repository of our history in Cruise Reports and photos.
We launch our gigs from a point on the Weehawken waterfront, just south of the OLD ferry terminal and north of Arthur's Landing.
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Our "boathouse" is a buff-colored shipping container in the parking lot at the base of the Pershing Road ramp.
Plans for the Township Park on the waterfront include a boathouse. As the park continues to become a reality we will monitor progress and continue to lobby for construction of a more proper boathouse. Until then the "boatbox" is home.
Come join us. We really have fun.