There are few charters we go out on where somebody doesn’t ask what that sunken, concrete barge is on the way out to Al Vento.
There are two primary questions: why is there one sunken off Nyack’s Memorial Park, and why would anybody build a concrete barge in the first place?
Katie Karkheck wrote a good article on the barge in Nyack News and Views.
Addressing the first issue, why is this concrete barge located where it is, a hundred yards off Memorial Park? It was Nyack Mayor John Kilby that planned to extend the park to include an off-shore restaurant. But for some unknown reason, whomever executed the sinking of the barge, placed it way too far away from the shore. It was not feasible to build a bridge to span the distance from the shore, so nothing was done and the barge stayed there, to this day, as a sunken barge off on its own. It’s hard to imagine making a mistake like that, but I haven’t found any explanation about why it was scuttled in the wrong location.
A sunken, concrete barge does make for a good foundation for a structure, but why was it made in the first place? It was built during World War I, when steel and wood were in short supply due to the war efforts, so it was an experiment to try new materials. It was one of about 20 barges designed to be used on the Erie Canal, and measured 150′ long and 21 feet wide. There is a reason we don’t see concrete ships in general. It is buoyant, but is is much heavier than steel and does not hold up under constant use and salt water.