How safe is the Hoboken waterfront?

City pays engineers millions to do what anyone can do for free

Around three years ago – we documented here on Hoboken411 that the area on Sinatra Drive between 14th & 15th was indeed cracking and was in need of repair. We provided photographic evidence.

What does “mayor” don Zimmer and her cronies at City Hall do? They pay some “connected” engineering company millions of YOUR property taxpayer dollars a year to come to the same exact conclusion ANYONE with two eyes could have done for free.

That’s why this area has been money under the table for Zimmer “under construction” for the past couple months. Dopes running the show.

That’s what you get when all you think about is park space and bike lanes instead of critical infrastructure. Oh, the city has to pay Maxwell Place $5 million bucks for their botched poop pump job uptown, too.

Tsk, tsk.

See updates below going back 7+ years!

“Splish-Crack I was taking a bath”

2/18/2014 Update:

Not sure about anyone else – but have you noticed the “crack” near 14th & Sinatra getting bigger? This area is to the north of the previous collapse zone by the old LUA. Just be careful around here! Especially with the ice melt / re-freeze. You never know what’s going on under that decrepit waterfront…

Maybe a high-profile rehabilitation project can come just in time for spring? It isn’t the Hoboken waterfront unless some politically-connected contractor is doing “repair work.”

Time to update those “Greetings from Hoboken” cards – and work in cranes, dump trucks, traffic cones, Mayor skiing in Catskills, etc.

14th Street Crack Hoboken NJ next waterfront collapse

Hoboken Waterfront Jeopardy

10/9/2013 Update:

As we told you two days ago, crews were on scene doing all sorts of work on the tattered Hoboken waterfront near 14th & Sinatra.

Here’s a photo from one angle.

Rotting Hoboken Waterfront 14th Street

Hoboken waterfront has appropriate theme music. Amazing!

Who would have thunk that we already had such perfect music to accompany the blaring jackhammers and industrial equipment?

I wonder how many people who chose the “waterfront living with NYC views” are now considering more serene country living. I doubt you’d complain about brisk fall breezes through the leaves and birds chirping. Then again, perhaps LOUD NOISES are trending higher on Twitter these days. Who knows.

Uptown Hoboken waterfront in imminent danger again?

10/7/2013 Update:

We’ve been saying all along, that the integrity of the waterfront uptown just doesn’t “feel” right. For those of us who pay attention and/or take frequent walks in the area, we notice when things seem out of place. Whether it’s cracks, sagging, gurgling water, and a myriad of other “symptoms” that might lead one to believe “something ain’t right,” and should be investigated.

According to sources, engineers will be on scene up near 14th & Sinatra this week drilling “pilot holes,” because apparently the entire decking is rotted through – and this whole region is at risk (be careful driving between 13th & 15th Streets!)

Meanwhile all we got from city hall last year was “Keep calm because all is fine!” Wonder if it collapses in the next few weeks, we can have a ribbon-cutting for that too? Not fair to leave “new openings” out of the fun, right?

Hoboken waterfront in danger of collapse again uptown

Pieces of Pier A Park in Hoboken sagging – reason to worry?

2/22/2013 Update:

Hoboken411 reader Gerard is a bit concerned about Pier A Park:

“Please take a look at the Northeast corner of Pier A Park. There are several “depressions” that are marked by traffic cones. It looks just like other places on the waterfront just before they crashed into the river.”

Gerard may be onto something. Other collapses in Hoboken were predicated in similar ways, especially Sinatra Drive a few years ago – when cracks were apparent.

However – it’s not always the case, as there have been depressions along the Sinatra Drive walkway between Newark and 4th for years, with no eventual collapse (yet.) Perhaps it’s just bad engineering, just in the same way some homes shift over time. And since they city was able to pull off the Hoboken Mumford & Sons concert on Pier A without a hitch, maybe we’re OK. Until, of course, we’re not OK anymore. Cross your fingers!

Hoboken Waterfront Pier A Park ready to collapse next

Are the cracks getting bigger near 14th St. in Hoboken?

11/14/2012 Update:

Several Hoboken411 readers sent in emails saying they noticed that the cracks in the roadway near 14th & Sinatra uptown seem to have gotten bigger after Hurricane Sandy.

Sure hope this isn’t a sign of worse things to come. That’d be the last thing we need – another waterfront collapse.

Not breaking news: Sinatra Drive has always been shoddy

9/13/2012 Update:

Back in August of 2010 – Hoboken411 provided ample warning that Sinatra Drive uptown looked like it was in shoddy condition, sagging and sinking. And just weeks later, it sunk into the river.

Now it has come to the surface that Hudson County engineers have been ignoring the warning signs provided by a company brought in last year. They said that the underlying damage was actually triple the size of what actually collapsed (all the way up to 15th Street!)

This means that the road you drive, walk and bike on may be close to collapsing once again.

As you can see from this photo published on Hoboken411 back on February 26, 2011 – I didn’t need an engineering company or fat government grants. I just needed my bare naked eyes to surmise “something ain’t right.”

How Safe is the uptown waterfront walkway in Hoboken NJ February 2011

Now – NJ’s unnecessary extra layer of state government (the Hudson County Freeholders) is voting to hire divers for yet another friggin “study!” This may take months – and will probably result in yet another rehabilitation project that will close this roadway.

Let’s skip the study and do this the right way. Blow Sinatra Drive up AND START OVER ALREADY!

What? Does it look like the Hoboken waterfront will collapse again?

7/3/2012 Update:

Several Hoboken411 readers sent in photos from a recent rain storm that showed some flaws near 14th Street uptown. All of them wondered if this walkway rehabilitation project was done in haste – and that people might get hurt this upcoming July 4th Fireworks Spectacular.

What do you think? Is doom imminent?

Another collapsing pier in Hoboken NJ

Uptown Hoboken walkway becomes semi-functional again!

4/20/2012 Update:

Good news! The uptown waterfront walkway is slowly coming together – with some parts re-opened recently – including the dog run.

Comprehensive work still ongoing at Hoboken’s uptown waterfront

2/16/2012 Update:

Here’s your monthly update to the repairs going on along the Hoboken waterfront uptown.

Remember, it was October of 2010 that this “collapse” took place – and despite the Mayor saying a “vital thoroughfare” in Hoboken was restored – it looks like substantial work still needs to be done.

I can’t wait until the day the ENTIRE Hoboken waterfront is fully operational from the north to south borders. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change of pace? (Kinda sad when “normal” is something to cheer and anticipate, but I digress…)

Hoboken Waterfront Update February 2012 v1
Hoboken Waterfront Update February 2012 v2

Hoboken waterfront walkway still closed; repairs continue…

1/10/2012 Update:

This “vital thoroughfare” uptown is still closed to pedestrians, and half the roadway is still blocked to traffic.

On the bright side, repairs are ongoing, and perhaps the waterfront and piers will be open again by spring time. I think we collectively dodged a pretty big bullet considering how ratty and unsafe this walkway was!

Hoboken uptown waterfront walkway construction progress

Uptown Hoboken waterfront walkway being dismantled & replaced

9/29/2011 Update:

Sinatra Drive was re-opened uptown last month, but we’re a long ways away from having a fully rehabilitated waterfront.

Construction crews have been carefully demolishing the areas around the original street collapse (between 13th & 14th) to re-build the walkway. Original estimates were that it would be complete by year’s end – but could take until early 2012.

Uptown Walkway repair hoboken NJ

It also looks like some work is taking place between 12th & 13th Streets – as the railings were recently removed. As you’ve seen in previous updates, this section looks like it’s sinking as well.

Rails removed from Hoboken NJ waterfront as repairs continue

Sinatra Drive repairs still ongoing; sidewalk to be completed last

9/12/2011 Update:

Hoboken411 has received quite a few inquiries from residents wondering why, despite the collapsed road being re-opened, that the rest of the area is still under “construction lockdown.”

Well – this project is a bit more complicated than it seems. For one, the County actually did a pretty good job getting the roadway done in less than a year, despite brutal weather conditions. And secondly, there are some “ownership” issues. The road and the adjacent sidewalks are the county’s responsibility – however, the waterfront walkway promenade is actually privately owned (Applied) – and is their responsibility.

Much of that walkway on the waterfront side is sagging and/or collapsing still. That will be demolished and new piles will be driven in. Once rehabilitation of that section is complete, the final sidewalks and curbs will be poured. The three trees that were lost in this debacle are set to be replaced, too.

Under ideal conditions, the whole project could be done as soon as December – but could drag on until Spring 2012.

Sinatra Drive Sinkhole Repairs Hoboken New Jersey

Whoa! Smooth, safe conditions on Sinatra Drive in Hoboken?

8/9/2011 Update:

Hoboken411 loves updates like this. No, not because the horrific street collapse that could have killed many if it happened at the wrong time is almost fully repaired – nope!

I just think the smell of fresh asphalt is something very special… And this scene near (the temporarily closed) LUA restaurant is two-ticks from blissful. Smooth pavement, no traffic, no pedestrians, a semi-peaceful sense if you ask me! But I know a few residents who miss the unique atmosphere at LUA that can’t be had elsewhere in town, and are anticipating the re-opening.

This whole debacle should be behind us soon – but don’t ever forget about it! The fact that it took nearly a year to rectify says a lot about how certain processes work in these parts…

Hoboken sinkhole almost fully repaired uptown at sinatra drive

Hoboken Street Collapse Progress

7/22/2011 Update:

Just a quick update to the Sinatra Drive Street Collapse situation uptown. Seems to be progressing OK, but some below street-level infrastructure work that still needs to be done. We’ll see if it re-opens in August or September.

Related: See the difference between a sinkhole and a street collapse.

Hoboken Sinkhole Sinatra Drive Collapse Progress Report July 22 2011

So what next for the uptown Hoboken waterfront?

A few brief updates to the crumbling uptown waterfront in Hoboken.

  1. For one, contractors have been saying the collapsed section of Sinatra Drive will be completed sometime in mid to late June. That’s a nice optimistic estimate, considering the Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Spectacular is back on the Hudson for 2011.
  2. However, as you can see in the gallery below – the area south of the collapsed section doesn’t look like it’s in good health. In fact – this past weekend, both sides of the fenced off area were open – allowing pedestrians and tourists to walk on this unkempt section of the walkway. Overgrown weeds, and sinking bricks didn’t give you a feeling of safety. Plus – deliveries to the Cornucopia Boat were taking place – including heavy trucks.

Who knows – if the truck didn’t collapse the pier – maybe it’s not so bad after all? But if I were in charge here in Hoboken, I wouldn’t sleep well allowing 10’s of thousands of July 4th onlookers onto this area.

Sinatra Drive repairs continue in Hoboken

Considering we just reached the 200 day anniversary from when Sinatra Drive collapsed into the Hudson River, I figured I’d post a quick update.

Hudson County has been managing this project and although no one was on scene yesterday (was holiday was it?), progress has been slow & steady. How much of the spring or summer will pass us by before it’s completed?

Hoboken Sinkhole Road Collapse Sinatra Drive 200 days later

Are more waterfront walkways in danger?

2/16/2011 Update:

After all the harsh weather we had this winter so far (including that massive blizzard back in December) – it seems as if a noticeable difference can be seen in the waterfront walkway north of the collapse that has now even closed the LUA Restaurant as well.

Recently, when mounds of snow were melting – certain parts of the path had more pronounced “dips,” leading one to wonder if the structural integrity underneath is sound. Then again, I’m not an engineering company with a city contract that is growing by the day (411 just called the previous collapse before it happened free of charge…)

How Safe is the uptown waterfront walkway in Hoboken NJ February 2011

1/22/2011 Update:

Working to fix Sinatra Drive in Hoboken

A brief status update here regarding the collapsed section of Sinatra Drive in front of LUA. Crews are filling up the hole, and shoring off the area. Hopefully once complete this spring/summer, it doesn’t leak back into the river and collapse again.

In place of a regular photo – I decided to display a short selection of “moving pictures” instead.

1/18/2011 Update: Boswell said that now Pier A is supposedly not so peachy keen because “the river bed sunk 8 feet.” Wait a minute – doesn’t that mean any and all waterfront walkways along the entire Hudson River need to be replaced? Go long on all engineering companies and contractors – that means limitless work for decades to come!

11/9/2010 Update:

Boswell inspecting Pier A

Boswell Engineering started “inspections” at Pier A Park today – a taxpayer funded exercise. A diver will physically inspect each of the 1,100 concrete & steel beams underneath the waterfront park. The project is expected to last three weeks, and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Oddly enough, while ensuring the safe conditions of Hoboken’s prime waterfront cannot be considered harmful – many residents I spoke with today wondering if this was just a political move. One downtown mom said “if Zimmer knew about the crumbling waterfront a year ago, why wasn’t anything done about it then? Before Sinatra Drive collapsed?” Another senior added “They already determined that Pier A was safe and in no danger, this is just a waste of time and money to cover one’s behind.”

11/4/2010 Update:

Hoboken waterfront lockdown

For those residents who notice more chain-link fences blocking off even more areas of Hoboken’s glorious waterfront…

Today, the area surrounding the Hudson Tea Building was cordoned off – as a “safety precaution” (as if the mini-collapse earlier this year wasn’t enough of a warning sign.) Additionally, an area near Pier A Park was also fenced off to accommodate further testing by divers.

Zimmer knew in 2009; reactive instead of proactive

Imagine if the Sinatra Drive North waterfront collapsed during the July 4th Fireworks along the Hudson earlier this year? It would have been catastrophic.

That risk went unmitigated because Mayor Dawn Zimmer ignored clear warnings given directly to her back in September 2009. Mayor Zimmer and several city employees took a tour of many waterfront locations uptown, including the Hudson Tea Building area and the eastern walkway near LUA.

She was told that the infrastructure had deteriorated – and was in danger of immediate collapse at any moment. Local newspaper Reporter Tim Carroll took part in this tour – and corroborated the occurrence of the meeting saying “I asked the mayor at the time whether the teredos could be eating away at those piers too and, to my recollection, she said she wasn’t sure who owned what in that area, but would find out. Now, over a year later, having avoided injury and possibly death in the large collapse, maybe we’ll get some answers.”

Zimmer vehemently denied ever seeing that area of the waterfront, saying the allegations of prior knowledge were “laughable,” and that she was only informed about the area near Castle Point.

Lucky for Zimmer, no one was injured in the Sinatra Drive North collapse, however, this incident shows that a lackluster reactive government shouldn’t be tolerated when public safety is concerned.

What ever happened to accountability?

Zimmer Pier Collapse circa 2009 Hoboken NJ

10/20/2010 Update #2:

Spring 2011 new target date for waterfront repair

$1.7 million project will completely replace failed timber relieving platform with concrete relieving platform built on concrete piles. Road will re-open in May.

Hudson County NJ SealThe Hudson County Division of Engineering released an action plan today to restore a collapsed of a section of the Sinatra Drive North roadway in Hoboken.

The plan calls for a total reconstruction of the section of roadway at 1300 Sinatra Drive North that fell in on the afternoon of Friday October 8th. A new concrete relieving platform resting on concrete marine piles will be constructed to support a new roadbed. This entirely new structure will replace the timber relieving platform that undergirded the road prior to the collapse. It will be completed by May 2011 at an approximate cost of $1.7 million.

The County’s action plan comes after a two-day, intensive review of site analysis provided by Langan Engineering of Elmwood Park, NJ, and visual inspection observations made by divers hired to look beneath the water where the sinkhole developed. Langan’s analysis included the drilling of subsurface borings, a review of relevant engineering documentation available about the site and surrounding environment and 3-D laser imaging of the collapsed roadway bed.

The County’s review concluded that the nearly century-old timber relieving platform supporting 15-20 feet of sand and soil and the Sinatra Drive Roadway near 14th Street had experienced catastrophic failure due to a combination of age, marine life infestation and load stress.

Langan will conduct continue its investigation as excavation and construction proceeds. Just north of the collapse is another timber relieving platform. It is newer than the collapsed portion but will be replaced as well unless further investigation proves that the newer platform whole and sound.

Constructed by the County along the Hudson River waterfront in 1997, Sinatra Drive North is a two-block section of road created as part of the effort to extend 14th Street in anticipation of new development in Northeastern Hoboken. It runs from 12th Street to the 14th Street Extension north of the ferry terminal. It is the only section of Sinatra Drive controlled by the County.

Shortly after the completion Sinatra Drive North, the Hoboken-based Applied Companies constructed The Shipyard, a residential/retail complex. Applied also constructed the section of Hudson River Waterfront Walkway alongside Sinatra Drive North. Sinatra Drive North runs between these two structures.

On October 8th, a 20×60 foot sinkhole in the road opened in front of the Lua Restaurant, located at 1300 Sinatra Drive North, requiring the closing of the road to vehicular and pedestrian traffic between 12 and 14th Streets.

Under a state of emergency declared last week, the County administration should be able to expedite the design and construction of the new concrete relieving platform structure and the roadway that will rest on it. Under normal project construction procedures, an effort like this would take approximately one year to complete according to officials from the Division of Engineering.

Selecting a design under the declaration of emergency is expected take approximately 30 days with construction estimated to take up to seven months. Expedited permitting approvals will be sought from the Hudson-Essex-Passaic Soil Conservation District, New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The County will seek grants and aid to pay for the work from state and federal sources, but will not wait to see how those requests fare before getting underway. Instead the administration expects to re-purpose funds from other, previously planned projects so that it can start the reconstruction process now.

“We are determined to see Sinatra Drive North restored as swiftly as possible,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “Our plan provides a safe, permanent solution to the problem. I want to thank the people of Hoboken for their cooperation and patience.”

“I am pleased that we have an good plan in place to fix Sinatra Drive North as soon as possible,” said Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano (District 5, Hoboken, Jersey City.) “We need to work as hard as we can to get this project completed and the road open for residents.”

10/20/2010 Update:

Your weekly Hoboken gaping hole update

Since a majority of the 50,000+ Hoboken residents haven’t seen this hole in person – another quick update for y’all.

Hudson County Engineers did some surveying of the damage recently – and will release their initial remediation plan shortly. As Hoboken411 predicted – they’re talking about extensive repairs that could involve a much larger area than the hole that’s currently visible. The current over/under is still 12/31/2010 – but that line may change soon (think: Spring or Summer 2011 and beyond).

Oh in case you’re wondering – LUA is open for business, and in no threat whatsoever. So if you want to catch DJ Hepcat’s debut tonight – by all means! No vinyl-spinners in Hoboken play his stuff!

10/15/2010 Update:

Hoboken Street Collapse update

A photo update for the uptown street collapse on Sinatra Drive. The cordoned off area has been expanded between 12th and 14th Streets. Hudson County Engineers are expected to have some more information next week about future action required.

Notice the 10-ton back-ho?

10/13/2010 Update:

Dangerous Hole now called State of Emergency

Today, Hudson County classified the Sinatra Drive street collapse as a State of Emergency, in order to expedite the repair process (i.e., hand out no-bid contracts quicker). Additionally, since 411 warned everyone of the potential nor’easter coming our way towards the end of the week – the city finally heeded the warning this time, and expanded the closed off area in anticipation of further crumbling of the shoddily constructed roadway. Best advice is to avoid the area via motor vehicle entirely and walk if necessary to visit the surrounding buildings.

Update: See exclusive detailed photos of the scene today in the gallery below. Note the additional cracking along the street.

10/12/2010 Update:

Hudson County Engineers on scene at Hoboken street collapse

A gaggle of Hudson County Engineers were on site at the Sinatra Drive street collapse this morning, discussing options for what steps to take next.

Also, several Hoboken411 readers were concerned about the crack in the road at 14th & Sinatra (photo #3 in gallery below) – in which city officials said “was there before the collapse.”

Just as a reminder – it was cracks in the sidewalk just like that which 411 warned everyone about months ago. I didn’t want to stand on that area much longer.

10/9/2010 Video:

Fox 5 News Video

Sinatra Drive Lockdown Uptown Hoboken

10/8/2010 Update:

The entire area around the street collapse on Sinatra Drive uptown is in “lockdown mode.” Chain-link fences, barricades and tons of cops and city employees (i.e., overtime and taxpayer dollars) working the scene. LUA is open, but you need to have a sequin dress on apparently to get past the “checkpoint.” They let me past, despite just wearing cargo shorts. Guess I got lucky. Oscar, not so much.

Current Vegas over/under for this being fully repaired is 12/31/2010 – but sources say it’ll be longer.. so take the over.

Collapsed Hoboken Street Update:

Applied Development said that a structural engineer has certified that the street collapse that occurred on a County road, and it had no impact to the structural integrity of any Shipyard building. Shipyard residents are assured that the building is safe.

Also – LUA is open for business as of 8pm tonight.

Hoboken411 Prediction accurate: Street Collapse Uptown

Nearly two months ago to the day – Hoboken411 brought the unsafe waterfront to everyone’s attention. Today, a huge chunk collapsed into the river.

Meanwhile City Hall hires six-figure paper pushers, while 411 provides helpful information with plenty of time to take action.

Thanks to Gwyneth, Matt, James, Jason, Craig and Nikki for the photos.

Is sinking normal? Should we be worried?


Hoboken411 warned City Officials months before the collapse. Did they do anything? Nope!

Cracked Shipyard Sidewalk Hoboken NJ

The Hoboken waterfront walkways are far from the “jewel” of the NJ Gold Coast. Battered and bruised like a chronic domestic violence victim, the (still un-repaired) collapsed piers and sidewalks make most residents shrug in dismay. We may have the Stevens portion of the “connecting walkway” well under construction, but who knows if the rest of the waterfront will be fixed anytime soon.

Looking at the bright side, Hoboken still has some very nice areas to soak in the skyline views and catch a breeze.

But how safe are they?

If you walk uptown north of Maxwell Place (the newest waterfront area) – the walkway seems to have “sunk” a bit over the past few years (especially across the street from LUA). Even that new concrete pier has cracks already.

Should our walkways be sinking like that? Aren’t they supposed to be designed to withstand minor shifts in the foundation? Or is another collapse imminent along the river?

cracked uptown waterfront walkway Hoboken nj 1

You may also like...

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Angry Bird
Angry Bird
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:41 am

Like the crack theme you have going on. And I’ll remember where I saw this road crack first after the next Sinatra Drive collapse.

Friday, February 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Way to go Dawn Zimmer…put two cones on it and call it good you degenerate!!!!

Go away with your big bug eyes!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 10:21 am


Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:54 pm

Come to think of it, I believe the mayor wants it to collapse again. This way she can get on TV, have another press conference and read a statement someone else wrote. This town is sick!

Reply to  camel2
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:07 am

camel2- you got her number earlier than most![quote comment=”217107″]Come to think of it, I believe the mayor wants it to collapse again. This way she can get on TV, have another press conference and read a statement someone else wrote. This town is sick![/quote]

Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:13 am

They should have taken on the waterfront project with full force to it’s completion rather than have numerous projects with NONE completed. It’s a vicious cycle with this crazed administration.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x