Great Conveniency, a Maritime History of the Passaic River, Hackensack River,
and Newark Bay describes the role that
riverine and coastal navigation played during the development of northern New
Jersey. Commencing in the early 1600s with the European exploration of the local
waterways, it relates how rivers facilitated early settlement and expanded the
highway network into the hinterlands. Landings developed at Acquackanonck
(Passaic), Bound Creek, New Bridge (New Milford), and Old Bridge (Oradell), and
the towns of Belleville, Hackensack, Little Ferry, and Paterson depended on
river traffic for commerce.
River proximity allowed British forces to raid the area during the American Revolution, and Americans used whaleboats and other local craft to retaliate. There is a detailed examination of nineteenth century cargoes such as bricks, coal, fertilizers, and lumber. The exports from the Meadowlands - cedar logs, hay, and wild game are also cited.
River craft used on the waterways are also part of the story, and locally built ships and boats, dugouts, canal boats, galleys, schooners, sloops, steamboats, periaugers, and tugboats are all explained, with numerous accompanying illustrations.
The changes that urbanization brought to the rivers and bays are investigated in sections devoted to the expansion of New York¿s harbor and the rise of Port Newark and Elizabethport. Other chapters explore how suburban growth created new opportunities for canoeing and yachting.
Carried to the present day, the book describing the efforts by the EPA and other environmental agencies, including river clean, landfill capping, and development of riverside parks.