Yesterday I took a quick jaunt to a location I regularly frequent for photography.
Piermont, New York, is a small village along the Hudson River in the town of Orangetown. Like many small hamlets/villages along the River, it has a varied history and charm that makes it a day trip visit for many residents in the adjoining area. The village is situated in a unique location as it sits along a break in the 200' high natural formation left by the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age, known as the Palisades Cliffs that run along the western bank of the Hudson River for more than 18-20 miles. As a result, Piermont is one of the only waterfront villages along the western bank of the Hudson in the area. The Erie Railroad Company at one time had a station in Piermont and built a pier into the river (a long pier at that) to ship coal across the Hudson River. During World War 2 the same pier was used to embark troops to Europe from the nearby training facility, Camp Shanks.
Camp Shanks was constructed in less than a year and cost more than 44 million dollars to build between 1942-1943. It processed more than 1.3 million personnel and sent more troops to Europe than any other US camp. 75% of the D-Day troops were from Camp Shanks and it was known as "Last Stop USA." The camp was one of three in the metro NY area (Fort Hamilton and Camp Kilmer being the other two) to form the largest staging area in the world for troop deployment. Camp Shanks became a prisoner of war camp during WW2. After the war it was removed from service. Within 20 years (1966) the Erie Railroad lines that once traversed through the area were abandoned and removed as well.
Piermont was left with a name that harkened its past (Pier and Mont) and the vestiges of an interesting history. After WW2 and the removal of the Erie Rail lines, the Village was a sleepy shoreline hamlet left little attention. It became more popular after a large mixed use residential and commercial development was built at the foot of the pier along with a Village Square. Woody Allen filmed part of his film the Purple Rose of Cairo in Piermont in the 1980s and a hand drawn drawbridge spanning Sparkill Creek, one of the only of its kind in the US, was restored near one of the entry roads into the center of town.
Today, Piermont sports small boutique shops selling jewelry, clothing, small gifts, wine, restaurants, art and coffee. It is popular among local residents for recreational activities such as kayaking, boating, cycling, walks along an adjacent residential riverside complex, nearby Talman State Park hiking and, of course, the aforementioned pier which has been used as a park in which many exercise and fish along its banks. And for some reason...there appear to be colorful old pickup trucks in town.