During an event nearly six years in the making, more than 1,000 motorcyclists from across the northeast and mid-Atlantic region processed across Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park on Saturday, August 24. SkyRide, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, officially kicked-off Walkway’s 10-year anniversary celebrations and raised funds to improve the accessibility of the world-renowned landmark to veterans, senior citizens, and those with mobility challenges.
“This was another amazing day on the Walkway,” said Elizabeth Waldstein, Executive Director, Walkway Over the Hudson. “Thanks to all of the participants, our partnership with New York State Parks, the assistance of local law enforcement agencies, our sponsors, and so many hard-working people in the community, we were able to raise significant funds to make our sweeping Hudson River views even more accessible to all.”
SkyRide proceeds will support Walkway’s efforts to add an electric tram to the bridge that can be used by visitors requiring assistance on, off, or across the span. Additionally, Walkway seeks to acquire more wheelchairs for daily visitor use, plus secure new transport options to enhance the accessibility of special events in the park.
An event honoring veterans and first responders, SkyRide was led by the Hudson Valley Red Knights, a motorcycle club comprised of current and retired firefighters in Dutchess and Ulster Counties. Wheels of Honor, a specially branded police car honoring those that gave their life in the line of duty, paced the first pack of riders and transported local Gold Star Mothers, parents of military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. In all, nearly 20 motorcycle clubs and community organizations took part in SkyRide. Z93, an iHeart Media of the Hudson Valley station, provided a live broadcast of the opening ceremony.
SkyRide also celebrated the Walkway’s important role in the safety and security of the Hudson Valley. Part of the state and federal funding that allowed the dream of the Walkway to become a reality was received because the span can be crossed by vehicles in the event of an emergency. The bridge was intentionally designed to be 26 feet wide to accommodate large emergency response vehicles like fire trucks.
“This historic event was the result of years of hard work and perseverance by area motorcyclists who came together with community leaders to launch something truly special,” said New York State Senator Sue Serino. “I am proud to see this long-held dream of so many here in our community become a reality.”
“After many years of planning, the Red Knights of Dutchess and Ulster Counties are so happy to have been leaders in the once-in-a-lifetime SkyRide,” said Rich Valentine, President of Red Knights Chapter 37. “We’re proud to have been able to mobilize to support the Walkway Over the Hudson in raising vital funds to enhance their veterans programming to reach more of our heroes than ever before, as well as make the Walkway more accessible to all.”
Immediately following SkyRide, participants headed to Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh where they enjoyed a post-ride celebration featuring free admission to tour Motorcyclepedia’s collection of bikes, food, local vendors, live music from Americana Oak Band, and raffles supporting Vet2Vet, an organization that empowers veterans to peer-counsel other veterans.
Walkway Over the Hudson will officially mark its 10th anniversary on October 3, 2019. On Friday, October 4, the Friends of the Walkway’s annual Starry Starry Night benefit will feature a look back at the park’s first decade and unveil the first fundraising priorities that will transform the Walkway experience during the next ten years. For more information, visit walkway.org/starrystarrynight.
October 5 and 6, 2019 has been officially designated Walktoberfest weekend and will feature a local product showcase and more just outside the Walkway’s gates at the Ulster Welcome Center Plaza. Additional 10-year anniversary events in 2020 will be announced at a later date.