UPDATED: October 7, 2015
We here at hMAG first ran this article as an April Fool’s piece back in 2011—right after Governor Christie shot down the ARC project, which would have made a significant impact in trans-Hudson commutes between New York and New Jersey.
In December, when our beloved Governor announced that he was considering the elimination of late-night PATH Train service, we were wondering if maybe “The SHZL” was simply a good idea that was ahead of its time…
Now Jersey City wants a pedestrian bridge??? Whatever…
Once again, submitted for your approval—The SHZL:
April 1, 2011—(HOBOKEN, NJ) In the wake of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s scrapping of the proposed Trans-Hudson Passenger Rail Tunnel, a.k.a. the ARC project, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, along with the city’s Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs, proudly announced the development of a bold new initiative in mass transit.
The Span-Hudson Zip-Line, or “The SHZL,” is an ambitious new project that will allow commuters to simply traverse the Hudson River by means of a dedicated pulley and cable system.
“Gravity is beyond a renewable resource,” says Mayor Zimmer, “it’s practically in infinite supply. So why not use it to our advantage by harnessing the greenest of the green energy resources to alleviate the considerable carbon footprint left by so many of our citizens’ daily New York-to-New Jersey commute?”
Hoboken has long been the railhead for countless New Jersey Transit commuters who currently utilize bus service, ferries, or the underground PATH train to complete their journey into Manhattan. The SHZL will serve as yet another alternative, albeit a rather unique one—reserved for only the most intrepid of commuters.
“When Governor Christie announced the stoppage of the ARC project, we realized it was an opportunity for Hoboken to step up and answer the call for a cost-effective, alternative means of transportation for our fellow Garden Staters,” says Director Sacs. “We considered the cable car option, but decided that was too ‘Roosevelt Island’—we wanted something that represented the hip, contemporary nature of Hoboken. After maritime authorities shot down our kayak tow-rope proposal, we came up with ‘The SHZL.’”
The SHZL will consist of a steel cable running across the Hudson River. On the cable will be a number of pulleys to safely and effectively accommodate the optimum amount of commuters hoping to “take a zip” across the river at any one time. The zip-line itself will run from a high platform on one side of the river to a slightly lower one on the other. Specific sites for the platforms are yet to be determined, as there is a need to negotiate a rather stringent area of clearance between the tallest of sailing vessels and the lowest of aircraft flight altitudes, finding a tight sliver within an already congested airspace for the SHZL to occupy. Proposed locations include the Chelsea Piers driving range on the Manhattan side and the top of the Lackawanna clocktower on the Hoboken side—though some reports indicate a potential marketing tie-in on behalf of Hoboken’s branch of the W Hotel.
While harnesses will be provided, more consistent customers may want to invest in their own personal rigs—considering the intimate nature of the “Swiss Seat” harness design.
Addressing potential safety concerns, Director Sacs says, “Zip-lines have been used by cultures throughout the millennia as a safe and effective way to overcome a variety of natural obstacles. In fact, people in Costa Rica and rural China continue to use zip-lines to this day, so why should they have all the fun?”
Cindy Thetek, 24, a Hoboken resident who frequently commutes to her father’s plastic surgery practice in Midtown Manhattan where she works part-time as a receptionist, says, “Oh my God, that’s awesome! I totally did the zip-line at Hunter Mountain and it rocked—this will be way cool.”
Costing Practically Zip
Since the SHZL is essentially little more than two metal wires—one running to and the other from New Jersey—the cost for the project is expected to come in considerably below the $8.7 billion slated for the now-defunct ARC project. Meanwhile, once operational, The SHZL will bring as many as two jobs to the New York/New Jersey Area—one guy on the New York side, and one guy on the New Jersey side.
Construction on The SHZL is slated to begin immediately. “We’re working with some of the finest contractors New Jersey,” says Mayor Zimmer, indicating that the project will certainly get underway, then run into some union difficulties, go hopelessly over budget and likely never, ever come to completion. When asked about the contractors who are continually working on Hoboken’s continually crumbling Waterfront, Mayor Zimmer says, “No, not them—I never hired them in the first place. (Former Hoboken Mayor) Roberts did.”
Should the SHZL ever actually come to fruition, the list of tentative first passengers includes former Peter Pan/Wheat Thins spokesperson Sandy Duncan, and actor Christopher Tierney, best-known as that poor guy from that Spiderman play who fell and hit his head.