As reported in the Newark Daily Adviser, Nereid Boat Club was established on May 15, 1866. Two years later, in 1868, the Nereid Boat Club of Newark was incorporated by an act of the state legislature of New Jersey.
Nereid had various homes along the Passaic River, first in Nutley, and later, in a boathouse located on the east bank of the river just south of the Erie Railroad Bridge. That house was renovated, floated across the river and located in Bellville at the foot of Mill Street. In 1962, an arson fire destroyed the premises. Nereid all but ceased to exist.
In the early 1990s, Erik King, a young rower whose father had been a club member in the Bellville days, came in contact with another older generation Nereid, Homer Zink. Homer had preserved Nereid’s original incorporation papers and title. With those documents in hand, Erik set out to breathe life into the defunct club.
Erik, with a lot of help from his wife Cheryl and a handful of other rowing enthusiasts, identified the current site of the club in Rutherford, a former boatyard on Riverside Avenue. At the time, the lot was occupied by the boatyard’s main building, a structure that had fallen into total disrepair. Through an agreement with the Borough of Rutherford, Nereid took over the site. With sweat equity and a few thousand dollars in private donations, the rowers gutted and renovated the decaying building. The revitalized club opened in 1994.
In 2012, Nereid undertook a major renovation and riverbank restoration project. Believed to be the first of its kind on the Passaic, the initiative centered on the replacement of a rotting, manmade bulkhead with a sloped shoreline replanted with native vegetation. Other improvements included the construction of a public park with a launch for canoes and kayaks, new dock facilities, a gravel parking area, landscaping, benches, and upgraded storm water management facilities with a bio-retention area for water quality.
Bob Martin, Commissioner of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, cut the ribbon on the new facilities on May 22, 2012. The project was made possible through the support of the Borough of Rutherford, along with financial contributions and implementation guidance from State Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program and the Department of Transportation’s I Boat NJ initiative. Early guidance and support was provided by the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Office of the National Park Service. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners provided tens of thousands of dollars of in-kind construction services. Nereid members made substantial financial and in-kind donations, including hundreds of hours of volunteer labor. In addition, the Lower Passaic Cooperating Parties, a group of 70 companies working toward a cleaner river, provided a grant.
Nereid Boat Club has recently been featured in AN AMERICAN RIVER, From Paradise to Superfund, Afloat on the Passaic, by Mary Bruno, 2012, DeWitt Press. Please click here to read more.