GFP Year in Review: Top Beach & Boat Stories from 2018

Thank you for reading Greenwich Free Press, an independent hyper local news website start in February 2014.

This year as we looked behind the dashboard at our story stats and noticed many of the popular stories related to Town beaches and waterways.

This should come as no surprise given our location on Long Island Sound, yet most of these stories fall under the category of ‘You can’t make this stuff up.’

Thanks for reading!

What was left of the wreck of the Kevin B was removed from the north end of Great Captain's Island on March 21, 2018 contributed

What was left of the wreck of the Kevin B was removed from the north end of Great Captain’s Island on March 21, 2018 contributed

In 1954, the tug boat known as “Kevin B” sunk off the north end of Great Captain’s Island.

In March, the story of the removal of the tug boat “Kevin B” in March from the north end of Great Captain’s Island was read thousands of times.

Greenwich Harbormaster Ian MacMillan said time was right to remove the hazard to navigation because a giant crane was in Town to remove the crane that fell off the barge in Old Greenwich during a recent Nor’Easter.

At the end of the day, both the crane and engine block from the Kevin B went to a Staten Island scrapyard.

An anonymous donor footed the $19,000 bill.

“Now that the Kevin B engine block is gone, we have one less hazard to navigation in the waters of Greenwich,” MacMillan said, adding that this has been one of his highest priorities for many years.

After Decades Menacing Boaters, Remains of Tug Boat “Kevin B” Removed from Greenwich’s Waters

Showboat photographed Nov 30 as crane operators attempted unsuccessfully to lift the former amusement park ride onto a jumbo cargo ship. Photo: Leslie Yager2. DEMISE OF THE SHOWBOAT
In early December the fate of the iconic Mississippi river paddle boat “The Showboat” drew thousands of clicks.

The news was not good.

Long before the Showboat Inn became the Delamar, the vintage paddle wheeler known as the Mark Twain was a fixture in Greenwich Harbor, but its history dates back to 1960 when it was an attraction at “Freedomland,” a theme park in The Bronx that operated from 1960 to 1964 on the site currently occupied by Coop City.

Joe Keating purchased the Showboat from the defunct amusement park, and rechristened it The Mark Twain.

Later, when Keating liquidated his hotel, Billy Frenz bought the former amusement park ride and used it as a party venue in Port Chester harbor.

The end grew near when the Showboat was auctioned this summer. The winning bid was just $1,020.

At the end of November, the boat was towed out to a massive cargo ship outside Greenwich Harbor where crane operators attempted to hoist it and store it during a voyage to Korea where the winning bidder intended to use the Showboat for a restaurant.

But it was not to be.

For three days the water was too rough to lift the boat and it suffered extensive damage.  When the water was calm enough to lift the Showboat by crane, it began to buckle and the effort was put on hold. The Coast Guard demanded a plan, and would not allow the ship to move until one was approved.

Sadly, the paddle boat was towed to a scrap yard in New Haven.

Future of “The Showboat” Not Looking So Good

Showboat’s Final Destination: New Haven Scrapyard


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Another top story of 2018 was the long anticipated opening of the Greenwich Pool at Byram Park. After the June 28 ribbon cutting, guests lined up for a first chance to take a dip.

The pool project was launched back in 2011. Over the years, the Junior League of Greenwich ushered the project along, raising $2.5 million for the project.

The 6,000 sq ft pool, which is six times larger than the pool it replaced, is “zero entry,” which means it’s easy to enter, like walking into the water at the beach.

PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Greenwich Pool at Byram Park is Open with Its Breathtaking Setting, Stunning Vistas.

For many Town residents, the Island Beach Ferry is their boat, and the 100th anniversary of the Town’s ownership of Island Beach was celebrated in style on Saturday, Aug 25, 2018.

Hundreds of devotees of the 3.9-acre island made their way by ferry to gather around the flagpole where Tony Savino from WGCH shared the island’s history.

In 1911, a consortium of Greenwich businessmen opened a resort on the island that included an amusement park with a merry-go-round, shooting gallery, games, a dance hall and a restaurant.

Later, two families – the Lauders and the Greenways – bought the island and donated it to the Town for $1.00. It was donated in memory of George Lauder, Jr who died at just 37 during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Two Mead Point residents, Mrs. Wilks and Mrs. Campbell, donated money for a ferry to bring people to the island. The first, the Island Beach first sailed in 1920. In 1937 another boat, the Indian Harbor was purchased.

The rebuilding of the island after hurricanes, Nor’easters, and winter storms has included new bathrooms, sidewalks, trees planted, flowers and shrubs, and a new boardwalk. A lot of this work has been done thanks to Friends of Island Beach.

Today, despite the ravages of weather, the island retains the original merry-go-round pavilion, 1,000 feet of sandy beach and picnic facilities, and is a popular destination during warmer months.

Greenwich Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Island Beach in Style

Photo: Greenwich Police Dept Facebook

On October 29 a powerful storm resulted in tree damage, downed power lines and road closures. Rising tides and storm surge pushed water into low lying areas, exacerbating flooding.

The severe flooding resulted in the closure of several roads along the shore.

The Town closed down Greenwich Point entirely.

Readers contributed powerful photos of flooding along the shore, begging the question, “Is this the new climate normal?”

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Severe Flooding Closes Greenwich Point Park


In August Atlantic Marine assisted in removing a hazard from the Mianus River in Cos Cob.

According to Greenwich Harbor Master Ian MacMillan, an engine block had been an obstruction in the lower Mianus River below the railroad bridge (just SE of Cos Cob Park) for some time, causing a hazard to boaters and rowers alike.

The harbor master requested that the marine construction company, Atlantic Marine, remove the obstruction, which they did at no fee to the Town.

The actual hauling out of the obstruction took under an hour, but the project was long in the making.

Hazardous Engine Block Hauled from the Mianus River