A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lake Matawan and the Park Avenue Staircase

The young man who drowned in Lake Matawan in August 1928 entered the water at the end of Park Avenue, according to a transcription of the Matawan Journal article. If you're familiar with downtown Matawan, Park Avenue is the one-way street that passes between the Matawan-Aberdeen Library and the US Post Office between Broad and Main streets. It also runs both directions from Broad Street towards the lake.

I was curious how the drowning victim got down to the lake. He lived barely a block away, at 23 Park Avenue, which can be seen on the left side of the street as you approach the water. A formal concrete staircase at the dead end is hidden under a heavy canopy of trees. The steps no longer lead to lakeside as they might have nearly a hundred years ago. Silt accumulation has caused the water's edge to recede significantly over the years. Instead, solid land extends for an indeterminate distance from the bottom of the stairs; wander out too far and you're liable to get stuck in muck and mire. Tree branches block the view at the base.

The spot is probably best described as undeveloped park land. It is really only suited for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts to explore. With no lake view, there's not much of a draw for broad public access and I'm not sure what the prospects are for a change in that status. The one thing that could be changed, though: the area near the base of the stairs has become something of a dumping ground for neighbors' yard debris. Perhaps a no dumping sign could be posted if one does not already exist?


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