|States||New York, New Jersey|
|- left||Boreas River, Schroon River, Batten Kill, Hoosic River, Kinderhook Creek, Roeliff Jansen Kill, Wappinger Creek, Croton River|
|- right||Cedar River, Indian River, Sacandaga River, Mohawk River, Normans Kill, Catskill Creek, Esopus Creek, Rondout Creek/Wallkill River|
|City||See Populated places on the Hudson River|
|Source||Near or at Lake Tear of the Clouds or near or at Henderson Lake
|- location||Adirondack Mountains, New York, United States|
|- elevation||4,590 ft (1,399 m)|
|- coordinates||"Mount Marcy, NY" 1:25,000 quadrangle, USGS|
|Mouth||Upper New York Bay|
|- location||Jersey City, New Jersey and Lower Manhattan, New York, United States|
|- elevation||0 ft (0 m)|
|Length||315 mi (507 km)|
|Basin||14,000 sq mi (36,260 km2)|
|Discharge||for Lower New York Bay, max and min at Green Island|
|- average||21,900 cu ft/s (620 m3/s) |
|- max||215,000 cu ft/s (6,088 m3/s)|
|- min||882 cu ft/s (25 m3/s)|
|Discharge elsewhere (average)|
|- Troy||15,000 cu ft/s (425 m3/s)|
The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) river that flows from north to south primarily through eastern New York in the United States. The river originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, flows through the Hudson Valley, and eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean, between New York City and Jersey City. The river serves as a political boundary between the states of New Jersey and New York, and further north between New York counties. The lower half of the river is a tidal estuary occupying the Hudson Fjord, which formed during the most recent period of North American glaciation, estimated at 26,000 to 13,300 years ago. Tidal waters influence the Hudson's flow from as far north as Troy.
The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609, and after whom Canada's Hudson Bay is also named. It had previously been observed by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailing for King Francis I of France in 1524, as he became the first European known to have entered the Upper New York Bay, but he considered the river to be an estuary. The Dutch called the river the North River – with the Delaware River called the South River – and it formed the spine of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement of the colony clustered around the Hudson, and its strategic importance as the gateway to the American interior led to years of competition between the English and the Dutch over control of the river and colony.
During the eighteenth century, the river valley and its inhabitants were the subject and inspiration of Washington Irving, the first internationally acclaimed American author. In the nineteenth century, the area inspired the Hudson River School of landscape painting, an American pastoral style, as well as the concepts of environmentalism and wilderness. The Hudson was also the eastern outlet for the Erie Canal, which, when completed in 1825, became an important transportation artery for the early-19th-century United States.
The source of the Hudson River is Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Park at an altitude of 4,322 feet (1,317 m). The river is not cartographically called the Hudson River until miles downstream. The river is named Feldspar Brook until its confluence with Calamity Brook, and then is named Calamity Brook until the river reaches Indian Pass Brook, flowing south from the outlet of Henderson Lake. From that point on, the stream is cartographically known as the Hudson River.
Although numerous sources show the river originating directly at Henderson Lake, per the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the river cartographically begins at the confluence of Indian Pass Brook and Calamity Brook near the outlet of Henderson Lake in Newcomb, in the Adirondack Park.
The longest source of the Hudson River as shown on the most detailed USGS maps is the "Opalescent River" on the west slopes of Little Marcy Mountain, originating two miles north of Lake Tear of the Clouds, and a mile longer than "Feldspar Brook", which flows out of that lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Popular culture and convention, however, more often cite the photogenic Lake Tear of the Clouds as the source.
Upper Hudson River
South of the confluence of Indian Pass Brook and Calamity Brook, the Hudson River flows south into Sanford Lake. South of the outlet of the lake, the Opalescent River flows into the Hudson. The Hudson then flows south, taking in Beaver Brook and the outlet of Lake Harris. After its confluence with the Indian River, the Hudson forms the boundary between Essex and Hamilton counties. In the hamlet of North River, the Hudson flows entirely in Warren County and takes in the Schroon River. Further south, the river forms the boundary between Warren and Saratoga Counties. The river then takes in the Sacandaga River from the Great Sacandaga Lake. Shortly thereafter, the river leaves the Adirondack Park, flows under Interstate 87, and through Glens Falls, just south of Lake George although receiving no streamflow from the lake. It next goes through Hudson Falls. At this point the river forms the boundary between Washington and Saratoga Counties. At this point the river has an altitude of 200 feet. Just south in Fort Edward, the river reaches its confluence with the Champlain Canal, which historically provided boat traffic between New York City and Montreal and the rest of Eastern Canada via the Hudson, Lake Champlain and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Further south the Hudson takes in water from the Batten Kill River and Fish Creek near Schuylerville. The river then forms the boundary between Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. The river then enters the heart of the Capital District. It takes in water from the Hoosic River, which extends into Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter the river has its confluence with the Mohawk River, the largest tributary of the Hudson River, in Waterford. Shortly thereafter, the river reaches the Federal Dam in Troy, marking an impoundment of the river. At an elevation of 2 feet (0.61 m), the bottom of the dam marks the beginning of the tidal influence in the Hudson as well as the beginning of the lower Hudson River.
Lower Hudson River
South of the Federal Dam, the Hudson River begins to widen considerably. The river enters the Hudson Valley, flowing along the west bank of Albany and the east bank of Rensselaer. Interstate 90 crosses the Hudson into Albany at this point in the river. The Hudson then leaves the Capital District, forming the boundary between Greene and Columbia Counties. The river then meets its confluence with Schodack Creek, widening considerably at this point. After flowing by Hudson, the river then forms the boundary between Ulster and Columbia Counties and Ulster and Dutchess Counties, flowing by Germantown and Kingston. The Delaware and Hudson Canal meets the river at this point. The river then flows by Hyde Park, former residence of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The river then flows alongside the city of Poughkeepsie, flowing under the Mid-Hudson Bridge. Afterwards, the Hudson flows by Wappingers Falls and takes in Wappinger Creek. The river then forms the boundary between Orange and Dutchess Counties. The river flows between Newburgh and Beacon and under the Newburgh Beacon Bridge taking in the Fishkill Creek. Shortly thereafter, the river enters the Hudson Highlands between Putnam and Orange Counties, flowing between mountains such as Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Ridge, and Bear Mountain. The river narrows considerably here before flowing under the Bear Mountain Bridge, which spans Westchester and Rockland Counties.
Afterward leaving the Hudson Highlands, the river enters Haverstraw Bay, the widest point of the river at 3.5 miles (5.6 km) wide. Shortly thereafter, the river forms the Tappan Zee and flows under the Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries the New York State Thruway between Tarrytown and Nyack in Westchester and Rockland Counties respectively. South of the Tappan Zee Bridge, the west bank of the Hudson becomes Bergen and Hudson Counties of New Jersey, and further south the east bank of the river becomes Yonkers and then the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City. The Palisades, large, rocky cliffs along the west bank of the river, begin along the west bank of the river opposite the Bronx. South of the confluence of the Hudson and Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the east bank of the river becomes Manhattan. Known as the North River at this point, the George Washington Bridge crosses the river between Fort Lee and the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel also cross under the river between Manhattan and New Jersey. South of Battery Park, the East River meets the Hudson River and forms Upper New York Bay, also known as New York Harbor. Now in the harbor, sea-going boats can travel through The Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island, under the Verrazano Bridge, and into Lower New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The lower Hudson is actually a tidal estuary, with tidal influence extending as far as the Federal Dam in Troy. Strong tides make parts of New York Harbor difficult and dangerous to navigate. During the winter, ice floes drift south or north, depending upon the tides. The Mahican name of the river represents its partially estuarine nature: muh-he-kun-ne-tuk means "the river that flows both ways." The Hudson is often mistaken for one of the largest rivers in the United States, but it is an estuary throughout most of its length below Troy and thus only a small fraction of fresh water, about 15,000 cubic feet (425 m³) per second, is present. The mean fresh water discharge at the river's mouth in New York is approximately 21,400 cubic feet (606 m³) per second. The Hudson and its tributaries, notably the Mohawk River, drain a large area. Parts of the Hudson River form coves, such as Weehawken Cove in Hoboken and Weehawken in New Jersey.
Notable landmarks on the Hudson include the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, the Thayer Hotel at West Point, Bannerman's Castle, the Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line (formerly part of the New York Central Railroad system), The Palisades, Hudson River Islands State Park, Hudson Highlands State Park, Walkway over the Hudson, Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Fort Tryon Park with The Cloisters, and Liberty State Park. Colleges and universities include Stevens Institute of Technology, the United States Military Academy, Marist College, The Culinary Institute of America, and Bard College.
A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch on the east bank of the Hudson has been designated the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. The Hudson River was designated as an American Heritage River in 1997. The Hudson River estuary system is part of The National Estuarine Research Reserve System as the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The river was called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, the "Great Mohegan", by the Iroquois, and it was known as Muhheakantuck ("river that flows two ways") by the Lenape tribe who formerly inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river – all of present-day New Jersey and the island of Manhattan.
The first known European name for the river was the Rio San Antonio as named by the Portuguese explorer in Spain's employ, Esteban Gomez, who explored the Mid-Atlantic coast in 1525.
An other early name for the Hudson used by the Dutch was Rio de Montaigne. Later, they generally termed it the Noortrivier, or "North River", the Delaware River being known as the Zuidrivier, or "South River". Other occasional names for the Hudson included: Manhattes rieviere "Manhattan River", Groote Rivier "Great River", and de grootte Mouritse reviere, or "the Great Mouritse River" (Mouritse is a Dutch surname). The translated name North River was used in the New York metropolitan area up until the early 1900s, with limited use continuing into the present-day. The term persists in radio communication among commercial shipping traffic, especially below the Tappan Zee. The term also continues to be used in names of facilities in the river's southern portion, such as the North River piers, North River Tunnels, and the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2015)|
In 1497, Jean and Sebastian Cabot, sailing for England sailed along the coast and claimed the entire country for England.
In 1524, Jean de Verrazzano, a Florentine, in the service of Francis I, King of France, visited the bay of New York.
In 1525, Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain in search of the Northwest Passage visited New York Bay. The extent of his explorations in the bay is unknown. Yet as Charles H. Winfield has noted, as late as 1679, there was a tradition among the Indians that the Spanish arrived before the Dutch, and that from them it was that the natives obtained the maize or Spanish wheat. Maps of that era based on Gomez's map labeled the coast from New Jersey to Rhode Island, as the "land of Estevan Gomez".
In 1598 some Dutch employed by the Greenland Company wintered in the Bay.
In 1609, the Dutch East India Company had financed English navigator Henry Hudson to search for the Northwest Passage. In an attempt to find this undiscovered route, Henry Hudson decided to sail his ship up the river that would later be named after him. As he continued up the river, its width expanded, into Haverstraw Bay, leading him to believe he had successfully reached the Northwest Passage. He docked his ship on the western shore of Haverstraw Bay and claimed the territory as the first Dutch settlement in North America. He also proceeded upstream as far as present-day Troy before concluding that no such strait existed there.
On March 10, 1648, navigation of the river was banned without a license. In 1780, British spy John André landed at Snedeker's Landing (a.k.a. Waldberg Landing) on the west shore of Haverstraw Bay in the woods below the village of Haverstraw to meet Benedict Arnold. In 1823, Troy's dam and lock were completed; its sloop lock was rebuilt in 1854.
On September 14, 1901, then-US Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was at Lake Tear of the Clouds after returning from a hike to the Mount Marcy summit when he received a message informing him that President William McKinley, who had been shot two weeks earlier but was expected to survive, had taken a turn for the worse. Roosevelt hiked down the mountain to the closest stage station at Long Lake, New York. He then took a 40 miles (64 km) midnight stage coach ride through the Adirondacks to the Adirondack Railway station at North Creek, where he discovered that McKinley had died. Roosevelt took the train to Buffalo, New York, where he was officially sworn in as President. The 40-mile route is now designated the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2015)|
In 2004, Christopher Swain became the first person to swim the entire length of the Hudson River.
On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency ditching onto the Hudson River beside lower Manhattan. The flight was a domestic commercial passenger flight with 150 passengers and 5 crew members traveling from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte. After striking a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out, the airplane lost engine power and ditched in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan with no loss of human life. All 155 occupants safely evacuated the airliner, and were quickly rescued by nearby ferries and other watercraft. The airplane was still virtually intact though partially submerged and slowly sinking. The entire crew of Flight 1549 was later awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. It was described by NTSB board member Kitty Higgins as "the most successful ditching in aviation history."
The Hudson is sometimes called, in geological terms, a drowned river. The rising sea levels after the retreat of the Wisconsin glaciation, the most recent ice age, have resulted in a marine incursion that drowned the coastal plain and brought salt water well above the mouth of the river. The deeply eroded old riverbed beyond the current shoreline, Hudson Canyon, is a rich fishing area. The former riverbed is clearly delineated beneath the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, extending to the edge of the continental shelf.
The Narrows were most likely formed about 6,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Previously, Staten Island and Long Island were connected, preventing the Hudson River from terminating via The Narrows. At that time, the Hudson River emptied into the Atlantic Ocean through a more westerly course through parts of present-day northern New Jersey, along the eastern side of the Watchung Mountains to Bound Brook, New Jersey and then on into the Atlantic Ocean via Raritan Bay. A buildup of water in the Upper New York Bay eventually allowed the Hudson River to break through previous land mass that was connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn to form The Narrows as it exists today. This allowed the Hudson River to find a shorter route to the Atlantic Ocean via its present course between New Jersey and New York City.
The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 (at 40°42.1'N., 74°01.5'W.) off Battery Park. The original Erie Canal, opened in 1825 to connect the Hudson with Lake Erie, emptied into the Hudson at the Albany Basin, just 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the Federal Dam in Troy (at mile 134). The canal enabled shipping between cities on the Great Lakes and Europe via the Atlantic Ocean. The New York State Canal System, the successor to the Erie Canal, runs into the Hudson River north of Troy and uses the Federal Dam as the Lock 1 and natural waterways whenever possible. The first railroad in New York, the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, opened in 1831 between Albany and Schenectady on the Mohawk River, enabling passengers to bypass the slowest part of the Erie Canal.
In northern Troy, the Champlain Canal split from the Erie Canal and continued north along the west side of the Hudson to Thompson, where it crossed to the east side. At Fort Edward the canal left the Hudson, heading northeast to Lake Champlain. A barge canal now splits from the Hudson at that point, taking roughly the same route (also parallel to the Delaware and Hudson Railway's Saratoga and Whitehall Railroad) to Lake Champlain at Whitehall. From Lake Champlain, boats can continue north into Canada to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The Hudson Valley also proved attractive for railroads, once technology progressed to the point where it was feasible to construct the required bridges over tributaries. The Troy and Greenbush Railroad was chartered in 1845 and opened that same year, running a short distance on the east side between Troy and Greenbush, now known as East Greenbush (east of Albany). The Hudson River Railroad was chartered the next year as a continuation of the Troy and Greenbush south to New York City, and was completed in 1851. In 1866 the Hudson River Bridge opened over the river between Greenbush and Albany, enabling through traffic between the Hudson River Railroad and the New York Central Railroad west to Buffalo. When the Poughkeepsie Bridge opened in 1889, it became the longest single-span bridge in the world. On October 3, 2009, it re-opened as a pedestrian walkway over the Hudson, as part of the Hudson River Quadricentennial Celebrations and connects over 25 miles of existing pedestrian trails.
The New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railway began at Weehawken Terminal and ran up the west shore of the Hudson as a competitor to the merged New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. Construction was slow, and was finally completed in 1884; the New York Central purchased the line the next year.
The Upper Hudson River Valley was also useful for railroads. Sections of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, Troy and Boston Railroad and Albany Northern Railroad ran next to the Hudson between Troy and Mechanicville. North of Mechanicville the shore was bare until Glens Falls, where the short Glens Falls Railroad ran along the east shore. At Glens Falls the Hudson turns west to Corinth before continuing north; at Corinth the Adirondack Scenic Railroad begins to run along the Hudson's west bank. The original Adirondack Railway opened by 1871, ending at North Creek along the river. In World War II an extension opened to Tahawus, the site of valuable iron and titanium mines. The extension continued along the Hudson River into Hamilton County, and then continued north where the Hudson makes a turn to the west, crossing the Hudson and running along the west shore of the Boreas River. South of Tahawus the route returned to the east shore of the Hudson the rest of the way to its terminus.
The Hudson is crossed at numerous points by bridges, tunnels, and ferries. The width of the Lower Hudson River required major feats of engineering to cross, the results today visible in the George Washington Bridge and the Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the PATH and Pennsylvania Railroad tubes. The George Washington Bridge, which carries multiple highways, connects Fort Lee, New Jersey to the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, and is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge. The Tappan Zee Bridge is the longest bridge in New York, although the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge has a larger span. The Troy Union Bridge between Waterford and Troy was the first bridge over the Hudson; built in 1804 and destroyed in 1909; its replacement, the Troy–Waterford Bridge, was built in 1909. The Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad was chartered in 1832 and opened in 1835, including the Green Island Bridge, the first bridge over the Hudson south of the Federal Dam.
The most discussed pollution of the Hudson River is General Electric's contamination of the river with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between 1947 and 1977. This pollution caused a range of harmful effects to wildlife and people who eat fish from the river or drink the water. In response to this contamination, activists protested in various ways. Musician Pete Seeger founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and the Clearwater Festival to draw attention to the problem. The activism led to the site being designated as one of the superfund sites. Other kinds of pollution, including mercury contamination and sewage dumping, have caused problems as well.
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- University of Rochester Chronology
- "Adirondack Journal — An Adirondack Presidential History". http://www.adkmuseum.org/. Adirondack Museum. Retrieved February 4, 2015. External link in
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- New York State Museum - "Swim for the River"
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- John Waldman; Heartbeats in the Muck; ISBN 1-55821-720-7 The Lyons Press; (2000)
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- "Hudson River PCBs — Background and Site Information". United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved December 31, 2007.
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- "Ecological Risk Assessment". EPA.
- Harrington, Gerry (January 31, 2014). "Movement afoot to name bridge after Pete Seeger". United Press International. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Levinton, J.S.; Ochron, S.T.P. (2008). "Temporal and geographic trends in mercury concentrations in muscle tissue in five species of hudson river, USA, fish". Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 27 (8): 1691–1697. PMID 18266478. doi:10.1897/07-438.1.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Albany, NY. (2007). "Hudson River Estuary Program: Cleaning the river: Improving water quality" (PDF). p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2007.
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- Hudson River Maritime Museum
- Beczak Environmental Education Center
- Tocqueville in Newburgh — a Alexis de Tocqueville Tour segment on Hudson River steamship travel in the 1830s
- Environmental groups