Hudson River

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Hudson River
View of the middle Hudson River
Origin Lake Tear of the Clouds
Mouth Lower New York Bay
Basin countries USA
Length 315 miles (506 km)
Source elevation 4,293 feet (1,309 m)
Avg. discharge 15,000 cubic feet/s (425 m³/s) (Troy); 21,400 cubic feet/s (606 m³/s) (Lower New York Bay)
Basin area 14,000 square miles (35,000 km²)

The Hudson River, called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk in Mahican, is a river running mainly through New York State but partly forming the boundary between the states of New York and New Jersey. It is named for Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Netherlands, who explored it in 1609. Early European settlement of the area clustered around the river. The area inspired the Hudson River school of painting, a sort of early American pastoral idyll.


[edit] Geography

The official source of the Hudson is Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains. However, the waterway from the lake is known as Feldspar Brook and the Opalescent River, feeding into the Hudson at Tahawus. The actual Hudson River begins several miles north of Tahawus at Henderson Lake. The Hudson is joined at Troy (north of Albany) by the Mohawk River, its major tributary, just south of which the Federal Dam separates the Upper Hudson River Valley from the Lower Hudson River Valley or simply the Hudson River Valley. South of Troy, the Hudson widens and flows south into the Atlantic Ocean between Manhattan Island and New Jersey, forming New York Harbor, at New York Bay, an arm of the Ocean. The Hudson was originally named the "North River" by the Dutch, because the river was the major route north. It was the English who originated the Hudson name, even though Hudson had found the river while exploring for the Dutch.

View of the Hudson in the 1880s showing Jersey City

The lower Hudson is actually a tidal estuary, with tidal influence extending as far as the Federal Dam at Troy. [1] 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, 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 water, about 15,000 cubic feet (425 m³/s) per second, is present. The mean freshwater 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.

The Hudson is sometimes called 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. [[image:Hudson_River_From_New_York_VGA.jpg|right|240px|thumb|Looking upriver from Battery Park City in [[Manhattan]

Notable landmarks on the Hudson include West Point, the Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, Bard College, the Thayer Hotel at West Point, Bannerman's Castle, Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line (formerly part of the New York Central Railroad system), The Tappan Zee, the New Jersey Palisades, Hudson River Islands State Park, Hudson Highlands State Park, New York Military Academy, Fort Tryon Park with The Cloisters, Liberty State Park, and Stevens Institute of Technology. Cities and towns on the New Jersey side include Fort Lee, Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City. Cities and towns on the New York side include Troy, Albany, Kingston, Poughkeepsie,Glens Falls, Beacon, Haverstraw, Yonkers, and New York City (Manhattan, The Bronx).

The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhine", being compared to that of the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz. It was designated as one of the American Heritage Rivers in 1997.

[edit] The Narrows

The Narrows, a tidal strait between the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn, connects the upper and lower sections of New York Bay. It has long been considered the maritime "gateway" to New York City and historically has been the most important entrance into the harbor.

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 the present course of the lower Raritan River, by taking 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 build up of water in the Upper 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 (Waldman, 2000).

[edit] Transportation

The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 (at 40°42.1'N., 74°01.5'W.) off of The Battery. The original Erie Canal, opened in 1825 to connect the Hudson with Lake Erie, emptied into the Hudson just 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 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.

Hudson from Midtown Manhattan with Javits Convention Center in foreground. The beginning of the New Jersey Palisades is visible across the river.
The Delaware and Hudson Canal ended at the Hudson at Kingston, running southwest to the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania.

In northern Troy, the Champlain Canal split from the Erie Canal and continued north along the west side of the Hudson to Thomson, 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 (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.

The New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railway 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 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 Verrazano Narrows and George Washington Bridges, as well as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the PATH and Pennsylvania Railroad tubes. The Troy-Waterford Bridge at Waterford was the first bridge over the Hudson, opened in 1809. 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. [2]

The Upper Hudson River's 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 Railway 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.

Image:Hudson River NASA.jpg
NASA image of the lower Hudson

[edit] Political boundaries

The Hudson River serves as a political boundary between the states of New Jersey and New York, and further north between New York counties. The northernmost place with this convention is in southwestern Essex County.

Hamilton Essex
Warren river runs along
municipal boundaries
Saratoga Warren
Saratoga Washington
Saratoga Rensselaer
Albany Rensselaer
Greene Columbia
Ulster Columbia
Ulster Dutchess
Orange Dutchess
Orange Putnam
Rockland Westchester
Bergen (NJ) Westchester
Bergen (NJ) Bronx
Bergen (NJ) New York
Hudson (NJ) New York

[edit] Tributaries

Image:Hudson in Adirondacks.jpg
The Hudson near Newcomb, New York, a dozen miles south of its source.

From north to south, moving downriver

[edit] Crossings

From south to north:

[edit] New Jersey-New York

[edit] New York

[edit] Theodore Roosevelt's famous trip to the headwaters

On September 14, 1901, then-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 expected to survive had taken a turn for the worse.

Roosevelt hiked down 10 miles (16 km) on the southwest side of the mountain to the closest stage station at Long Lake, New York. He then took a 40 mile (64 km) midnight stage coach ride through the twisting Adirondack Roads 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 (64 km) route is now designated the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail.

[edit] Pollution

General Electric Corporation has been involved in a long lasting battle over the cleanup of Polychlorinated biphenyl contamination of the Hudson. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): "The General Electric Company discharged between 209,000 and 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the river from two capacitor manufacturing plants located in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward." [3]

In 1983, the EPA declared a 200 mile (322 km) stretch of the river, from Hudson Falls to New York City, to be a Superfund site. GE will soon commence dredging operations at its own expense to clean up the PCBs. [4] Inspired by Earth Day advocates, this action anchored the Riverkeeper program that grew into a global umbrella organization, the Waterkeeper Alliance.

Other pollution issues affecting the river include: Accidental sewage discharges, urban runoff, heavy metals, furans, dioxin, pesticides, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). [5]

[edit] Miscellanea

In 2004, Christopher Swain became the first person to swim the entire length of the Hudson River.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Maps and aerial photos

Mouth or other endpoint (Upper New York Bay)

Source (Lake Tear of the Clouds)

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Hudson River

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