Learn more about Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley refers to the canyon of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State, generally from northern Westchester County northward to the cities of Albany and Troy. Historically a cradle of European settlement in the northeastern United States and a strategic battleground in colonial wars, it now consists of suburbs of the metropolitan area of New York City at its southern end, shading into rural territory farther north.
Geographically the Hudson Valley could refer to all areas along the Hudson River, including the Bronx or even Bergen County, New Jersey. However, this definition is not commonly used (the Tappan Zee Bridge is usually considered the southern limit of the area).
The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establishment of Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orange. During the rest of the 1600s, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.
In the early 1800s, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (see The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).
Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center and remained so until the mid 20th century, when many of the industrial towns went into decline.
It also was the location of the estates of many wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller, and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt, who was a descendant of one the early Dutch families in the region.
The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley earned the Hudson River the nickname America's Rhine, the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley 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.
 Pollution and urban sprawl
Due to the rapid decrease in industry within New York State over the past 40-50 years, the Hudson Valley has been heavily plagued by economic decline and unemployment at a degree much greater than any other area in the state. Today the valley is littered with old abandoned factories and buildings that show evidence of a once bustling metropolis (upscale theatres, lavish homes and resort-hotels, health spas). Much of the Valley today is heavily plagued with crime and poverty.
The numerous factories that at one time lined the Hudson River poured their garbage and industrial waste directly into the river, a problem that was only assessed in the 1970s. By that time, the only company who still operated factories in the area was General Electric, who became primarily responsible for cleaning the Hudson River. As of 2005, they have still not complied with their government orders to do so. However, the river's pollution has been steadily declining, and as a result, some municipalities have begun to allow people to swim in it; swimming was banned in the early 1960s.
Today, as the cost of living associated with the New York metropolitan area skyrockets, more and more people have been moving from these densely populated suburbs and into areas as far north as greater Poughkeepsie and commuting into New York City to work. This has caused housing costs to greatly increase in the mid-Hudson Valley, and has brought in numerous real estate developers eager to take advantage of this by building shopping malls, condominiums and other landmarks of suburbia and urban sprawl. Many long-time residents have reacted to this by forming historical society and environmental groups dedicated to the preservation of the area.
The Hudson Valley is divided into three regions: Lower, Middle and Upper. The following is a list of the counties within the Hudson Valley sorted by region.
 Cities and Towns
- Cold Spring
- Fort Montgomery
- Highland Falls
- Hyde Park
- New City
- New Paltz
- Red Hook
- Sleepy Hollow
- Stony Point
- Wappingers Falls
- West Point
 External links
- Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area
- Hudson River Valley Greenway
- Hudson Valley Tourism
- Hudson Valley Net
- Hudson Valley Directory
- Hudson River Valley Heritage Digital Collections