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The Hudson River is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New Yorkmarker. It rises at Lake Tear of the Cloudsmarker, on the slopes of Mount Marcymarker in the Adirondack Mountains, flows past Albanymarker, and finally forms the border between New York Citymarker and New Jerseymarker at its mouth before emptying into Upper New York Baymarker. Its lower half is an estuary, experiencing tidal influence as far north as Troymarker.

The river is named for Henry Hudson, an Englishmanmarker sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609.

The Hudson River was observed by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 as he became the first European historically known to have entered Upper New York Bay.

Early European settlement of the area clustered around the Hudson. The area inspired the Hudson River School of painting, an American pastoral style.


The names of the Hudson River make a complicated story.It was called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, the Great Mohegan, by the Iroquois, or as the Lenape Native Americans called it in Unami, Muhheakantuck.

In the early days of European exploration the Hudson was known as the Mauritius River. This is said to be the name given it by Henry Hudson in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, but it is also said to be the name given by sixteenth-century European adventurers, explorers, and fishermen who knew it as River Mauritius, 'The River of Mountains'.

The Hudson was named the "North Rivermarker" by the Dutch, who called the Delaware River the "South River."The name "North River" was used in the New York Citymarker area up until the early 1900s, with limited use continuing into the modern day.The term persists in radio communication among commercial shipping traffic, especially below Tappan Zee.

It was the English who originated the use of the name "Hudson"—even though Hudson had found the river while exploring for the Dutch.


The official source of the Hudson is Lake Tear of the Cloudsmarker in the Adirondack Mountains. However, the waterway from the lake is known as Feldspar Brook and the Opalescent River, feeding into the Hudson at Tahawusmarker. The actual Hudson River begins several miles north of Tahawus at Henderson Lake. The Hudson is joined at Troymarker (north of Albanymarker) by the Mohawk River, its major tributary, just south of which the Federal Dammarker separates the Upper Hudson River Valley from the Lower Hudson River Valley or simply the Hudson River Valley. The river then flows south, passing between the Catskill Mountains and the Taconic Mountainsmarker, widening significantly at the Tappan Zee, finally flowing between Manhattan Islandmarker and the New Jersey Palisadesmarker and into the Atlantic Oceanmarker at New York Bay, an arm of the ocean, where it forms New York Harbor.

The lower Hudson is actually a tidal estuary, with tidal influence extending as far as the Federal Dam at 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, 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 freshwater, 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 Covemarker in Hobokenmarker and Weehawkenmarker.

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.

Delaware and Hudson Canal ended at the Hudson at Kingstonmarker, running southwest to the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvaniamarker.

Notable landmarks on the Hudson include West Pointmarker, Home of Franklin D.marker Roosevelt National Historic Sitemarker, Bard Collegemarker, the Culinary Institute of Americamarker, Marist College, the Thayer Hotelmarker at West Point, Bannerman's Castlemarker, Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line (formerly part of the New York Central Railroad system), The Tappan Zee, the New Jersey Palisadesmarker, Hudson River Islands State Parkmarker, Hudson Highlands State Parkmarker, Sing Singmarker Correctional Facility, New York Military Academymarker, Fort Tryon Parkmarker with The Cloistersmarker, Liberty State Parkmarker, and Stevens Institute of Technologymarker. Cities and towns on the New Jerseymarker side include Tenaflymarker, Fort Leemarker, Edgewater, West New York, Weehawkenmarker, Hobokenmarker, and Jersey Citymarker. Cities in New York State include Troymarker, Albanymarker, Kingstonmarker, Poughkeepsiemarker, Glens Fallsmarker, Yonkersmarker, and New York Citymarker.

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 Rivermarker valley between the cities of Bingenmarker and Koblenzmarker. 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 was designated as one of the American Heritage Rivers in 1997.

The Narrows

The Narrowsmarker, a tidal stream between the New York Citymarker boroughs of Staten Islandmarker and Brooklynmarker, 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 a more westerly course through parts of present day northern New Jersey, along the eastern side of the Watchung Mountains to Bound Brook, New Jerseymarker and then on into the Atlantic Ocean via Raritan Baymarker. 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).

North River

North River is an alternate name for its southernmost portion of the Hudson usually referring to all or part of the waterway located between Manhattanmarker and Hudson County. The colonial name given by the Dutch to the entire river in the early seventeenth century, the term fell out of popular use for most of it some time in the early 1900s, but continues in use locally by mariners and others as well as on some nautical charts and maps. The term also lives on in the names of a variety of Manhattan facilities along the waterway such as the North River piers, North River Tunnelsmarker, and the North River Wastewater Treatment Plantmarker, and has strong historical ties with New York Harbor.

Haverstraw Bay

Haverstraw Baymarker, just north of the Tappan Zee (the widest part of the river), is located between Croton Point in the Southeast and the town of Haverstraw in the Northwest. Haverstraw Bay is a popular destination for recreational boaters, and is home to many Yacht clubs and marinas including Croton Yacht Club, Croton Sailing School, Pennybridge Marina, Minisceongo Yacht Club, Stony Point Bay Marina, and Haverstraw Marina, and is traversed by NY Waterway's Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry.


The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 (at 40°42.1'N., 74°01.5'W.) off The Batterymarker. The original Erie Canal, opened in 1825 to connect the Hudson with Lake Erie, emptied into the Hudson at the Albany Basin, just three miles (5 km) south of the Federal Dammarker in Troymarker (at mile 134). The canal enabled shipping between cities on the Great Lakesmarker 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 Albanymarker and Schenectadymarker on the Mohawk River, enabling passengers to bypass the slowest part of the Erie Canal.

In northern Troy, the Champlain Canalmarker 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 Edwardmarker the canal left the Hudson, heading northeast to Lake Champlainmarker. 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 Canadamarker 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 Bridgemarker opened over the river between Greenbush and Albany, enabling through traffic between the Hudson River Railroad and the New York Central Railroad west to Buffalomarker. When the Poughkeepsie Rail Bridgemarker opened in 1879, 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. [7738]

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-Narrowsmarker and George Washingtonmarker Bridges, as well as the Lincoln and Hollandmarker Tunnels and the PATHmarker and Pennsylvania Railroad tubes. The Troy-Waterford Bridgemarker 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 Bridgemarker, the first bridge over the Hudson south of the Federal Dam. [7739]

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 Mechanicvillemarker. North of Mechanicville the shore was bare until Glens Fallsmarker, 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 Creekmarker along the river. In World War II an extension opened to Tahawusmarker, the site of valuable iron and titanium mine. The extension continued along the Hudson River into Hamilton Countymarker, 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.
NASA image of the lower Hudson
NASA image of the lower Hudson

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 Countymarker.
Hamiltonmarker Essexmarker
Warrenmarker river runs along
municipal boundaries
Saratogamarker Warrenmarker
Saratogamarker Washingtonmarker
Saratogamarker Rensselaer
Albany Rensselaer
Greenemarker Columbiamarker
Ulstermarker Columbiamarker
Ulstermarker Dutchessmarker
Orangemarker Dutchessmarker
Orangemarker Putnammarker
Rocklandmarker Westchestermarker
Bergenmarker (NJ) Westchestermarker
Bergenmarker (NJ) Bronxmarker
Bergenmarker (NJ) New Yorkmarker
Hudsonmarker (NJ) New Yorkmarker


See Rivers of the Hudson River Basin for an alphabetical listing including tributaries of tributaries.
View of the Catskills from Rhinecliff
From north to south, moving downriver

Note kill as used above is the Dutch word for creek. This can obviously cause confusion since kill is an English word with a totally different meaning. Sometimes the original Dutch colonial name is retained, as in Poestin Kill. Sometimes the Dutch name is redundantly combined with the English word, as in Fishkill Creek (Fish Creek Creek, not a creek named after the killing of fish).

Theodore Roosevelt's historic route

On September 14, 1901, then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was at Lake Tear of the Clouds after returning from a hike to the Mount Marcymarker 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 10 miles (16 km) on the southwest side of the mountain to the closest stage station at Long Lake, New Yorkmarker. 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 Trailmarker.


In 1966, Pete Seeger and Toshi Seeger founded Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. This is both an environmental education organization and an actual boat (a sloop) that promotes awareness of the river and its history. Clearwater has gained national recognition for its activism starting in the 1970s to force a clean-up of PCB contamination of the Hudson River caused by industrial manufacturing by General Electric Corporation (GE) and other companies on the river's edge.

GE's Hudson Fallsmarker and Fort Edwardmarker facilities discharged between and of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) into the river from 1947 to 1977. In 1976 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) banned all fishing in the Upper Hudson due to health concerns with PCBs. In 1983, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared a 200 mile (322 km) stretch of the river, from Hudson Falls to New York City, to be a Superfund site requiring cleanup. GE began dredging operations to clean up the PCBs on May 15, 2009
In 1980, Consolidated Edison agreed to drop its 17-year fight to build a pumped-storage hydroelectricity facility on Storm King Mountainmarker. This action spurred 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).

A study reported in the August 2008 issue of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry suggests that mercury in common Hudson River fish, including striped bass, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and carp, has declined strongly over the past three decades. The conclusions were extracted from a large database of mercury analyses of fish fillets accumulated by NYSDEC and collected over much of the length of the Hudson from New York City waters to the Adirondack watershed. The research indicates that the trends are in line with the recovery that the Hudson River has experienced over the past few decades, now that activist groups, government officials and industry are beginning to cooperate to help clean up the river system.

NYSDEC has listed various portions of the Hudson was having impaired water quality due to PCBs, cadmium, and other toxic compounds. Hudson River tributaries with impaired water quality (not necessarily the same pollutants as the Hudson main stem) are Mohawk River, Dwaas Kill, Schuyler Creek, Saw Mill River, Esopus Creek, Hoosic River, Quaker Creek, Batten Killmarker. Many lakes in the Hudson drainage basin are also listed.

The Hudson River estuary system is part of The National Estuarine Research Reserve System.


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

The New Jersey Devils/New York Rangers hockey rivalry is known as the Hudson River rivalry because the Devils are based in Newarkmarker and the Rangers are based across the Hudson River in Manhattanmarker.

There have been reported sightings of a sea serpent living in the Hudson River called Kipsy after the city of Poughkeepsiemarker. There is a mural painted by Dick and Margaret Crenson just off Main Street in Poughkeepsie. There have also been reported sightings elsewhere along the Hudson River.

See also


External links

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