The Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley refers to the valley 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,
including "exurbs," farther
Geographically, the Hudson Valley could refer
to all areas along the Hudson River, including Bergen
Jersey. However, this definition is not commonly used
and the Tappan Zee
Bridge is often considered the southern limit of the
area. Though Westchester County is often classified
as part of the region, Westchester residents who live at the
southern end of the county (and especially the parts closer to the
Sound than the Hudson River)
generally do not associate themselves with the region, unless their
town includes Hudson River banks.
- For the magazine, see Hudson Valley .
Including all of
Westchester County in the definition of the region would seem
unusual to many and seems like something one might only read in a
travel guide. In fact, there is a road sign on the New York State Thruway in Yonkers that
suggests that the "Hudson Valley region" is located somewhere
farther to the north and west along the Thruway.
Another geographical issue involves the northern extent of the
Hudson Valley, and specifically, the northern half of the Hudson
River, which does not flow through the valley commonly called the
Hudson Valley. Although the southern half of the river flows
through the center of a great glacial valley which extends from
Lake Champlain to New York City, the northern half of the river
runs through the Adirondack Mountains. The great glacial valley
continues, apart from the Hudson, farther north, where it is known
as the Champlain Valley
. Thus, the
great glacial valley is known as the Champlain Valley in its
northern extent, and the Hudson Valley in its southern, changing
names at a point slightly north of Albany. The exact spot can
possibly be pinpointed at Fort Edward, which is where the Champlain
Canal leaves the Hudson River and goes on its own to Lake
In common usage, however, the city of Troy
appears to be the northernmost point of the Hudson Valley, as that
city contains the first lock on the Hudson, keeping deep-water
ships from navigating farther north. In fact, the Hudson Valley and
Champlain Valley are only two parts of the much greater Great Appalachian Valley
At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th
century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the
and Munsee Native American
people, known collectively as River Indians.
The first Dutch
settlement was in the
1610s with the establishment of Fort
, 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
the French and Indian War in
the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the
British defense against French invasion
from Canada via Lake
The valley became one of the major regions of conflict during the
the early strategy of the British was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining
control of the river.
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, e.g., The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow
Following the building of the Erie Canal
the area became an important industrial center. The canal opened the
Hudson Valley and New York
City to commerce with the Midwest and Great Lakes regions.
However, in the mid 20th century,
many of the industrial towns went into decline.
The Catskills seen from across the
The Hudson Valley also was the location of the estates of many
wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller
and Frederick William Vanderbilt
and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt
, who was a
descendant of one the early Dutch families in the region.
The area is associated with the Hudson River School
, a group of American
painters who worked from about
1830 to 1870.
natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the
nickname "America's Rhine," a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65
km) stretch of Germany's Rhine
River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz.
A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch of the east bank in
Dutchess and Columbia counties
has been designated a National Historic Landmark
Geology and physiography
Hudson Valley is a physiographic section of
the larger Valley And
Ridge province, which in turn is part of the larger Appalachian physiographic division.
Pollution and urban sprawl
Due to the decrease in industry
York State over the past 40 to 50 years, parts of the Hudson Valley
have seen economic decline
to a greater degree than
other areas in the state. Still seen in the Valley today are
and old buildings that
are remnants of a once thriving region that included upscale
theaters, lavish homes, resort hotel
. The numerous factories
that at one time lined the Hudson River poured garbage
directly into the river. This pollution was not assessed
in a comprehensive fashion until the 1970s. By that time, the
largest company still operating factories in the area was General Electric
, which became primarily
responsible for cleaning the Hudson River. As of 2008, after
decades of litigation, GE was still in the process of complying
with government cleanup directives. Though swimming was banned in
parts of the river in the early 1960s, the pollution has been
steadily declining and, as a result, some municipalities have begun
to allow people to swim in it again.
crowding and high cost of living
associated with the New York metropolitan area and its adjacent suburbs has
led increasing numbers of people to move from these densely
populated areas to the Hudson Valley, including parts as far north
as greater Poughkeepsie, and commute into New York City to work.
This demand for housing has
resulted in increased residential development, and a significant
increase in housing costs in the lower- and mid-Hudson Valley
regions. Along with this residential development has come
commercial development such as shopping
, and other landmarks of suburbia
and urban sprawl
. Some long-time
residents have reacted to this by forming environmental
and preservationist groups
dedicated to stopping further development.
parts of the Valley today struggle with crime
and poverty, other parts contain some of the
wealthiest and safest communities in the nation (see,
e.g., communities discussed in articles on Westchester and Putnam Counties).
The overall effect of decreased
industrialization and increased residential development has been a
transformation of the region, especially in the lower- and
mid-Hudson Valley, to an exurb struggling to balance the competing
demands of maintaining the area's rural character with the
conveniences and services of suburban living.
The Hudson Valley Renegades
are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays
. The team is a member
of the New York - Penn
League, and play at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill.
The Hudson Valley Rebels are the Hudson Valley's Premiere Rugby union
club. The Hudson Valley Rebels are
members of the Metropolitan New York
Rugby Football Union
and were established in 2001. Their home pitch is
Beacon Memorial Park, in Beacon.
The Hudson Valley Hawks
team in the newly formed National
Professional Basketball League
. The team's home court is at
Beacon High School, in Beacon.
Hudson Valley Highlanders
of the North American
Football League play their home games at Dietz Stadium in
The Hudson Valley Horrors are the region's first non-urban flat
track women's roller derby team and are part of the grass-roots
derby revival. They currently practice and host bouts at Hyde Park
Roller Magic in Hyde Park.
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
- Glatthaar, Joseph T., and Martin, James Kirby (2007).
Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American
Revolution, p. 39. Macmillan. ISBN 0809046008.
- Stanne, Stephen P., et al. (1996). The Hudson: An
Illustrated Guide to the Living River, p. 120. Rutgers
University Press. ISBN 0813522714.
- Hirschl, Thomas A. and Heaton, Tim B. (1999). New York
State in the 21st Century, pp. 126-28. Greenwood Publishing
Group. ISBN 027596339X.