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Hudson River
Sailboat on Hudson river and Downtown Manhattan
Country  United States
States  New York,  New Jersey
 - left Hoosic River
 - right Mohawk River, Rondout Creek/Wallkill River
Cities Glens Falls, Mechanicville, Troy, Albany, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Beacon, Peekskill, Yonkers, New York City, Jersey City, NJ
Source Lake Tear of the Clouds
 - location Mount Marcy, New York, United States
 - elevation 4,293 ft (1,309 m)
 - coordinates 44°06′24″N 73°56′09″W / 44.10667°N 73.93583°W / 44.10667; -73.93583
Mouth Upper New York Bay
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 40°42′11″N 74°01′36″W / 40.70306°N 74.02667°W / 40.70306; -74.02667
Length 315 mi (507 km)
Basin 14,000 sq mi (36,260 km2)
Discharge for Lower New York Bay
 - average 21,400 cu ft/s (606 m3/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 - Troy 15,000 cu ft/s (425 m3/s)
Hudson and Mohawk watersheds

The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. It rises at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains, flows past Albany, and finally forms the border between New York City and New Jersey at its mouth before emptying into Upper New York Bay. Its lower half is a tidal estuary[1] which occupies the Hudson Fjord created during the most recent North American glaciation over the latter part of the Wisconsin Stage of the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 13,300 years ago).[2] Tidal waters influence the Hudson's flow 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.

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 term persists in radio communication among commercial shipping traffic, especially below Tappan Zee.[3]



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. The river then flows south, passing between the Catskill Mountains and the Taconic Mountains, widening significantly at the Tappan Zee, finally flowing between Manhattan Island and the New Jersey Palisades and into the Atlantic Ocean at New York Bay, an arm of the ocean, where it forms New York Harbor.

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."[citation needed] 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) 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, 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.

Looking upriver from Battery Park City in Manhattan
Hudson from Midtown Manhattan with Javits Convention Center in foreground. 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.

Notable landmarks on the Hudson include West Point, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Bard College, the Culinary Institute of America, Marist 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, Sing Sing Correctional Facility, 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 Tenafly, Fort Lee, Edgewater, West New York, Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City. Cities in New York State include Troy, Albany, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Glens Falls, Yonkers, and New York City.

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. 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 Narrows, a tidal stream 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 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).

North River

Lower Hudson River as seen from Riverside Park in Manhattan's Upper West Side.

North River is an alternate name for the southernmost portion of the Hudson, usually referring to all or part of the waterway located between Manhattan and Hudson County.[4][5][6][7][8] 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,[9] but continues in use locally by mariners and others[10][11][12] as well as on some nautical charts[13] and maps. The term also lives on in the names of a variety of facilities such as the North River piers, North River Tunnels, and the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant, and has strong historical ties with New York Harbor.

Haverstraw Bay

Haverstraw Bay, 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, Half Moon Bay Marina (Croton), Pennybridge Marina, Minisceongo Yacht Club, Stony Point Bay Marina, and Haverstraw Marina, and is traversed by NY Waterway's Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry.


Looking downriver from the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises boat. George Washington Bridge can be seen in the background.

The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 (at 40°42.1'N., 74°01.5'W.) off The Battery. 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 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 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. When the Poughkeepsie Rail Bridge 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.[14][15]

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 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. [16]

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 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.

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 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


See Rivers of the Hudson River Basin for an alphabetical listing including tributaries of tributaries.
View of the Catskills from Rhinecliff
The Hudson near Newcomb, New York, a dozen miles south of its source.
Lake Tear of the Clouds, by Seneca Ray Stoddard (late 19th century)

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 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 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.


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 Falls and Fort Edward facilities discharged between 209,000 pounds (95,000 kg) and 1,300,000 pounds (590,000 kg) 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.[25][26] 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.[27]

Bird's-eye view of the Hudson from the Walkway Over the Hudson

In 1980, Consolidated Edison agreed to drop its 17-year fight to build a pumped-storage hydroelectricity facility on Storm King Mountain.[28] This action spurred the Riverkeeper program that grew into a global umbrella organization, the Waterkeeper Alliance.[29]

Other pollution issues affecting the river include: accidental sewage discharges, urban runoff, heavy metals, furans, dioxin, pesticides, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).[30]

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.[31]

NYSDEC has listed various portions of the Hudson as 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, and Batten Kill. Many lakes in the Hudson drainage basin are also listed.[32]

The Hudson River estuary system is part of The National Estuarine Research Reserve System.[33]


In 2004, Christopher Swain became the first person to swim the entire length of the Hudson River.[34]

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

There have been reported hoax sightings of a sea serpent living in the Hudson River called Kipsy after the city of Poughkeepsie.[35] There is a mural painted by Dick and Margaret Crenson just off Main Street in Poughkeepsie.[36] There have also been reported sightings elsewhere along the Hudson River.[37]

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched here due to multiple bird strikes. The flight took off from LaGuardia Airport. The water landing was executed successfully, and there were no casualties.

See also


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ The Hudson as Fjord New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  3. ^ Stanne, Stephen P.; Roger G. Panetta, Brian E. Forist (1996). The Hudson, An Illustrated Guide to the Living River. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2270-6. 
  4. ^ The Random House Dictionary (2009)("Part of the Hudson River between NE New Jersey and SE New York.")
  5. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,'Fourth Edition (2006) ("An estuary of the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City flowing into Upper New York Bay.")
  6. ^ Webster's New World College Dictionary (2005) ("The lower course of the Hudson River, between New York City & NE N.J.")
  7. ^ The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2009) ("An estuary of Hudson River between SE New York & NE New Jersey" )
  8. ^ Joint Report With Comprehensive Plan and Recommendations New York, New Jersey Port and Harbor Development Commission (1926)
  9. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer."F.Y.I",The New York Times, May 15, 1994. Accessed January 17, 2008. "The North River was the colonial name for the entire Hudson River, just as the Delaware was known as the South River. These names went out of use sometime early in the century, said Norman Brouwer, a historian at the South Street Seaport Museum."
  10. ^ North River Historic Ship Society
  11. ^ The Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition
  12. ^ North River Power Squadron
  13. ^ "SEA PADDLE NYC"
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^—Boreas River
  18. ^—Poesten Kill
  19. ^—Normans Kill
  20. ^—Catskill Creek
  21. ^—Roeliff Jansen Kill
  22. ^ Crum Elbow Creek
  23. ^ Pocantico River photograph
  24. ^ Sparkill Creek
  25. ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). New York, NY. "Hudson River PCBs." February 5, 2009.
  26. ^ "National Priorities List Fact Sheets: Hudson River PCBs". EPA. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  27. ^ "The Hudson River Dredging Project". General Electric. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  28. ^ Marist College Archives—Hudson River Valley Commission Collection retrieved 2998-10-22
  29. ^ Cronin, John; Kennedy, Robert; Gore, Al (1999). The Riverkeepers: Two Activists Fight to Reclaim Our Environment as a Basic Human Right. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780684846255. 
  30. ^ New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Albany, NY. (2007). "Hudson River Estuary Program: Cleaning the river: Improving water quality". p. 24. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  31. ^ Analysis of Hudson River Fish by Research Team Shows Strong Drop in Mercury Newswise, Retrieved on July 22, 2008.
  32. ^ NYSDEC. "Final New York State 2008 Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters Requiring a TMDL/Other Strategy." May 26, 2008.
  33. ^ Network of 27 Protected Areas "Network of 27 Protected Areas". NOAA. Network of 27 Protected Areas. Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  34. ^ New York State Museum - "Swim for the River"
  35. ^ The Gargoyles Fans Website :: Episode Review: Monsters
  36. ^ The Pulse | Archives | Hudson Valley Magazine
  37. ^ New York Times."The Sea Serpent: He Appears in the Hudson River Below Albany." September 4, 1886.

External links

Dutchess County, New York drainage basins Wappinger Creek at Red Oaks Mill.jpg
Hudson River • Roeliff Jansen Kill • Wappinger CreekFishkill Creek • Ten Mile River • Croton River

1911 encyclopedia

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Hudson River


Hudson River

  1. The river flowing South from upstate NY down the Hudson valley, past Manhattan, out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Simple English

File:Hudson river from bear mountain
Photograph of the Hudson River looking north from the Bear Mountain Bridge

The Hudson River is found in the State of New York in the United States. It is about 315 miles (507 km) long. The river runs from Lake Tear of the Clouds near Mount Marcy in Essex County in the north part of the state to New York Harbor in New York City at the south part of the state. It is named for Henry Hudson.

The Hudson River is a special kind of river called an estuary. There is some salt in the water from New York City north until Poughkeepsie. It is then fresh water from Poughkeepsie north until Lake Tear of the Clouds. The border for the salt in the water moves when the tide rises and falls. The Hudson is part of the Erie Canal from New York City to Albany. The Hudson River used to have a lot of pollution from industry, but it is becoming cleaner now.

Another name for this river is the North River.

Bridges that cross the Hudson River

  • George Washington Bridge
  • Tappan Zee Bridge
  • Bear Mountain Bridge
  • Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge
  • Rip van Winkle Bridge
  • New York Thruway (Interstate 90-Interstate 87) Bridge
  • Interstate 90 Bridge


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