Hudson Valley in New York

Wednesday, 19 October 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, New York City
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Empire State Plaza in Albany © UpstateNYer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Empire State Plaza in Albany © UpstateNYer/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Hudson Valley comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in the U.S. state of New York. The region stretches from the Capital District including Albany and Troy south to Yonkers in Westchester County, bordering New York City. In the early 19th century, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region characterized by remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“). The area is also associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870. 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 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. The Hudson Valley 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, now known as East 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 Bridge opened in 1889, it became the longest single-span bridge in the world. 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.

During the Industrial Revolution, the Hudson River Valley became a major location for production. The river allowed for fast and easy transport of goods from the interior of the Northeast to the coast. Hundreds of factories were built around the Hudson, in towns including Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Kingston, and Hudson. The North Tarrytown Assembly (later owned by General Motors), on the river in Sleepy Hollow, was a large and notable example. The river links to the Erie Canal and Great Lakes, which allowed manufacturers in the Midwest, including automobile factories in Detroit, to use the river for transport. With industrialization came new technologies, such as streamboats, for faster transport. In 1807, the North River Steamboat (later known as Clermont), became the first commercially successful steamboat. It carried passengers between New York City and Albany along the Hudson River. At the end of the 19th century, the Hudson River region of New York State would become the world’s largest brick manufacturing region, with 130 brickyards lining the shores of the Hudson River from Mechanicsville to Haverstraw and employing 8,000 people. At its peak, about 1 billion bricks were produced a year, with many being sent to New York City for use in its construction industry.

Tourism became a major industry as early as 1810. With convenient steamboat connections in New York City, and numerous attractive hotels in romantic settings, tourism became an important industry. Early guidebooks provided suggestions for travel itineraries. Middle-class people who read James Fenimore Cooper‘s novels, or saw the paintings of the Hudson River School, were especially attracted to the region.

Mid-Hudson Bridge, connecting Poughkeepsie and Highland © UFu/cc-by-3.0 United States Military Academy in West Point © defenselink.mil - Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley Empire State Plaza in Albany © UpstateNYer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Farm in Brunswick © UpstateNYer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hudson River from Bear Mountain Bridge © Nordelch/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kykuit mansion in Tarrytown © Daderot/cc-by-sa-3.0
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United States Military Academy in West Point © defenselink.mil - Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
The Hudson Valley has a long agricultural history, as it was settled with agriculture being its main industry. Around the 1700s, tenant farming was highly practiced. The farms’ main products were grains (predominantly wheat), though hops, maple syrup, vegetables, dairy products, honey, wool, livestock, and tobacco were produced there. The region became the breadbasket of colonial America, given that the surrounding New England and Catskills areas were more mountainous and had rockier soils. In the late 1800s, most farms transitioned from tenant farming to being family-owned, with more incentive to improve the land. Grain production moved west to the Genesee Valley, and so Hudson Valley farms specialized, especially in viticulture, berries, and orchard cultivation. Agriculture began to decline in the 19th century, and rapidly declined in the 20th century. By the 1970s, the United States’ culinary revolution began, and the Hudson Valley began to lead the farm-to-table movement, the local food movement, and sustainable agricultural practices. The fertile Black Dirt Region of the Wallkill and Schoharie valleys also began to be farmed. Dairy farms are predominant, though fruit, vegetable, poultry, meat, and maple syrup production is also common. Orchard cultivation is common in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, and Columbia counties.

The Hudson Valley is one of the oldest winemaking and grape-growing regions in the United States, with its first vineyards planted in 1677 in current-day New Paltz. The region has experienced a resurgence in winemaking in the 21st century. Many wineries are located in the Hudson Valley, offering wine-tasting and other tours. Numerous wine festivals are held in the Hudson Valley, with themes often varying by season. Rhinebeck is home to the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, hosted at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. The region has sunlight, moisture, chalky soil, and drainage conducive to grape growing, especially grapes used in Champagne (Hudson River Region AVA).

Tech Valley is a marketing name for the eastern part of New York State, including the Hudson Valley and the Capital District. Originated in 1998 to promote the greater Albany area as a high-tech competitor to regions such as Silicon Valley and Boston, it has since grown to represent the counties in New York between IBM‘s Westchester County plants in the south and the Canada–US border to the north. The area’s high technology ecosystem is supported by technologically focused academic institutions including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute. Tech Valley encompasses 19 counties straddling both sides of the Adirondack Northway and the New York Thruway, and with heavy state taxpayer subsidy, has experienced significant growth in the computer hardware industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector, digital electronics design, and water- and electricity-dependent integrated microchip circuit manufacturing, involving companies including IBM in Armonk and its Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, GlobalFoundries in Malta, and others. Westchester County has developed a burgeoning biotechnology sector in the 21st century, with over US$1 billion in planned private investment as of 2016, earning the county the nickname Biochester.

Read more on VisitTheUSA.co.uk – Hudson Valley, Wikivoyage Hudson Valley and Wikipedia Hudson Valley (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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