Exploring the Hudson

Rich in history, much unseen

The Hudson River Valley is a true American beauty. A retreat for many New Yorkers, home to even more commuters. Quick getaways refresh the mind, but more impressively refresh the soul. The world around us has been shaped by forces great and small. Carved deep by behemoths of ice, cut shallow by iron plows, and congested with parkways and rails. The consciousness of culture is cultivated by a different cast of characters – corporate tycoons, underground musicians, little known authors, ambitious entrepreneurs, loving mothers, humble spiritual leaders, and many more. The impact an individual creates may not be fully realized until well beyond their own life. And therefore one must not measure ‘prosperity’ by one’s own field of view. An individual’s field of view is narrow – acutely narrow!


Keeping tradition does not mean living in the past, it’s the very thing that secures our future.

Luke Timothy Johnson

The Hudson River Valley is rich in history and it’s impact on American culture reverberates today – even if unseen. This landscape inspired and solidified the American consciousness of literature and art on an international scale. Washington Irving, Thomas Cole, Frederich Church, Asher Durand, and more created inspiring bodies of work. Irving’s literature, while criticized by some, has a lasting impact on American culture. His nickname for New York City – Gotham – is still prevalent today, even in modern graphic novels and their cinematic adaptations. The American ideal of Christmas owes homage to Irving’s dream sequence of St. Nicholas soaring over treetops in a flying wagon. The Hudson River School of Art was the first coherent American art style whose painters defined a distinctive vision of America with sweeping depictions of landscapes. The movement shaped the country’s understanding of the natural environment, its national destiny, nature's reflection of the divine, and the desire for touring the nation’s natural wonders. While history impacts the future, it is the moments in our collective present we must consider. Those future effects we will not be able to measure today.

Seeing the landscape, the unique rhythm of various villages, and the sprawling estates of a previous century presents an idyllic spectacle of time long past.

Exploring the shoreline, expansive parks, and the quaint villages along the Hudson River is a simple adventure on which every New Yorker should embark. Seeing the landscape, the unique rhythm of various villages, and the sprawling estates of a previous century presents an idyllic spectacle of time long past. A time in history that has shaped the collective consciousness of American culture. A condition not easily shaken. A model to be questioned and challenged. Each day, in every moment, we each are granted the privilege to challenge the condition of collective culture. Just as Irving’s short stories altered perception and tradition, we must also memorialize moments in our present in order to secure our collective future.


Photo by D. Broward

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