Monday, September 21, 2009

Recreating Hudson's North River Journey Of 1609

video
video associated with an article by COREY KILGANNON in the nytimes
an excerpt
I NEVER thought much about the Hudson River. It was merely that watery western terminus of Manhattan streets; a place where bodies sometimes floated up and jetliners crashed safely; that thing you had to cross to get to New Jersey.
But one recent Saturday, something happened to make me rethink the river: I tasted it.
A rogue ferry wake slapped off the side of my kayak, sending salty splash in my face. There was no gagging nor immediate sign of hepatitis, so I kept paddling, marveling at the swimmers and Jet Skiers frolicking on the clean, choppy water.
The incoming tide rushed me north. That and my briny mouthful reminded me that I was not on some afterthought of a river, but a majestic arm of the Atlantic Ocean, an epic salt-water estuary whose discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609 opened up the entire region — what we now call the metropolitan area — to settlement and commerce.
To mark this year’s 400th anniversary of Hudson’s historic exploration, the fall calendar is filled with a flotilla of festivals and food fairs, exhibitions and expositions, panel discussions and plays, tours, readings and concerts. I probably won’t make it to any of them.
Instead, I decided to retrace his route, starting in a borrowed kayak and then hitching rides along the way, endeavoring a modern-day exploration of the characters who live, work and play along the river where Hudson encountered only wind, fog, rain and the occasional Indian trader bearing tobacco. He sailed 340 miles round trip aboard the 100-foot Half Moon over 24 days in September and October; mine was a serendipitous 60-hour journey — from Times Square to the Federal Dam in Troy — in a taxi, the kayak, a 50-foot yacht named the Jackpot, a fishing boat, a jet boat, a rescue craft, a Half Moon replica and a 19-year-old Lincoln Town Car.

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