Flowing for hundreds of miles through the state of New York, the Hudson River empties into the mouth of the New York Harbor. For centuries, this waterway has played a vital role in colonial and American commerce. Today, the scenic Hudson River is one of the most precious natural resources in the New York City metropolitan area.
Sightseeing and Geography
From the Bronx to Manhattan, the Hudson River precisely defines the western borders of New York City. Both of these boroughs are located along the eastern bank of the river. There are dozens of great observation points that overlook the river and the neighboring communities in New Jersey. Stretching for dozens of blocks, the relatively narrow Riverside Park is one of Manhattan’s premier waterfront parks. This urban green space has several miles of promenades and trails that are nested between the water and dense trees.
Located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is perhaps one of the most visited attractions on the Hudson River. As the name implies, this museum is housed in a former naval battleship. The piers surrounding the museum offer cruises for local and long-distance sightseeing. Commercial cruise liners are based at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the northeastern region of the nation.
Located near Pier 62, the Chelsea Piers Complex is another top attraction on the Hudson River. This body of water flows into the New York Harbor near the southern tip of Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are some famous landmarks that are located at the mouth of the river.
Long before Europeans sailed into the New World, the Hudson River was an important waterway for various Native American tribes. In the early 1600s, Henry Hudson navigated this river as part of an expedition that was funded by a wealthy Dutch company. This English explorer sailed hundreds of miles northward in search of a channel into the Pacific Ocean. Consequently, the river was eventually named after this ambitious and skilled navigator.
During colonial times, the river served as an important trading route for Dutch, French, and British forces. In early American history, the Hudson River also played a key role in the expansion of the nation. In fact, it was connected with the Erie Canal as part of an ambitious infrastructure project for trade and commerce. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the eastern and western banks of the Hudson River were heavily developed with residential and commercial properties. Today, this waterway runs past some of the most iconic skyscrapers in North America.
The New York Waterway operates ferries that cross the Hudson River as part of commuter service between New Jersey and Manhattan. Some stops on the eastern shore of the river include Midtown/39th Street and The Battery City. Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken in NJ are home to busy terminals that are served by the New York Waterway.
Some of the piers in Manhattan also have docks and terminals that accommodate charter cruises. Most of the private routes go into the New York Harbor and the East River. Due to the high traffic of commercial marine traffic, recreational boating is limited and heavily regulated on the Hudson River. However, some of the suburban communities north of Manhattan have marinas that offer great accommodations for boating. When it comes to car traffic, the George Washington Bridge is by far the busiest crossing over the river.
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