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Hudson 400: Henry Hudson’s Historic Voyage

It’s been four centuries since this Dutch explorer discovered the Hudson River. Check out the events slated for the year-long celebrations throughout New York State.

 

On April 4, 1609, Henry Hudson set sail unceremoniously from Amsterdam with a small crew aboard his ship, the Half Moon. In his third attempt to find a passage to China, foul weather forced a detour, bringing the ship to the northeast coast of North America. Sailing along the coast, Hudson and his crew came upon a “a very good harbor for all windes[sic].” The discovery led to the founding of New Amsterdam and, eventually, New York City. Exploring the river that would be named for him, he sailed almost to Albany before reversing course, convinced he would not find the passage he sought.

While he may not have found what he was looking for, 400 years later Henry Hudson’s voyage and discovery is being celebrated with numerous programs, events and exhibitions up and down the Hudson River. Here’s a sampling of some of the best Hudson 400 events throughout the year.

New York City

The New Amsterdam Trail

This tour of Lower Manhattan will be available for download to handheld mobile devices and as a printed brochure available at various tourist sites around the city. Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, narrates the tour with stops at New York Harbor (speculating on the exact spot where Hudson dropped anchor), Fort Amsterdam (now the site of the Museum of the American Indian) and The Singel (the northern edge of Dutch Manhattan). May 1 to Dec. 31, 2009. Lower Manhattan. Visit www.henryhudson400.com for more information.

The Glory of Dutch Bulbs: A Legacy of 400 Years 

Inspired by the grand gardens of Holland, this Dutch bulb flower show at the New York Botanical Garden will feature over 50,000 bulbs, with a concentration on lilies and tulips. The “crowning glory” will be the rare Dutch tulip Tulipa ‘Duc van Tol’ the oldest in the Netherlands’ historic collection. May 1 to June 7, 2009. New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard, Bronx. Tel. 718-817-8700. Admission: $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $1 for children ages 2 to 12, free for children under 2. Open Tue. to Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.nybg.org

Dutch Barges on the Hudson

Dutch flat-bottom boats (distinctive low-slung skutsjes, fishing boats and barges) will sail into New York Harbor. The boats are similar to those that sailed along the Dutch coast during the 17th century and the first ships constructed in New York. A grand naval parade, a flotilla of lighted ships and a sail upriver are all planned. Sept. 1 to 20, 2009. New York Harbor, New York. For more information and to confirm dates of specific events, visit www.henryhudson400.com or e-mail NY2009@spts.nl for more information about the fleet.

New Amsterdam Village

Traditional Dutch canal houses, open-air stages and windmills will be constructed to present a traditional version of Holland (yes, wooden shoemaking included). For a more contemporary portrait, a greenhouse will demonstrate innovations and energy-saving technologies developed in the Netherlands, a global leader in the industry. Sept. 5 to 15, 2009. Bowling Green Park, Broadway and Beaver streets, New York. www.ny400.org

New Amsterdam Festival

This one-time-only performance art festival will bring together 150 artists from the Netherlands and New York to create art installations, open-air performance and other art projects. Governors Island will become a temporary art colony, including the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, a temporary theater street with nostalgic theater tents, bars, restaurants and an antique merry-go-round. Sept. 10 to 20, 2009. Governors Island, New York. In late March, more information will be available at www.newamsterdamfestival.com.

The Island at the Center of the World

The exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum features important (and “visually exciting”) 17th century New York maps and documents from the Dutch National Archives and public and private collections. The highlight is a letter from Pieter Schaghen, dated Nov. 5, 1626, in which, amongst a list of items, the purchase of Manhattan for 60 guilders is noted. Historians have stated Native Americans viewed the agreement as a leasing of the land, not a sale. Sept. 14 to Dec. 31, 2009. South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St., New York. Tel. 212-748-8725. Admission: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, $5 for children ages 5 to 12, free for children under 5. Open Tue. to Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Mon. www.henryhudson400.com. For more information on the museum, visit www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org.

Albany

Hudson River Panorama: 400 Years of Art, History and Culture

The Hudson 400 is a year-long exhibition dedicated to Hudson’s voyage and the history of the region. Artwork, artifacts and interactive displays from the Albany Institute of History & Art’s collections serve to show the influence of the Hudson on the region, from settlement to industrial growth to culture. Feb. 7, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010. Albany Institute of History & Art, 125 Washington Ave., Albany. Tel. 518-463-4478. Admission: $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6 to 12, free for children under 6. Open Wed. to Fri., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun. 12 to 5 p.m. www.albanyinstitute.org

Henry Hudson Planetarium Saturday Star Shows 

The morning children’s show here offers an interactive program exploring the night’s sky along with Henry Hudson himself (in puppet form) who explains how he used the stars to navigate. The afternoon show focuses on much the same (minus the puppet Henry) and tips for amateur astronomers.

March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19, 2009. Henry Hudson Planetarium, Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, 25 Quackenbush Square, Albany. Tel. 518-434-0405. Admission: $3. Children’s Star Show 11 a.m., Albany Star Sighting 1 p.m. www.albany.org

Albany’s 400th Anniversary Celebration 

The celebration of Albany’s discovery at Riverfront Park is meant to pay tribute to the city’s history and transport visitors back to the 17th century. Highlights include tours of a full-scale replica of the Half Moon, blacksmiths explaining their craft, artist demonstrations of traditional techniques, musical and dance performances, and even a giant drum circle at sunset. Sept. 26, 2009. Albany Riverfront Park at the Corning Preserve, Albany. Tel. 518-434-2032. Admission: free. www.albanyevents.org

Westchester County and Other Hudson Valley Sites

Walking on Air: The Grand Opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson 

The opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson, which will in essence turn the bridge into a park and trailway will include a “Grand Illumination” with the release of hot-air lanterns and fireworks, followed by the official opening ceremony the next day, with bands, a parade, jet-ski ballet, a fly-over by the Olde Rhinebeck Aerodrome and more. Oct. 2 to 4, 2009. Mid-Hudson Quad point between the towns of Poughkeepsie and Highland. Tel. 845-454-9649. www.walkway.org

Namesake Celebration

The Namesake Celebration in the city of Hudson (the only city along the river to bear Henry Hudson's name), is a celebration of the famous Dutch explorer's historic journey with a parade, tours of a Half Moon replica, music and fireworks in Waterfront Park. July 25 to 26, 2009. Tel. 518-828-3378 or e-mail thruston@mhonline.ne

Peekskill Quadricentennial Celebration

The Peekskill Celebration, usually held the first weekend of August, will move to September as it joins forces with the city’s Hudson River Quadricentennial to become the Peekskill Quadricentennial Celebration 2009. The week-long, family-friendly event will include a concert, the illumination of historic downtown buildings, dragon boat races, fireworks and tours of the Half Moon to see what life was life aboard the ship during the 1609 voyage up the Hudson River. Sept. 7 to 13, 2009. Charles Point Park. Tel. 914-736-2000. www.peekskillcelebration.com

Burning of Kingston

The Burning of Kingston in Ulster County reenacts the city’s destruction at the hands of the British who burned Kingston down in October 1775 during the Revolutionary War. Anyone can participate in the reenactment, which starts on Kingston's shores and moves to the Stockade District where the main attack occurred. Oct. 16 to 18, 2009. Tel. 800-331-1518. www.ci.kingston.ny.us

Hudson River Lighthouse Tours

The northernmost lighthouse on the Hudson River is the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse in Athens. There are scheduled tours the second Saturday of each month from July to October from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving visitors a peek into the life of the Brunner family, the last family to live at the lighthouse. Tel. 518-828-5294 or www.hudsonathenslighthouse.org

Tours of the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse in Kingland Point Park, on the National Register of Historic Places, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on the following select Sundays: April 5 and 19; May 3, 17 and 31; June 14 and 28; July 12 and 26; and Aug. 9 and 23. Tel. 914-631-1440.

Quadricentennial Sleep Specials

Several hotels in Westchester County are offering anniversary discounts throughout 2009. Sample rates: Westchester Marriott (Tarrytown), $159 to $189 per night; Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center, $169 per night, select weekends; Peekskill Inn, 10 percent discount, with rates starting at $117 per night; Hilton Rye Town, 10 percent discount, (code quad09); The Esplanade White Plains, $99.99 for a studio room (code WPQR). See more at tourism.westchestergov.com.


Destinations: New York City, Albany

Themes: Art and Museums, Family Travel, Historical Vacations

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Museums, Sightseeing


User Comments

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Thank you! This was very helpful. This little well written piece has me wanting to do this trip! And maybe throw in Cooperstown.

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