North River (Hudson River)   Leave a comment

See also “New York Harbor.”

North River is an alternate name for the southernmost portion of the Hudson River in the vicinity of New York City and northeastern New Jersey. The colonial name for the entire Hudson was given to it by the Dutch in the early seventeenth century, the term fell out of general use for most of the river’s 300+ mile course during the early 1900s.  However it still retains currency as an alternate or additional name among local mariners and others as well as appearing on some nautical chartsand maps. The term is used for infrastructure on and under the river, such as the North River piers, North River Tunnels, and the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

At different times “North River” has referred to the entire Hudson; the approximate 160-mile portion of the Hudson below its confluence with the Mohawk River, which is under tidal influence; the portion of it running between Manhattan and New Jersey; and/or just the short length flowing between Lower Manhattan and Hudson County, New Jersey. Its history is strongly connected to New York Harbor‘s shipping industry, which shifted primarily to Port Newark in the mid-20th century due to the construction of the Holland Tunnel and other river crossings and the advent of containerization.

The names for the lower portion of the river appear to have remained interchangeable for centuries. In 1909, construction of two tunnels projects was under way: one called the North River Tunnels, the other, the Hudson Tubes. That year the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, commemorating the first European to record navigating the river, Henry Hudson, and the first man to use paddle steamer named the North River Steamboat to sail up it, Robert Fulton, was celebrated, leading to controversy over what the waterway should be called.

The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) watercourse that flows from north to south through eastern New York State in the United States. The river begins at Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York. The river flows southward past the state capital at Albany and then eventually forms the boundary between New York City and the U.S. state of New Jersey at its mouth before emptying into Upper New York Bay. Its lower half is a tidal estuary, which occupies the Hudson Fjord. This formed during the most recent North American glaciation over the latter part of the Wisconsin Stage of the Last Glacial Maximum, 26,000 to 13,300 years ago, Tidal waters influence the Hudson’s flow as far north as Troy, New York.

The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609. It had previously been observed by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailing for King Francis I of France in 1524, as he became the first European known to have entered the Upper Bay, but he considered the river to be an estuary. The Dutch called the river the “North River” – with the Delaware River called the “South River” – and it formed the spine of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement of the colony clustered around the Hudson, and its strategic importance as the gateway to the American interior led to years of competition between the English and the Dutch over control of the river and colony.

An aerial view of the Tappan Zee, the longest bridge in New York, photographed in 1979. Construction has begun on its replacement, the first new colossal steel bridge in the New York area since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the 1960s.
Photo Source: Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

This image of the lower Hudson River emptying into NY-NJ Harbor was taken from the Space Shuttle several years ago (photo credit – NASA).

An original 1778 Map of the Colony of New York. The map includes incredible details on the towns and cities in the area, terrain, rivers and streams, and the harbor. The map also includes details on New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and the Country of the Six Nations.
The bay of New York and its great tributary from the north, with the island of Manhattan, upon which part of the city of Greater New York now stands, were discovered by HENRY HUDSON, in the early autumn of 1609. The Indians called the river Mahiccannick, or “River of the Mountains.” The Dutch called it Mauritius, in compliment to Prince Maurice, and the English gave it the name of Hudson River, and sometimes North River, to distinguish it from the Delaware, known as South River. The country drained by the Hudson River, with the adjacent undefined territory, was claimed by the Dutch.


Posted January 20, 2014 by David Polakoff in North River (Hudson River)

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