Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Hudson at Albany

It's hard to remember now, but back when I was a kid, the Hudson River was sick with pollution. It was a muddy brown color. River fish and other wildlife began to die out. What fish survived were contaminated and fishing was banned. Nobody wanted anything to do with the waterfront. The city that once relied on the river for commerce and transportation turned away from it. A wide interstate highway was built over the old wharves and railroad tracks, cutting the city off from its maritime heritage.

Looking north (upriver) from the park end of the bridge with part of the amphitheater below and to the right.

Environmental movements in the sixties and seventies prompted the state and federal governments to begin reversing the damage that industry and development had done to the river. There's still a long way to go before the river can be declared "clean," but even now the Hudson is blue again and people are coming back to the water. Unfortunately for Albany, the huge interstate highway remains a nearly impenetrable barrier to the urban waterfront.

Looking south (downriver) to the high-rise bridge that connects to the interstate highway along the river's west bank.

In 2002, the city opened a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the interstate to connect downtown to the relatively new Corning Preserve waterfront park. While certainly not an ideal solution, the bridge helps Albany's citizens access the riverfront. The bridge ends at an 1,000-seat amphitheater built into the riverbank which has become a popular venue for summer concerts and festivals. Trails lead north and south through the 15 acre park along the waterfront.

The pedestrian bridge, called Hudson River Way, looking back toward downtown.


  1. now the river looks impressive

  2. The Hudson River is pretty wide here in Albany, its headwaters being only 100 miles upstream.

    1. It would be unusual if the headwaters were downstream! :--)

  3. A former English politician, Michael Portillo I think, makes train travel docos and travelled up the Hudson from New York to Albany and beyond I think. It was very interesting to watch and be seen on Youtube. The history of the Hudson is quite interesting.

  4. I love riding the train between NYC and ALB along the hudson; I can see why franklin roosevelt always wanted to return to hyde park.

  5. gosia, like many rivers around the world, it's beautiful!

    chm, lol! And the mouth is about 150 miles downstream (!) at New York Harbor.

    andrew, cool. I'll have to look that up.

    anne marie, I did that in May! But I didn't take any photos from the train.

  6. IIRC, Portillo had a sequence going round the State government buildings as well, which might well be of interest (couldn't stand his politics in the past, but at least he can't do much damage presenting TV travelogues, which he does quite well).


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