Special Sub-Topic: The Mighty Hudson River
|The Hudson River is smaller than many other famous American rivers, like the Mississippi or the Ohio. How long is the Hudson River?|
315 miles. Oddly enough, this natural waterway, from the southern tip of Manhattan to its origin in the Adirondacks, is smaller than the man-made, artificial waterway that links it to Lake Erie; the Erie Canal is over 350 miles long.
|In 1900, Frank Bannerman purchased a small island in the middle of the Hudson River and built an impressive castle/fortress there. Although it is uninhabited, many people stop their cars to look at this marvelous structure. And they ask themselves the question I am asking you: Why did Frank Bannerman build a castle in the middle of the Hudson River?|
To prevent people from stealing his vast stockpile of weapons. Frank Bannerman made a fortune out of buying surplus army goods that originally were going to be melted down for scrap. He realized that they had more value at resale than as scrap metal. Then he went ahead and purchased gunpowder in huge quantities. It therefore became necessary to find a secure place to store everything so that these volatile substances wouldn't be stolen.
|When Henry Hudson, for whom the river is named, discovered the Hudson River in 1609, he was not looking to settle in The New World. What was Hudson looking for?|
A western passage to the orient. Henry Hudson didn't live long enough to see how important his discovery was. On his next voyage, his crew mutinied and set him, his teenage son John, and seven loyal crewmen adrift in a small open boat in icy Canadian waters. They were given no food or water, and they were never heard from again.
|True or false: the Hudson River flows in two directions.|
T. While tides from the Atlantic compel the river to flow north, its official origin at Lake Tear of the Clouds pushes currents south. That was why the local Indian tribes called it "Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk", meaning "the water that moves both ways".
|This famous place overlooking the Hudson started out as a military post in the 18th Century. In 1802, it was established as a Federal military academy. What place am I talking about?|
West Point. West Point is the oldest military academy in the United States and the oldest continuously occupied military post in America. Over the years it produced some of America's most notable military men, such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, George Patton, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
|In the mid-19th Century, a group of men formed the Hudson River school. What was it?|
None of these. The Hudson River school wasn't an actual structure or house of learning. It was an art movement that celebrated the power and glory of nature. Because New York City was becoming so populated, industrialized and polluted, artists like Thomas Cole sought comfort in the Hudson Valley area, and created works depicting man and nature living in pastoral harmony.
|Scholars don't always agree on the true origins of the Hudson River. However, New York State officially acknowledges only one place as being its origin. What is it?|
Lake Tear of the Clouds. Located in Essex County, the beautiful Lake Tear of the Clouds is both the highest lake in the state and the highest source of the Hudson River. Its name was coined by Verplanck Colvin in 1872; he called it "a minute, unpretending, tear of the clouds - as it were - a lovely pool shivering in the breezes of the mountains."
|Most people don't realize that the Hudson River was the site of several key battles during the American Revolution. In order to defend Manhattan, the Continental Army built forts on both sides of the river. Fort Lee was the one in New Jersey. What was the name of the fort on Manhattan?|
Fort Washington/Fort Tryon. During fierce fighting to defend the fort, American soldier John Corbin was killed by a British bullet. His wife, Margaret, took his place at his cannon, loaded and fired it, making her the first woman to fight in the U.S. Army. The Americans eventually surrendered the fort.
|When the Dutch occupied New York State, they settled two cities on the Hudson: Nieuw Amsterdam and Beverwyck. Nieuw Amsterdam is now New York City. What is the modern name for Beverwyck?|
Albany. Albany, New York is the state's capital. It is also the fourth oldest continually-inhabited city and the second oldest chartered city in the United States.
|The great Erie Canal which linked Lake Erie to the Hudson and onward to Europe created an incredible economic expansion for the young nation. The cost of moving goods between the East Coast and the Midwest states was drastically reduced, as was the amount of time it took. It was an extraordinary accomplishment. What little known but impressive fact about the Erie Canal makes it even more extraordinary?|
It was finished under budget and ahead of schedule. Although construction was slow at the onset, engineers and laborers soon figured out ways to speed it along. Once that was accomplished, vendors began transporting goods along the portion of the canal that was useable. The collected tolls actually helped the canal pay for itself before it was completed!
|While the George Washington Bridge is probably the best known bridge to span the Hudson, there is another longer bridge (1,212 feet) that crosses the Hudson at its widest point. What is the name of this bridge?|
The Tappan Zee Bridge. This beautiful cantilever bridge links South Nyack and Tarrytown, New York. Its unusual name derives from two languages: Tappan is the name of a Native American tribe that occupied the region, and Zee is the Dutch word for "wide expanse of water".
|Unfortunately, the Hudson River suffered from the terrible effects of pollution and the dumping of chemicals into its waters. Today, the river is remarkably cleaner and sea life is returning. Which controversial son of a famous politician has helped in cleaning up the Hudson River?|
Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr.. In 1984, Robert Kennedy, Jr. was hired as the chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson. He has also has served as a Clinical Professor of Environmental Law and co-director of the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law. The Hudson's recovery is celebrated in John Waldmans book, "Heartbeats in the Muck".
|Commuters from New Jersey who don't want to fight the traffic on the George Washington Bridge rely on a rail system called the PATH system. This subway-like rail line runs beneath the Hudson, linking New Jersey with Manhattan. What does PATH stand for?|
Port Authority Trans-Hudson. Most commuters don't realize that the PATH system is just as old as the New York subway system; it opened in 1909. The PATH line that ran to the World Trade Center was closed after the September 11, 2001 attack, but a temporary station opened in 2003 bringing the PATH back to lower Manhattan. A new $2 billion transportation hub, which will include the PATH, is being built as part of the New World Trade Center Complex.
|Speaking of tunnels under the Hudson River, most people know about the Lincoln Tunnel which connects 42nd Street in Manhattan with Weehawken, New Jersey. But there is another, older, vehicular tunnel further downtown. People may assume its name is a tribute to the Dutch who settled Manhattan, but it was really named after the tunnel's Chief Engineer who died before its completion. It is known as the ___________ Tunnel.|
Holland. The Holland Tunnel was named after the Chief Engineer, Clifford M. Holland. His design was one of the earliest examples of ventilated tunnels.
|The Hudson in the movies! Over the centuries, the New York docks along Hudson were among the busiest in the world. In the 20th century, unfortunately, organized crime infiltrated the docks and the longshoremen who worked on them. What movie focused on organized crime's corruption of the longshoremen on the Hudson docks?|
On the Waterfront. Loosely based on a true story, "On the Waterfront" was directed by Elia Kazan, and starred Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb. Trivia fact: The film was shot on the other side of the Hudson River, in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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