We’ve got the Hudson River, Hudson County – and even the Hudson Reporter. They’re all named for Henry Hudson, the English explorer who in 1609 sailed his ship, the Half Moon, into the waters later known as New York Harbor. He saw what is now Manhattan Island, and made his way up the river now bearing his name to Albany, N.Y.
Local officials, libraries, and tourist boards around the region are planning major celebrations of the journey over the next several months.
Major events planned
Bill LaRosa, Hudson County’s Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism, said his office is working with various organizations across Hudson County to set up events at different locales.
In fact, various agencies are planning to float replicas of historic ships, throw parties, and host cultural exhibits.
Hoboken Director of Cultural Affairs Geri Fallo said her city is working with the Hudson Waterfront Museum, a museum located on a barge in the waters off Red Hook, Brooklyn, to have the museum float over to Hoboken for a series of education programs with the Hoboken school system, and cultural programs of the public. These occur from May 26 through June 4.
David Sharps of the Hudson Waterfront Museum said the barge will be docked in the waters behind the Hoboken train terminal as part of a re-creation of the voyage of Henry Hudson on the Half Moon.
The county will also sponsor a historical exhibit at the William Brennan Courthouse on Newark Avenue in Jersey City, which will look back at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909. That was a two-week celebration in September-October 1909, when New York City and other towns along the Hudson commemorated the 300-year anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River. It was also the centennial of Robert Fulton’s first successful commercial application of the steamboat.
LaRosa said events celebrating Hudson in the county bearing his name are a “matter of pride.”
“We have lost a sense in this county of its rich history, which is so fascinating, and that’s what turns me on,” LaRosa said.
The Hoboken Historical Museum is currently organizing an exhibit from March 1 until December that will look at the Hudson River and its role in the New Jersey/New York region.
Bob Foster, director of the museum, said lecturers will speak on different subjects, including the Lenape Indians, whom Hudson encountered and traded with while traveling up the river.
They will also speak about the changes to the river over the past 400 years, and more recent developments, such as anti-terrorism security measures for the river and even the crash of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in January.
Foster said he hopes to learn more about Henry Hudson’s voyage.
“I can say I know very little about him,” Foster said, “but the fact he did several major voyages and basically didn’t have a lot of provisions, and using the stars. It’s amazing he was so brave.”
During Hudson’s voyage, he reportedly landed in such areas as the current Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City and Weehawken Cove near the Weehawken-Hoboken border.
And it was all an accident, according to The Rev. Thomas M. Murphy, the curate of Grace Church in Madison, N.J.
Murphy, former head of the history department at St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City, wrote an entry on Hudson’s “discovery” of the New York/New Jersey area and the Hudson River for the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy’s 2009 Calendar.
He began learning more about Hudson eight years ago, when he was researching the Dutch origins of Jersey City.
Murphy points out that Hudson, as an explorer working for the Dutch government, was looking for the Northeast Passage leading to Asia.
“It’s sometimes an education issue and every generation has to re-learn about Hudson.” – Thomas Murphy
Murphy said what also fascinated him about Hudson is that he is one of those figures in history who has so much named after him – but people have very little knowledge of him.
“It’s sometimes an education issue, and every generation has to re-learn about Hudson,” Murphy said.
For more information on future Hudson County events, call (201) 459-2070/1-800-542-7894 or www.visithudson.org. For more on city of Hoboken events, call (201) 420-2207 or visit: www.myspace.com/HobokenCulturalAffairs. For information on the Hoboken Historical Museum events, call (201) 656-2240 or visit: http://www.hobokenmuseum.org.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.