Sails, celebration in honor of Henry Hudson

September 8, 2009 2:54:10 PM PDT
It has been 400 years since Henry Hudson explored the river that now bears his name.On Tuesday, an international flotilla of ships sailed into New York Harbor to launch a weeklong anniversary celebration of the explorer's arrival in 1609.

It is quite a history lesson for so many people in our area.

The Hudson River was originally called the North River many years ago.

A 100-foot replica vessel called the Half Moon seamlessly takes you back to the year 1609, when Henry Hudson and a crew of 20 set sail.

"It's extraordinary," captain Chip Reynolds said. "Hudson was right here at this spot 400 years ago."

To celebrate the occasion, Reynolds and his crew are participating in "NY400 week," commemorating Hudson's exploration of our area.

"It is the most compelling untold stories in American history," Reynolds said. "The Dutch made the only settlement in North America that was multicultural."

Mayor Bloomberg and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kicked off the celebration at 9 a.m. Tuesday, with a welcoming ceremony at the Intrepid.

It was followed with a 21-gun salute at 9:15 a.m. by a Dutch naval ship.

"We want to show New York what we have to offer in terms of culture, economy and financial system," Dutch Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans said.

So as Capt. Reynolds led the convoy of historic ships up the Hudson river early this morning, he says he won't take it for granted and couldn't if he tried.

"When you come in through the narrows, no matter if there is a bridge now and wasn't 400 years ago or whether you see Manhattan, you still get a thrill," he said.

Of course there will be a host of other activities associated with this week as we remember Henry Hudson's exploration of New York.

Amongst the guests are Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince of the Netherlands and his wife, Princess Maxima.

They are scheduled take a helicopter up the river to West Point to visit with cadets. Then the couple will head to Albany for a private tour of a quadricentennial exhibit at the State Museum and a meeting with Gov. David Paterson.

The Henry Hudson 400 Foundation has launched a Web map porject that animates 17th-century exploration with the help of Google's 21st-century digital mapping technology. Designers have taken a selection of rare maps and documents and overlaid them onto contemporary Google maps of the same areas. The maps can be found at HenryHudson400.com/

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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