Hudson River Review By the New York Times

New York Times Review by Robert H. Boyle Dec 10, 1995

"No Ordinary Stream: A photographic tour of the ever-changing Hudson. By RobertFew regions in the world compel such strong feelings of attachment and pride of place as the Hudson River Valley. With West Point serving as the American Gibraltar during the Revolutionary War, it gave rise to the independence of this country. With Washing­ton Irving, it inspired the first stirrings of Ameri­can literature, and later the first school or Ameri­can painting, led by Thomas Cole, who declared, "The Hudson for natural magnificence is unsurpassed." That observation was confirmed by his pupil Frederic Church, who wrote of his home overlooking the river: "About an hour this side of Albany is the center of the world - I own it." And upon returning after years of expatriation, Henry James found so much at which to marvel about "this perpetually interesting river" that he wrote, "a decent respect for the Hudson would confine to use of the boat."

 In 1963 the start of an 11-year long fight against Consolidated  Edison's· proposed pumped storage plant on the Hudson at Storm King Mountain helped spark the modern environmental movement. It also brought about the establishment of environ­mental organizations working for the betterment of the Hudson and ready· to oppose any threat to the river, as exemplified by the demise of the $4 billion Westway Project in New York City, which would have had a damaging impact on the striped bass stock. For many people, the theologian Thomas Berry has written, the Hudson "is the ultimate psychic as well the physical context out of which we emerge into being and by which we are nourished, guided, healed and fulfilled."

Picture books about the Hudson have been appearing since the publication of Wade and Croome's "Panorama of the Hudson River Valley" in 1846. But "The Hudson River" - with 250 color photographs by Jake Rajs; a felicitous introduction by Joan K. Davidson, the former commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and an anthology of writings edited by Arthur G. Adams - is the most- hand­some of them all.

The pictures run from the Adirondacks and Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest permanent source of the Hudson, 315 miles downriver to New York Harbor. Some of the great shots, to my eye, include snow geese in the Catskills, Kingston in a snowstorm, a full moon rising over the river, a sunset looking north from Garrison toward West Point and the North Gate of the Hudson Highlands, and the World Trade Center through the fog. As Ms. Davidson writes, "Perhaps most remarkably, here we can almost taste Hudson Valley weather - a striking atmosphere constantly astir: emphatic seasons, grandeur of cloud and sunset, free-flowing waters in river and rain, ever-changing images of land and sky the calm and the storm, the distant view;"

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