It’s hard to imagine that we owe our fair city — and state — to the insubordinate wanderings of a Brit in the pay of Dutch taskmasters, a sailor chasing mariners’ centuries-old dream of a shorter route to the Orient.
Yet 400 years ago, Henry Hudson encountered bad weather off Norway and, despite orders to return to Amsterdam, opted for a 3,000-mile detour to America instead.
Needless to say it was one slow — and lost — boat to China. But he did chance upon “a very good harbor for all windes,” and a river that would eventually bear his name. Hudson’s happy accident gave quick rise to Nieuw Amsterdam and, ultimately, the Big Apple.
Modern New Yorkers can tip their caps to Hudson’s pluck and celebrate the quadricentennial of his epic adventure this spring, summer and fall — while discovering the many beautiful facets of the present-day Hudson Valley.