Friday, March 15, 2019

HUDSON RISING: 200 YEARS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE: Review By Polly Guerin

William Wade, Panorama, 1847
The lore and legends of the mighty Hudson River served as inspiration for legions of artists including Thomas Cole, and writers who captured the river in paintings, drawings, literature and photographs, and surveyors and scientists have mapped and measured its every parcel, forever romancing its legendary history.
       But the Hudson River is much more than a body of
water. It has been home, not only for people, but hundreds of species of fish, birds, and plants, a landscape so rich when first discovered they came to plunder and then came enlightenment and conservation. Today, the movement to protect nature is called "environmentalism." Image: William Wade, Panorama of the Hudson Rive from New York to Waterford, ca. 1847. New York Historical Society Library.
      This spring, The New York Historical Society presents HUDSON RISING, a unique exhibition that explores 200 years of ecological change and environmental activism along "the most interesting river in America" through artifacts and the celebrated Hudson River School of paintings.  
       On view through August 4, 2019, HUDSON RISING  we learn that the Hudson River flows from the Adirondack Mountains 315 miles south to the bay between New York City and New Jersey, where it meets the Atlantic ocean. Five paintings by Thomas Cole at the entrance to the exhibit, tell a story about the rise and fall of the mighty Hudson empire.       
JOURNEYS UP RIVER: The river was lush, it was brimming with oysters and in its heyday oysters were shipped worldwide and in abundance in New York's Fulton Fish Market. With the  explosion of New York's population at the turn of the century and its commercial activities, including severe overfishing, the areas in and around New York were now highly polluted. Yields from the oyster beds atrophied, and questions arose about the safety of shellfish.    
Robert Havell, Jr.'s 'View from Hudson River
In the 1800's mighty Hudson was like a magnet luring steamboat and armchair travelers from New York City pointing out the landscape's natural wonders, Hudson Valley industries, notable individuals, and Revolutionary War sites along the way. Hudson River School art on display include Image: Robert Havell Jr.'s 'View from Hudson River from near Sing, Sing, New York, ca. 1850, oil on canvas. Purchase: Watson Fund. 1971.

THE ADIRONDACKS: 1870s-1890s examines the creation ofAdirondack Park, established to save the source of the river and combat deforestation in order to protect the viability of the entire Hudson watershed. Then, too, Seneca Ray Stoddard'a photograph images of deforestation made a strong case for forest conversation and protection of the Adirondack wilderness. THE PALISADES: 1890s-1950s In the late 1800s, the Palisades cliffs were being blasted to bit by road builders, Citizen activists, such as the New Jersey chapter of the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, fought back and helped create Palisades park in 1909. The throngs arrived and outdid themselves in 1920 when over two million people visited the park. This is a breathtaking exhibition and includes THE HUDSON HIGHLANDS and the final section A RISING TIDE: TODAY discusses the process of reimagining and reclaiming the Hudson River in the 21st century with conservation and environmentalism at its core.  Image: George Henry Boughton (1883-1905) Hudson Valley from Fort Putnam, West Point 1855. Oil on Canvas. New York Historical Society. Gift of John V. Irwin and William F Irwin.   
Boughton's Hudson Valley 1855
PROGRAMMING;  Several events include May 22, Douglas Brinkley, New York Historical's presidential historian, explores how presidents like Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt championed the protection of the nation's natural treasures.  For program details an family activities visit www.nyhistory.org. 
                 Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I'm overwhelmed by the lore and legends of the majestic Hudson River and count the many times I have traveled on Metro North cruising along as the train passes the sights at a speed of historical significance.  Fan mail welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.


     
       

        

1 comment:

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