New Year’s Day marked the start of New York’s Quadricentennial celebration commemorating 400 years of history on the Hudson River, New York Harbor and Lake Champlain. This year, New York honors the 400th anniversaries of the voyage of Captain Henry Hudson, who led (for the Dutch) the first European expedition to sail up the river that now bears his name, as well as the voyage of Samuel de Champlain, the first to discover the namesake lake. Communities from the Big Apple to the Canadian border are preparing events and projects to highlight New York’s rich history of exploration and discovery.
To celebrate these simultaneous 400th anniversaries as well as the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s maiden steamboat journey up the Hudson River, New York State is planning a yearlong series of events, programs and projects that highlight the discovery of New York and the State’s Dutch, French, and English roots and heritage.
The Quadricentennial slogan is: New York’s 400th-Celebrating the past, planning for the future.
Among the Quadricentennial events planned are the Knickerbocker Ice Festival at Rockland Lake State Park, a panel discussion at the Museum of Natural History, and River Day, which will include the Commemorative Relay Flotilla on June 6. The flotilla will be led by boats out of New York City, tracing Henry Hudson’s path to Albany. The flagships include the famous Onrust, Clearwater, Woody Guthrie, the Mystic and the Half Moon, with a Coast Guard escort. To celebrate River Day, there will be activities for everyone along the river, at boat and yacht clubs,
cultural institutions and museums.
The NYS Quadricentennial Legacy Projects include the full restoration of the historic Crown Point Lighthouse on Lake Champlain and the transformation of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Additionally, the State is installing eco docks along the Hudson River, to expand access to the river for boaters and fishermen. The State is also working on many collaborative projects and events with the Dutch Consulate in New York, including a planned visit by members of the Royal Family later in the year.
Many more events commemorating the Quadricentennial are planned for 2009, including the Hudson Valley 400th! Food Expo, Macy’s Quadricentennial July 4th,Tulip Mania at the New York Botanical Garden, the Festival of Nations and Crown Point Historic Site Opening, Governors Island Dutch Festival, H209 Water Conference at Liberty Science Center, Four Freedoms Medals at FDR Historic Site, International Stamp Expo for New York’s 400th, 2009 Voyage of Discovery, Commissioning of the USS New York, New Amsterdam Week, Barges from Holland, Dutch Royals visit, 400 Years of History Conference with Marist College, and New York Harbor Day.
For a detailed listing and description of these events and projects, visit the NYS Quadricentennial website at: www.exploreny400.com.