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H . . Hudson and Holland aka H&H. This year mention of H&H in and around the sixth boro happens so frequently that a friend has phrased it as the Dutch re-conquest of the erstwhile New Amsterdam. And I like it. After all, my Dutch identity feels at least as strong as my American one; in fact, I’m a hyphenated person: feeling neither wholly Dutch nor American but some sort of fishfowl or fowlfish in between. About Hudson, an important detail that gets lost is that our river is NOT the first place of “first contact” for Hudson, crew, and Half Moon. That place is shown in the next three fotos. Guess where?
Four hundred years ago–July 17, 1609–Hudson came ashore in this rivermouth looking for a tree suitable as a new foremast; in their stormy crossing in June 1609, they’d lost their foremast overboard.
The landscape has changed little in 400 years here, I wager.
Here’s another clue to the location: where Henry came looking for a mast, a famous American watercolorist who died earlier this year at age 91 came looking for landscapes and people to paint. His initials: AW. Seeing this pristine beauty, I wonder why Hudson would sail on . . . except that a quest obsessed him.
The above three fotos come compliments of Lisa, who grew up on the banks of the St George River near Cushing, Maine, adoptive home of the Wyeths. In fact, last Sunday when she took the foto, she inadvertently wandered onto Wyeth land; after she snapped these shots, she was asked to leave. The foto below shows the current Half Moon replica leaving Rondout Creek about a month ago. A noteworthy event that happened on the St George River 400 years ago is that Henry Hudson had his first contact with the native Algonquins, for whom Hudson’s visit was just another in a series of contacts with Europeans that dated back over a century . . . possibly many centuries. Lamentable is the fact that Hudson’s thoughts on that first contact are unknown. The existing log entries–written by Half Moon‘s mate–Robert Juet–are unflattering, oblivious to the natives’ perspective. Whether Hudson subscribed to the same notions as Juet will remain a mystery unless a Hudson journal turns up.
Talking H&H . . . the latter H more relevant here . . . here’s Sandy Hook Pilots’ other station boat, No. 2 New Jersey, built in the province of South Holland by Damen Shipyards. Info thanks to Les in his comment here.
H&H . . . some of you might consider Henry Hudson just another Eurocentric explorer who, encountering any non-Euro group, would immediately assume his own cultural superiority. And maybe he was. But what if he was not. What if he was so obsessed with his quest for a shorter route to China–a civilization that produced stuff desired by the European consumer–that he was different, that he was willing to see the inhabitants of the beautiful inlet as peers? Given how things turned out for Hudson, he surely was at odds with much of the crew. Given how it turned out for the Algonquins, it was unfortunate that Eurocentrics dominated. Indulge Henry’s thoughts here.
Fotos not taken by Lisa by Will Van Dorp. Remember, click on a foto to expand it.
Off gallivanting tomorrow.
Check out Ian Chadwick’s Hudson story here.