Kingston New York

November 1, 2010

Kingston New York, 91 Miles north of NYC sits just back from the hudson river. Roundout Creek on the south side of town cuts through from the mountains to the Hudson. This used to be an important port for transporting coal mined in Pennsylvania that came through on the Hudson Delaware Canal, to be shipped to NYC. Kingston is located just south of the Kingston/Rhinecliff bridge which connects the West and East sides of the river.


Kingston is home to 22,000  people today, this population has been decreasing annually lately.

The median household income is 45,000 dollars. Lower than the US average by about 10,000.

Mostly white but also has a substantial Black/African American and Latino/Hispanic population.

Roundout Creek a Landmark Historical site.


History: (max)

Industrial Past: (max)

Current Environmental Issues:

In 2002, this county ranked among the dirtier 40% of all counties in the U.S. in terms of land releases.

Listed as the top polluter in Kingston is Hunter Panels LLC, a roofing supply company which emits ozone depleting chemicals, and other neurotoxins, which may be harmful to humans.

The water is not looking so hot either.

The EPA website has 22 sites that report to them listed in kingston on ENVIROMAPPER. Several of which are permitted sites for direct overflow into the hudson. These include a variety of oil storage and treatment plants, ship making businesses industrial machinery manufacture, and others.

There are no Superfund sites in Kingston but there are three in Ulster County, One of which is a privately owned landfill which is surrounded by wetlands, and has high risk levels of migration of chemicals through this body of water. Petroleum Bulk stations on the water fronts are still active, and pose threats to both land and water pollution.

The Emerald Ash Borer

On another note, this little guy above was recently recorded in Ulster county, but is a statewide problem, an invasive insect which is killing Ash trees, which make up 7% of New York’s forests.

History of Kingston, New York

Five years after the Half Moon sailed the Hudson past where Kingston
would eventually be, it is believed that a small trading post had been
erected. By 1652 Dutch settlers purchased land from the Esopus tribe,
naming the village Esopus. Twelve years later the village was no longer
ruled by Holland becoming part of the English colony and was renamed
Kingston. Kingston quickly grew into a farm town shipping wheat up and
down the Hudson.
   In 1777 the state constitution was written, while Albany was
believed to be under threat of being attacked by Burgoyne and his army,
thinking Kingston would be a safe haven, it was chosen as the capital.
Soon after British forces attacked Kingston, cutting off wheat and other
food supplies to George Washington’s soldiers. Most of Kingston’s
infrastructure was burnt down to the ground and destroyed. After the
battle of Saratoga, tables were turned and the war leaned in favor of
the United States. The residents of Kingston soon returned and started
rebuilding the town, one step at a time.
    By 1825 Rondout Creek, later becoming part of Kingston in 1872,
became a popular landing for famers to ship and receive products from
New York City. Rondout eventually was a prominent port for
transportation of coal to New York from Pennsylvania through the
Delaware and Hudson Canal.  The canal created more stimulating growth
for farmers in Kingston and was one of the first large civil engineer
developments. Due to the extreme success and importance to New York and
Kingston the Delaware and Hudson Canal was declared a National Historic
Landmark. Kingston shipped and mined bluestone/cement for most of New
York City’s sidewalks and streets through Rondout Creek. The Canal came
to end in 1898 when railroads began to carry loads directly to New York
excluding Kingston. Soon after the canal was abandoned Delaware and
Hudson solely focused on its rail roads. Business quickly began to fade
as the town was excluded from trade.
   Currently Rondout is considered the historic district, the houses
and business are modeled after the old traditional style creating the
original essence of Kingston.,_NY.jpg


Hudson River School

October 14, 2010

Cauterskill Falls on the Catkill Mountains, Taken from Under the Cavern - 1826


William Guy Wall was born in Ireland in 1792. He was already an established painter and artist by the time of his arrival to the U.S. in 1812. He is known for his painting that show the beauty of the Hudson River Valley, and the Catskills. He later went on to be a founding member of the National Academy of Design in New York.

“Cauterskill Falls on the Catkill Mountains” is a classic representation of Hudson School romantic painting. The focus of the image is framed by the ovular mouth of the waterfall that falls on the left side of the painting into the deep blue pool of water below. The hills are lit with a golden light, and the leaves are beginning to change, echoing the color of the orange and red/brown earth of the cave. The clouds are a multitude of colors, complementing the overlapping hills below them. Most interesting is the people seen in this landscape, one skirting the edge of the cave, mid action, and a couple pointing up at the origin of the waterfall. Like many Hudson River School paintings this shows the ideal of balance between nature and human life, the ability to cultivate and make more beautiful the already rich landscape of the Hudson, and surrounding mountains.

The painting seen above is a view looking out from Kaaterskills falls, on the west side of the Hudson in Catskill Forest. This location is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the country and is seen in many of the Hudson River School paintings. It’s a two level waterfall, that has pools of water perfect for hikers to enjoy after the rough hike up to the top. At the very uppermost point of the falls, the water has carved the bedrock into smooth channels which are lovely to side down into aquamarine pools big enough for one or two people at a time. These glacial rocks, when not covered by high water after a rain also reveal some original America Graffiti. (The oldest I saw was from 1803.) Hundreds of names and initials have been chiseled in the rock, only to be washed away eventually by the cool mountain stream water. As would anyone else who’s been there, I would highly recommend the hike to the top!

Engravings at the top are Semi Visible here.

Best Place to Swim in Summer!!!!

Love it!!!

Metropolis: New York City Water and Transit Infrastructure in Photographs

Over 600 images, primarily original photographs, plus selected published sources, on the themes of traffic, transit and water. The digital collection includes mass transit proposals and projects, dating from 1867; the multi-county Catskill Aqueduct system that still supplies the city’s water; and the pioneering Holland Tunnel for vehicular traffic under the Hudson River.

This is a link to something I stumbled upon when looking through the Digital Collections on the NYPublic Library site. I thought that it might be of interest to the class. Go to the link above and then click on “See All Images” in grey at the top next to the search engine.

Red Hook: Roode Hoek

October 10, 2010

Settled by the dutch in 1636 Roode Hoek was one of the first areas in Brooklyn to be settled. It was named because of the red clay like soil, and because of it’s protruding shape, which cuts into the East River. The area was purchased by from the Mohawk Indians, and settled originally by the Rapelje clan. Joris Jansen Rapelje was part of the Council of 19 who were put in place by the Dutch East India company to advise Williem Kieft. Rapelye st. named after the family was the original location of their settlement. They were living there before Breuckelen was even authorized as a municipality of New Amsterdam in 1646.

Red hook served an important part of the Revolutionary War, as it was a main campground and safety for Washington and his troops during the battle of Brooklyn. This location was used for it’s vantage point on the water, where shots from the American army kept British from landing and overwhelming the already outnumbered Americans in Prospect heights and Gowanus in 1776.

By the 1760’s Red Hook was already a developed village, one of the only ones it’s size in Brooklyn at the time.

By the 1850’s Red hook was one of the busiest ports in the country. Most all of this business has now moved to New Jersey. Much of this boat traffic came from ships bringing grain down from the Erie Canal, where they would be unloaded, or sent up the Gowanus to be processed. From this time until the 1950’s was the peak of residency in the neighborhood. Large housing projects were built in the 1930’s to accommodate the doc workers. These projects are still where the majority of people who call Red Hook home live. After the construction of the Prospect Expressway, and the transfer of most shipments to New Jersey, most people left the neighborhood. It turned to, and is still in many parts industrial ruin. However there are communities of artists, cute cafe’s and little boutiques beginning to pop up in the small cobblestone streets of Red Hook.

Nice photos with a sound piece:

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