From its crystal headwaters at Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains to its majestic embrace by the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of New York Bay, the Hudson River is not only one of America’s greatest waterways. The river and its valley are among America’s greatest treasures—home to unrivaled natural beauty and a rich historic legacy that lives on in the great cities and small towns that line its shores.
In this fascinating book, a leading historian takes us on a different kind of journey up the Hudson. George J. Lankevich has chosen 64 postcards—most from the first half of the 20th century—to chronicle the changing landscape of the Hudson Valley. North from the gritty riverfront factories of Yonkers, past the towering bluffs of the Palisades, we travel upstream, stopping to sample the remarkable variety of the river’s changing course.
Here’s a rich portfolio of scenes that convey the extraordinary vitality of Hudson Valley history—from stately mansions at Hyde Park and Pocantico Hills to the small river ports that sent bricks and grain down to New York City. There’s West Point, strong on its stone embankment, and, nearby, relaxed scenes of vacationers taking a cruise on one of the historic day boats.
Lankevich’s concise, colorful narrative of the four-hundred-year legacy of Henry Hudson’s discovery flows as smoothly as these snapshot chronicles of a past that still resonates today. River of Dreams is an essential guide to the spirit of a great place—a must for visitors and locals alike.
Praise for George J. Lankevich
“Gives readers a walking tour of Manhattan, from Battery Park to the top of the island via a terrific set of vintage and contemporary postcards . . . the result is an unusual perspective on a much-vaunted metropolis.”—Publishers Weekly (on Postcards from Manhattan)
“Here, as in New York itself, may be found everything and everyone.”—The New York Times Book Review (on New York: A Short History)
“Lankevich has done the near-impossible and packed almost four centuries of New York City into one slim history . . . a deft survey.”—New York History (on New York: A Short History)
Lankevich, George J., "The River of Dreams: The Hudson Valley in Historic Postcards" (2006). History. Paper 8.