For those not familiar with Hudson a little history: Hudson was founded by Rhode Island whalers in 1783 who chose the city of Hudson (originally called Claverack Landing) because of its deep bay and port-ready waterfront. At the time Hudson was only a small farming community but the city exploded in wealth and population as one of the nation’s largest whaling ports. Hudson saw the emergence of a number of other industries, including ship building, sail making, rope making, whale and seal fishing, candle making and leather tanning. By 1790, Hudson was the 24th largest city in the United States, coming within one vote of being named the New York state capital.
Hudson continued to prosper into the 1820s, when the businesses began to close. Hudson’s last whaling facility closed in Hudson in 1844. Replacing legitimate business gambling houses and brothels began to pop up. City leaders and corrupt local authorities tolerated these businesses because they brought in revenue lost by industries that had since closed. The mid-1920s saw the peak of the prostitution business in Hudson with 15 whorehouses prospering under the protection of the top levels of City government. Unfortunately for the city state troopers raided the brothels in 1950 and that chapter of Hudson’s life came to an abrupt end.
Hudson went into a steep decline. Historic Warren Street was boarded up and the few businesses couldn’t sustain the town’s economy. However, in the mid-’80s, Hudson’s first major antique center, the Hudson Antiques Center, was opened and others quickly followed. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s Hudson became a world-renowned destination for collectors and decorators alike. As these businesses grew other types of businesses followed and flourished including art galleries, clothing and jewelry shops, restaurants and, most noticeably lodging. The cultural scene also expanded to offer a wide range of entertainment to a broad audience.
At the turn of the 21st century Hudson was well on its way to a full-blown renaissance, business was thriving as more and more people discovered the uniqueness of the town, fueled by articles written in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Travel and Leisure and many other national publications. Throughout the 2000’s Hudson continued thrive economically as more people discovered the city’s diverse cultural activities, artistic venues, and architectural charm.
As Hudson entered the second decade of the 21st century several new enterprises were announced that would continue the renaissance that had begun just a seemingly short time ago. A new restaurant, The Crimson Sparrow, opened in 2012. Chefs John McCarthy and Ben Freemole brought their amazing culinary skills to Hudson to rave reviews and recognition in Bon Appetit and Food and Wine. The announcement of the Marina Abromovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art received worldwide attention in the performance art world as one of the most exciting and ambitious endeavors in the field. Now Hudson looks forward to the opening of Fish & Game, Zak Pelaccio’s (Fatty Crab, Fatty ‘Cue) newest endeavor is eagerly anticipated as is Hudson’s newest bakery Bonfiglio & Bread. As the town used to be the antiques center of the Hudson Valley, Hudson may soon be the destination in the Hudson Valley for fine dining.
Culturally the city boasts Basilica Hudson, a phenomenal performance and event venue; Helsinki Hudson an outstanding dining and performance space located in a former bus garage now offers Helsinki on Broadway cabaret productions featuring some of Broadway’s top talent. Stageworks Hudson offers theatrical performances year round highlighting new work by rising stars in the dramatic field.
Now Hudson has established itself as a cultural, culinary and artistic center that each day attracts new fans and followers. In fact Hudson has it all!