Site #9 Mount Merino and the Catskills (from Promenade Hill Park, Hudson, NY)
Introduction by Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
By the time Hudson River School landscape painter Sanford R. Gifford painted Mount Merino and the Catskill Mountains from his hometown of Hudson, the once fourth-largest city in New York State was undergoing dramatic changes that would alter strikingly the river shoreline on which it was founded. Established by Nantucket whaling families (among others), who included ancestors of the artist's mother, Hudson saw its original whaling industry give way to textiles, brick-making and iron-founding, the business that Gifford's father turned to in the 1820s (the decade in which the artist was born). In 1849 Elihu Gifford helped establish the Hudson Iron Company, built on rocks piled in South Bay. Along with the opening in 1851 of the Hudson River Railroad line, whose track ran from the foot of Mount Merino across South Bay to the city, the Hudson Iron Company led the development requiring the gradual filling in of South Bay in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Today, Gifford's view of Mount Merino—on whose summit he was said to have decided to beome a landscape painter—is impossible to enjoy from where he sketched it in 1864, on the former Bay Road (on the left in his picture), today Route 9G, looking to Greenport. Gifford may well have foreseen the changes his father helped to effect, and sought to preserve pictorially the pastoral charm of the location he knew as a boy. For his sketches he chose a standpoint on the road east of the iron works, and simply omitted the line of the elevated railroad track transecting the bay. Fortunately, Hudson's founders in 1785 planned what became Promenade Hill expressly as a park from which the citizenry could admire the panorama of the harbor, the river, and the mountains. From its height modern viewers can still enjoy a semblance of the prospect Gifford painted at least eleven times.
Plan Your Trip
Visit their Website
Meets most ADA standards and has few barriers. Some visitors with disabilities may need some assistance
Open all seasons
8am to dusk
Map & Directions
Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.256215 Lat., -73.797097 Long.
Location Notes: Promenade Park (also called Parade Hill) is at the foot of Warren Street, in the heart of the City of Hudson, accessible from the south on Routes 9 and 9G/23B, from the north on Routes 9 and 66, and from the east on Route 23/23B. After arriving in the city of Hudson, drive down to the end of Warren Street, towards the river, and park on the street. The park begins with a flight of stairs where Warren and Front Street intersect. Climb the stairs, turn left along the path at the flag pole, and follow it to the scenic overlook onto the Hudson River, looking south.
Photography / Painting Credit
Sanford Robinson Gifford. South Bay, on the Hudson, near Hudson, New York. Oil on canvas, 1864, 12 ½ x 25 ½ in. Private Collection, Courtesy of Garzoli Gallery & Joel B. Garzoli Fine Art.
Kevin Avery. View from Promenade Park, Hudson, NY. Photograph, 19 May 2012. Courtesy of Kevin Avery.