New York: The Shame of the Shatemuc

Compared to the Mississippi or the Missouri, the 306-mile-long Hudson is a whippersnapper waterway. Nonetheless, there is not a river on the continent that surpasses it in natural beauty; the great Karl Baedeker called its vistas "grander and more inspiring" than the Rhine's. Nor has any other American stream earned so rich a place in the nation's history, art and folklore. Yet the Shatemuc, "the water that flows both ways," as the Algonquin Indians called it, today is the most wantonly abused river in the U.S., its banks in many places a...

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