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Head of Hudson - History

For many port cities at the turn of the century, rowing played an important part of recreation and entertainment. It was a sport for the common man where people would gather at the shores to cheer on their local competitors. Albany, whose history is tied to the Hudson River, is no exception. In many cities, the interest waned due to World War I and changing priorities. Yet the City of Albany had resurgence from the 1980s into the 90s while Thomas Whalen III was Mayor of Albany. He was an avid sculler and put the structure and support that inspired one of the largest east coast rowing competitions at that time – the Empire State Regatta. At its most popular, the Empire State Regatta pulled in as many as 100,000 people to the shores of the Hudson, while athletes competed for a coveted spot on the US National team. Rowing is a natural sport for the city, with its rich tradition of boating and connection with the water and the assiduity of its people and is an integral part of the identity of the Capital City.

This year marks the 35th anniversary for the Head of the Hudson Regatta, with viewing possible at many points along the course. Competing rowers begin at a start point north of the I-90 Bridge, upstream of the Albany Boat Shed at the Corning Preserve on the Hudson River and, one after the other, race south to finish at the Riverfront Amphitheatre at Jennings Landing. The fastest time in each race event determines the winner.