From 1863 to 1948, the Hudson River Day Line transported passengers along the Hudson River to points between New York City and Albany. Known for the elegance and speed of its steamboats, the Day Line was a popular way to travel, whether you were off on a day’s outing, embarking on a summer retreat, or just needed to reach a destination downriver. I can remember boarding the steamship Robert Fulton, which plied the waters between Albany and New York and closely resembled its sister ship, the Alexander Hamilton (seen above), which carried tourists from New York City to Bear Mountain in its day.
Bob, I have a few fragmented memories of the Day Line, and I’m sure, as a big brother, you can embellish on those memories. Feel free to fill in the blanks. I remember standing in the bustling ticket office (which later became L’Auberge des Fouges restaurant, where Nelson Rockefeller, then Governor of New York State, would someday be dining on your salads), and staring down at the beautiful marble mosaic of the Half Moon, the ship that brought Henry Hudson himself to the mythical city-to-be. I also remember standing on one of the rear decks when we were finally underway, watching passengers toss pennies into a then-crystalline river, where as many as a dozen young boys dove to retrieve them. I had to be only three or four years old at the time. I sit here marveling over the fact that as children born into the twentieth century, we had the opportunity to taste the nineteenth, and then write about it in the twenty-first. Mark Twain must be watching over us, smiling.