from Noort Rivier chart, circa 1639

Supposedly, the Hudson River was divided by the earliest Dutch navigators into fourteen reaches between New York and Albany. This factoid, though often repeated, remains questionable and unsubstantiated. Two colonial Dutch charts (the Hendrickson Figurative Map of 1616 and the Noort Rivier Chart of 1639) offer fresh insight and support a different conclusion: that Dutch mariners did not name or designate every stretch of river as a “reach” per se. Primarily, the trickier sections were named—-the four “lower reaches” in the Highlands (Seylmakers rack, Cocks rack, Hoogh rack, and Vosse rack) and the four “upper reaches” north of Inbocht Bay (Backers rack, Jan Pleysiers rack, Klevers rack, and Harts rack). The inclusion of the Lange rack, or Long Reach, mentioned in Robert Juet’s journal, brings the total number of named reaches to nine. Read the full account here (PDF): Dutch Racks Revisited.