[Note: Since the original 2019 post, I’ve updated this page with five additional years (2018-2022) of Times coverage, archived at the bottom of this page. An analysis of this period, inclusive of Covid-19 and its accompanying pandemic gentrification, is forthcoming. -LN]

I’ve noticed that folks in the Hudson Valley can’t avoid taking the bait when the New York Times puts out a new article about the region. We griped loud and long about that one from 2011, “Williamsburg on the Hudson,” that I even wrote about. And just last month, an especially egregious bit of lifestyle colonialism appeared in the Real Estate section: “Forget the Suburbs, It’s Country or Bust.” I’m still seeing the blowback on my social media newsfeed.

“Everyone wants the same things: to be within two and a half hours from the city, to have a cute town with a coffee shop less than 10 minutes away,” she said. “Sometimes they’re looking for a weekend house and sometimes — about 20 percent of the time — they’re looking for the reverse: a ‘full-time’ move where they’ll still go a few times a month to the city for work.”

Does anything ever change in the New York Times’ portrayal of the Hudson Valley? (My definition of this region is narrowed around the so-called Mid-Hudson Valley: the six New York counties of Orange, Putnam, Ulster, Dutchess, Greene and Columbia.) In many regards, no. At one time an important satellite of NYC’s industrial geography, the region has been consigned to ‘pastoral hinterland’ or (particularly along the lower tier of Orange, Putnam, and southern Dutchess Counties) ‘suburban frontier’ in the Times gestalt for as long as many subscribers can remember.

Maybe that’s fair. After all, the region’s whole population (1.062 million in 2016) is eight times smaller than New York City and 25 times smaller than the NYC combined statistical area (which is a decent proxy for the New York Times’ local market). In other words, the Hudson Valley is small potatoes to metropolitan New York, and so it makes sense that the Times would paint an instrumental portrait of the region to its readers as a leisure zone and real estate investment for the middle to upper classes.

City dwellers are being drawn north, in part, because of affordability. You may live in an apartment in Hudson, N.Y., within walking distance of Basilica Hudson, a former glue factory that now has a busy lineup of concerts, readings and food-related events. Or you may buy a rural farmhouse a quick drive from Beacon, N.Y., with its galleries, restaurants and shops. Either way, you could buy or rent a house for a fraction of what a one-bedroom apartment in the city would cost. Freeing up a chunk of income enables some people to chase their dreams, allowing them to open a business or live the kind of life they might not have been able to in the city.

But what has changed in the Times’ coverage of the region are the little touches: the economic embrace of arts and creative sectors; the new interest in food, the countryside, and the artisanal life; and the passing of the zeitgeist torch from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The Hudson Valley city of Beacon is the exemplar in this new paradigm. Once “economically downtrodden,” it became a “destination for art” with the 2003 opening of “the biggest museum of contemporary art in the world”) and is now a gentrifying destination with a “real pioneer spirit” and just an “80-minute journey” back to NYC.

Just so all this status seeking and property acquisition doesn’t seem a little too dispiriting, the Times further frames the Hudson Valley as a site for metro residents’ self-actualization. This theme was prominent immediately after 9/11, when the region’s ‘simpler’ life beckoned those ‘questioning their priorities.’ It gets an update in the contemporary Brooklyn thirst for place authenticity and lifestyle communion.

Mr. Weinberg, who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Ms. Scieszka, 34, who is from Park Slope, were drawn to the Catskills by another kind of dream: They wanted to open an inn, a place where “people like us would go,” Ms. Scieszka said.

Needless to say, this transplantation of metro pursuits to the Hudson Valley hinterland takes place amid an existing population of working people, both native and foreign born, driven by their own concerns and aspirations (which may involve leaving the Hudson Valley). Occasionally the New York Times reports about these local worlds as well, and it’s instructive to see how they appear in the coverage. Notably, while Beacon, Hudson, and now Kingston monopolize much of the Times’ celebration of the region’s small industrial cities, its slightly bigger small industrial cities of Poughkeepsie and Newburgh can’t seem to shake off the lurid accounts of violence, crime, and racial inequality.

To see what this all looks like on the printed page, I’ve compiled an archive of New York Times coverage of the Hudson Valley from 2002-2017 — effectively right after 9/11 to just about the present. Click on the links below to see headlines and revealing quotes; each headline is hyperlinked to the original article on the Times’ website. The archive is probably incomplete but still almost overwhelming in its volume. For a discussion of my methodology in compiling this coverage, click here.


2002 2009 2016
2003 2010 2017
2004 2011 2018
2005 2012 2019
2006 2013 2020
2007 2014 2021
2008 2015 2022