Monday, August 10, 2009

Hudson River and Valley Oddities

I love the Hudson River. The pollution of the New York harbor areas notwithstanding, I enjoy stopping off at various points in New York State, particularly in the Hudson Valley, to sit and look at the river. Sunnyside in Tarrytown is one of my favorite places to do this, from Washington Irving’s portico. You can’t avoid crossing the river if you want to get to New York City from New Jersey, and you either go over the river, or tunnel under it. It serves as a natural boundary between New York and those New Jersey counties that are sometimes referred to as the “sixth and seventh borough” of the city. Life along the river is quite diverse—you have everything from the extreme urban life, to artsy little towns tucked away in various hills and valleys, to the very isolated and rural.

Recently though, in the New York City area, there has been a lot of tragedy or near-tragedy, or general alarm on the Hudson. The first incident was the plane crash I’d mentioned in another posting, when a Canada goose flew into the plane’s engine:

US Airways plane crashes in Hudson River

While it was a scary event, no one died in this crash, so it’s more of a
near-tragedy. In the category of “general alarm”, we have the Air Force One plane taking pictures over the Ellis Island area. This should not be a problem, except no one knew it was going to happen, and seeing a plane come in that close to a huge monument had people panicking about another terrorist attack.

President Obama Calls Air Force One Flyover "A Mistake"

Then, just a few days ago, a helicopter and a small Cessna plane collided over the river, and everyone involved was killed. They are still pulling bodies out of the water:

Mid-Air Collison Over Hudson

Lastly, this is not so much tragic as it is totally weird:

Cab driver being choked crashes into Mount Vernon Church

That doesn’t have to do with the river per se, but it did happen in the Hudson Valley area (Mount Vernon is between New Rochelle and Yonkers for those of you unfamiliar with the geography, north of the George Washington Bridge).
I’m aware that statistical probability suggests that all of this is random and coincidental. And it probably is exactly that. Still, part of me always wonders why events, many of which are similar and out of the ordinary, happen around the same area for a period of time. The events don’t make me wary of heading over the Hudson River; I just think it’s bizarre that every time I open my RSS feeds, there’s something about that area in the news. And it’s something related to aircraft, or to transportation in general.

In any case, I don’t want to start any conspiracy theories, nor do I think there’s anything prophetic about any of it. But I think it’s an example of a “clustering” phenomena, for lack of a better term—similar or related events happening in the same area (or to the same person, in some cases) over a period of time. Does anyone else notice this sort of thing besides me? Or am I just overly enamored with the idea of synchronicity?

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