American Migration Winners: Travel to Hudson, NY

People have been moving out of blue states and urban areas for a while. Due to results from the last census, New York lost a congressional seat, and Texas got two. The pandemic has created more shifts as people moved from locations, which were the least conducive to a pandemic, to places that didn’t suck this past year and a half.

About two hours north of New York City is the town of Hudson, whose population peaked back in 1930. Hudson has always been on the radar of people who want a weekend getaway for antiquing and hiking. It has some very nice attractions, like Olana, the home of Frederick Edwin Church, the noted Hudson River School artist. Martin Van Buren’s home is nearby. For those who wanted a more permanent weekend place outside the city, it was possible to buy a massive old mansion for $100,000 and then renovate it on weekends.

When the pandemic arrived, New York City went into a tailspin and hasn’t hit rockbottom yet. The schools never really opened. Without restaurants, clubs, museums, the fun died. Many New Yorkers have never used their ovens before, so the whole sourdough bread thing wasn’t a big fad there. Previously, their apartment was only a place to sleep. Now, city folks were crammed into a studio or one bedroom for months on end. When they did walk outside, they were accosted by homeless people. People started getting stabbed on subway platforms. Anyone who had anywhere else to go did so.

And one of the places that people went was Hudson, NY and other little towns along the Hudson. Before those towns were the home of methadone clinics, social workers, day trippers, and those looking for a renovation “project.” Suddenly, Hudson became a home to all those disaffected New Yorkers with remote offices and home schooling wives. Real estate prices soared.

I do wonder whether all those former city folks are going to stay there. The city still sucks. Even the private schools and elite public schools are in chaos. The crime rate is higher than it has been in years [edited]. If CEOs make people go back to work, then those Hudson residents might have to move back, because the commute would be too long. Maybe wealthier workers can get a Monday-Thursday studio in the city and keep their families in the country. Not sure.

This weekend, my folks watched Ian, so Steve and I could escape to Hudson for a night for our anniversary. It was raining the first day, so we hunkered down at the bar at the Hudson Brewing Company for the afternoon. We got dressed for dinner at the Rivertown Lodge, with its antique and Scandinavian accents. Because we were still stuffed from our afternoon at the brewery, we split a meal at Wm. Farmer and Sons. The next day, the rain let up, so I went for a jog and discovered Etsy headquarters; I took lots of pictures of old homes that still need renovation. We checked out Olana and did a little shopping for quirky gifts and fresh bread.

It was a sleuthing trip. We’ll be back again soon. Next weekend, we’re going camping across the Hudson in a similar area.

Some pictures (Click on one to start the slideshow):

30 thoughts on “American Migration Winners: Travel to Hudson, NY

  1. While crime has definitely increased in NYC, I’m not sure how it can be categorized as even being remotely close to what it was in the 1990s. Here are the number of murders then vs now:

    1990 2,262
    1993 1,927
    1998 629
    2001 649
    2020 468


    1. “New York is experiencing the worst gun violence it has seen in nearly a decade, all while it continues to fight a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of New Yorkers and left many more jobless and hungry.
      In 2021 alone, 299 people have been shot, a 54% increase over the same time last year, and the most the city has seen since 2012.
      Ninety-two people have been murdered, a 19.5% jump, according to the most recent NYPD data. In 2020, the city recorded 462 murders, an increase of 45% from 2019, even as most other major felonies declined. Shooting incidents overall exploded 97% last year.”


    1. Ok. I edited my post. But I want to come back to this point again in the future. So, I’ve lived in the NYC area all my life. There’s something really weird about the violence happening right now. It is sort of incomparable to the past. In some ways, it’s random and insane. In other ways, like the attacks on old Asian women, it’s just sick. It doesn’t feel like getting mugged for a gold chain. It’s just weird. But I’ll get write about this with more facts later.


      1. It’s worth thinking about why it feels different. For example, it’s possible that the violence feels different because it isn’t geographically constrained (and that could be analyzed). There’s also the relative rate of increase: 200 deaths up from 20, a 10X increase could feel bigger than 2200 up from 2000, a 1.1X increase.

        But, I do believe that the way news is delivered and spread plays a big role. It’s also possible that it feels different because there are videos of the violence (and violence isn’t more violent when it isn’t filmed, but, it certainly has a different effect on the psyche). We should be careful about falling prey to the selective attention that warps our world views.

        We counted red and blue cars on our 90 minute road trip last weekend and discovered how difficult it is to assess which are more common. Our count was about 200 red cars v 150 blue cars. But, blue cars are much harder to count; they are more variable and less distinct (from say, black, grey, and green cars). And, red cars seem like they were more common on the freeway than they are in our neighborhood (a demographic difference?).


    1. Thanks. It was so, so, so nice to go away without a kid. I mean my boys aren’t difficult or anything, but it was refreshing to not have to consider their wants and needs and just do what we want to do. I’m deeply envious of empty nesters.


    2. Yes. The people we brought into this world and are responsible for can be delightful and independent, and broaden our experiences, but there’s also a piece of a mother that’s optimizing for them, always. Spouse and I were together for a long time without children (16 years, in five or so cities, depending on how we count them) and still remember.


  2. Love the architectural photos. Especially the old buildings.
    Would *love* to live in one of these…. never gonna happen…. but a girl can dream…..


  3. Just looking at Hudson on the map (in relation to NYC – for transit times).
    Gosh, I just forget how *big* the US is.
    Coming from a ‘little’ country – and one that’s long and thin and stretched out – I just don’t have a good mental picture of commute distances (times, now, that’s a different story, from grid-locked Auckland)


    1. Fun! New Zealand is bigger than I thought it was (which goes to show). Looks like about the size of California, if you exclude some of the stringy areas?


      1. From memory, it’s about the same size as Colorado – but a really, really different shape!
        An awful lot of the South Island is serious mountains – Southern Alps – (with scatterings of, well, hamlets, really, on the slopes – Franz Joseph, pop. 441) – national parks, most of the South West and North West, and 2 medium cities (for NZ) on the East Coast (Christchurch & Dunedin)
        More than 1/3 of the total population of NZ is in one city: Auckland (on the really narrow bit of the North Island). But even that is only about 1.7 million – so, tiny in international terms.

        The shape of the country is why we have so much traffic gridlock with such a small (relatively speaking) ratio of population to square-footage – everyone is trying to go north-to-south (or vice versa). And also really winding roads (even the main highways are full of curves) – tourists are always wildly underestimating the time it takes to get anywhere.


      2. I have a fun New Zealand story. When E was in first grade or something, he had to draw something that began with the letter N. He drew New Zealand. Goes to show how much we love maps in this family.


  4. Hudson is a nifty place for antique dealers–I think I’ve been to them all at one time or another. It is also a frequently used film location–parts of Nobody’s Fool were filmed there, as well as one of my favorite noir films–1959’s Odds Against Tomorrow.

    I wouldn’t bet against NYC–it’s been written off so many times before–it’s where the money is, after all.


    1. If it were possible to order a hurricane this summer to hit Miami, I’m sure the NYC tax authorities would sign right up.


    2. Impossible to make real comparisons, because there are too many variables, but NY state seems to have collected 10% more taxes in 2020 than in 2019. I tried to find a comparable number for Florida, but there isn’t one, because the tax structure is too different. FL is 50th in state collected taxes, because it relies most on local taxes.

      Also, not a NYC v Miami comparison.

      I also wouldn’t write of NYC, apart from the non-pandemic secular trends. I think we are seeing a drift towards warmer states in overall population trends in the US. Towards rural areas? I’m thinking not. Towards artisan towns? I don’t know. I personally would like to live in an artisanal town (which to me means space, views, nature, parking, but also cute shops and good restaurants with significant variety in cuisine). But I spend a lot of time in my house.



        This article covers IRS data for 2019. Whatever effect the pandemic year may have had on the data, it isn’t reflected in this data.

        Overall, Florida came out ahead with 126,789 net new people and $17.7 billion in net new taxable income.
        On the losing side, New York suffered the worst outflow of money of any state in 2019. The Empire State lost a net $9 billion in income, or more than 1.15 percent of its 2018 AGI, while a net of nearly 153,000 residents moved out.

        The yearly difference adds up:

        And when the state’s AGI losses are accumulated from 2000 to 2019, it totals $892 billion in cumulative lost income that could have been taxed over the entire period.

        The opposite is true for migration winners like Florida. Gains in people and income pile on top of each other each year, building an ever-growing tax base. In 2019 alone, the state’s tax base was some $173 billion higher due to the 19-year string of positive income gains from net in-migration.

        Even though Florida doesn’t tax incomes, Wirepoints also added up Florida’s cumulative AGI to make an apples-to-apples comparison with New York. When the Sunshine State’s AGI gains are accumulated from 2000 to 2019, it totals $1.4 trillion in income that could have been taxed over the entire period.


  5. Bloomberg has reported this week that people are resisting coming back to the office:

    The work-from-home trend was a trend before the pandemic. I would expect it to continue; many sources have noticed that productivity has not suffered in the parts of the economy that can pull off work from home. Those workers are educated. They can (and apparently are) able to look for offers from competitors that allow them to work from home.

    So, employers may want everyone to come back to the office, but they can’t necessarily force their employees to come back, unless they’re willing to lose ~30% of their workforce. (My estimate, nothing scientific at all about that.) And that 30% are the most likely to be younger and computer-savvy.

    If you’re young and computer-savvy, you can field offers from across the country. Your potential pool of employers is not limited to in-person offices in your immediate commuting area. Being able to work from home can lead to savings on commuting costs–estimated at $2,600 per year, but undoubtedly higher in some areas.

    If the Democrats manage to reinstate the SALT tax exemptions, I’d be more likely to take the bet. On the other hand, I think any city with terrible commutes, high taxes, high real estate costs, high cost of living, and low growth will face significant challenges.


    1. My anecdotal observation is that people on the (neighborhood and parent focused) Whatsapp groups that I am a part of had a lot of people moving out of NYC a year ago, even into this winter. The talk is now about people moving back.


      1. There’s too many people looking for a reason to use a gun to “correct” the election results for me to ever feel comfortable living in rural Pennsylvania now. I think if I want a country house, I’ll go for Maryland or upstate New York.


    1. Not sure. I see that age brackets change (5 year brackets for 20). Doesn’t look like the baseline is >0, though that’s hard to figure out.

      Surprised at the numbers for young people.


      1. Yes, you got it.
        Here are some images:
        1. The numbers when you make all the age brackets 10 years.
        2. The increase in clusters of infection in child care centers.
        3. The case rates per 100,000 for the brackets in the original chart (i.e., 5-year brackets). Still, the 3 brackets from 5 to 19 are the 3 highest.

        There were good reasons to switch to remote learning. Yes, it sucked, but it meant that fewer kids got sick and gave COVID to their families. Now we need to get these kids vaccinated.


      2. eh, age brackets have always been pretty arbitrary. Changing their size needs to be noted when you are comparing numbers on graphs, but I don’t see it as visual trickery — my guess is that’s how the data were reported. My personal annoyance has been with “teen” motherhood: there’s certainly a lot of difference between a 19 yo having a baby and 13 year old having one. Marketing age brackets have always been fairly ridiculous, too.


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