Tourism Guru on Strengthening the Future of River Cities

Burns Patterson, CEO of Historic Hudson River Towns. Photo by Mark Lieflander

Burns PattersonIt has a tourism and public relations specialist with close ties to the region has recently been appointed Executive Director Historic cities of the Hudson River.

HHRT is a consortium of coastal municipalities on both sides of the Hudson dedicated to tourism promotion, public interest advocacy, waterfront redevelopment, and downtown revitalization.

Patterson replaces Nancy Gold who retired after leading the nonprofit since its founding in 1995.

New York native moved to Osining over 25 years ago and now lives with his wife, Ruth Riordan, in Sleepy Hollow.

Here’s a Q&A with Patterson on what the future holds for attracting visitors to the River Towns.

River log: Can you share any plans to promote tourism here?

Patterson: We want to expand and improve on the good relationship we have with the New York State Highway Traffic Authority regarding free audio tours of the bike and walk paths. Mario M. Cuomo Bridgeas well as free tours of the bridge “landing communities” in the city of Irvington, Tarrytownsleepy hollow, Pierremont and Nyack. We have developed these tours in collaboration with the Highway Traffic Authority and the developer of the TravelStorys app.

On selected dates, members of our team will take to the bridge walkway and local communities to demonstrate audio tours. Your readers can download the app at or learn more at our website.

We plan to add a Life in Rivertowns section to for potential homeowners and renters.

We are investigating a program that could offer the installation of discounted electric vehicle charging stations to encourage communities to expand existing stations. sustainable tourism this is the direction in which we must all move.

River Journal: What are the main attractions of the communities your organization represents?

Patterson: Rockefeller State Park Mount Pleasant and the Cuomo Bridge Common Use Path tops that list. Before the pandemic, the reserve was visited by about 400,000 people a year. By 2021, that volume has surpassed 600,000 visitors – a staggering 50% increase, and the number doesn’t seem to be declining. The Cuomo Bridge Bike and Walkway has welcomed more than 400,000 visitors since 2020. I believe these numbers will continue to rise as more people discover the amazing views of the trail and its views.

Other “covered” properties have been affected during the pandemic, but we are very excited to see properties like Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, reopen in the summer and fall of 2022 after a two-year hiatus.

River log: Can you share some of your personal favorites that are not among the top attractions?

Patterson: When I was a kid, an inexpensive way to get out on the water was to take the Staten Island ferry back and forth. NY Waterway Ferry between Osining

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