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The Erie Canal in New York is part of the east–west, cross-state route of the New York State Canal System . It originally ran 363 miles from the Hudson River in Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo. It was built to create a navigable water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It was completed in 1825 and was the second longest canal in the world , and it greatly enhanced the development and economy of the cities of New York, including Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and New York City, as well as the United States. Wikipedia