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East River

This article is about the East River in New York City. For other uses, see East River (disambiguation).
The East River is shown in red on this satellite photo of New York City.

The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island (including the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn) from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland. In reference to its connection to Long Island Sound, it was once also known as the Sound River.[1]

Contents

History

The river was formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation [2]. The distinct change in the shape of the river channel between the lower and upper portions is evidence of this glacial activity. The upper portion (from Long Island Sound to Hell Gate, running largely perpendicular to the glacial motion, is wide, meandering, and has deep narrow bays on both banks, scoured out by the glacier's movement. The lower portion (from Hell Gate to New York Bay runs north-south, parallel to the glacial motion. It is much narrower, with straight banks. The bays that exist (or existed before being filled-in by human activity), are largely wide and shallow.

The Channel

Historical film of the east river, leading up to a final shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. (1903)

The East River is dangerous to people who fall in or attempt to swim in it, although the water is cleaner than it has been in decades[citation needed]. Anyone in the channel would find few places to climb out[citation needed]. According to the marine sciences section of the city Department of Environmental Protection[citation needed], the channel is swift, with water moving as fast as four knots (just as it does in the Hudson River on the other side of Manhattan)[citation needed]. That speed can push casual swimmers out to sea[citation needed]. A few people typically drown in the rivers around New York City each year.[3] The strength of the current foiled a 2007 effort to tap it for hydroelectricity.[4]

Historically, the lower portion of the river (separating Manhattan from Brooklyn) was one of the busiest and most important channels in the world, particularly during the first three centuries of New York City's history. The Brooklyn Bridge, opened in 1883, was the first bridge to span the river, replacing frequent ferry service. (Some passenger ferry service remains between Queens and Manhattan.)

The Bronx River drains into the East River in the northern section of the strait.

North of Ward's Island, it is joined by the Bronx Kill. Along the east of Ward's Island, at approximately the strait's midpoint, it narrows into a channel called Hell Gate, which is spanned by both the Triborough Bridge and the Hell Gate Bridge. On the south side of Ward's Island, it is joined by the Harlem River.

Southern view of the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges (front to back), seen from the East River.

Newtown Creek on Long Island drains into the East River, forming part of the boundary between Queens and Brooklyn.

The East River contains a number of islands, including:

Crossings

New York City waterways: 1. Hudson River, 2. East River, 3. Long Island Sound, 4. Newark Bay, 5. Upper New York Bay, 6. Lower New York Bay, 7. Jamaica Bay, 8. Atlantic Ocean East River reflecting the lights of the Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Manhattan
See also: List of fixed crossings of the East River and List of ferries across the East River

Bridges

The river is spanned by eight bridges, which from north to south are:

Tunnels

The river is spanned by thirteen tunnels. From north to south, along with uses as of July 2006:

See also

References

  1. ^ Montrésor, John (1766). A plan of the city of New-York & its environs. London.
  2. ^ The Queens Gazette: The East River Flows From Prehistoric Times To Today
  3. ^ [1]"Welcome, Students. Now Watch It.", no byline, article in The New York Times, "Metro Section", August 30, 2007, accessed same day
  4. ^ [2]"East River Turbines Face Upstream Battle" Gothamist

External links

Coordinates: 40°47′48″N, 73°52′02″W

Categories: East RiverHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since February 2008

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