East River

East River

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The East River is a tidal strait
Strait
A strait or straits is a narrow, typically navigable channel of water that connects two larger, navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. It connects Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

 on its south end to Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

 on its north end. It separates Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 (including the boroughs of Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 and Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

) from the island of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 and the Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

 on the North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n mainland. In reference to its connection to Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

, it was once also known as the Sound River.

History


The strait was formed approximately 11,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. The distinct change in the shape of the strait between the lower and upper portions is evidence of this glacial activity. The upper portion (from Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

 to Hell Gate
Hell Gate
Hell Gate is a narrow tidal strait in the East River in New York City in the United States. It separates Astoria, Queens from Randall's Island/Wards Island ....

), 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
New York Bay
New York Bay is the collective term for the marine areas surrounding the entrance of the Hudson River into the Atlantic Ocean. Its two largest components are Upper New York Bay and Lower New York Bay, which are connected by The Narrows...

) 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.

Channel


The East River is dangerous to people who fall in or attempt to swim in it, although as of mid-2007 the water was cleaner than it had been in decades. Anyone in the channel would find there are few places to climb out. According to the marine sciences section of the city Department of Environmental Protection
New York City Department of Environmental Protection
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is a City agency of nearly 6,000 employees that manages and conserves the City’s water supply; distributes more than one billion gallons of clean drinking water each day to nine million New Yorkers and collects wastewater through a vast...

, 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). That speed can push casual swimmers out to sea. A few people drown in the waters around New York City each year. The strength of the current foiled an effort in 2007 to tap it for hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

.

Historically, the lower portion of the strait (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
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

, opened in 1883, was the first bridge to span the strait, replacing frequent ferry service. Some passenger ferry service remains between Queens and Manhattan.

The Bronx River
Bronx River
The Bronx River, approximately long, flows through southeast New York in the United States. It is named after colonial settler Jonas Bronck. The Bronx River is the only fresh water river in New York City....

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

North of Wards Island, it is joined by the Bronx Kill
Bronx Kill
The Bronx Kill is a narrow strait in New York City delineating the southernmost extent of the Bronx and separating it from Randall's Island. It connects the Harlem River to the East River.-History:...

. Along the east of Wards Island, at approximately the strait's midpoint, it narrows into a channel called Hell Gate
Hell Gate
Hell Gate is a narrow tidal strait in the East River in New York City in the United States. It separates Astoria, Queens from Randall's Island/Wards Island ....

, which is spanned by both the Triborough Bridge
Triborough Bridge
The Robert F. Kennedy ' Bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge , is a complex of three separate bridges in New York City, United States...

, and the Hell Gate Bridge
Hell Gate Bridge
The Hell Gate Bridge or Hell's Gate Bridge is a steel through arch railroad bridge between Astoria in the borough of Queens and Randall's and Wards Islands in New York City, over a portion of the East River known...

. On the south side of Wards Island, it is joined by the Harlem River
Harlem River
The Harlem River is a navigable tidal strait in New York City, USA that flows 8 miles between the Hudson River and the East River, separating the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx...

.

Newtown Creek
Newtown Creek
Newtown Creek is a estuary that forms part of the border between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. It derives its name from New Town , which was the name for the Dutch and British settlement in what is now Elmhurst, Queens...

 on Long Island drains into the East River, forming part of the boundary between Queens and Brooklyn.
The East River contains a number of island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

s, including:
  • Upper section
    • Rikers Island
      Rikers Island
      Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex, as well as the name of the island on which it sits, in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx, adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. The island itself is part of the borough of the Bronx, though it is included as part of...

    • North Brother Island
      North Brother Island
      North Brother Island is an island in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker's Island. Its companion, South Brother Island, is a short distance away. Together, the two Brother Islands, North and South, have a land area of .-History:...

    • South Brother Island
      South Brother Island
      South Brother Island is one of a pair of small islands in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker's Island, New York City and containing of land. The other island, larger and better known, is North Brother Island. It is uninhabited. Until 1964, South Brother Island was part of Queens...

    • Mill Rock
      Mill Rock
      Mill Rock is a small unpopulated island between Manhattan and Queens in New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. It lies about off Manhattan's East 96th Street, south of Randall's and Wards Island where the East River and Harlem River converge. The island forms Census Block 9000 of Census...

  • Lower Section
    • Wards Island and Randall's Island
      Randall's Island
      Randall's Island is situated in the East River in New York City, part of the borough of Manhattan. It is separated from Manhattan island on the west by the river's main channel, from Queens on the east by the Hell Gate, and from the Bronx on the north by the Bronx Kill. It is joined to Wards...

       (joined by landfill
      Land reclamation
      Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

      )
    • Roosevelt Island
      Roosevelt Island
      Roosevelt Island, known as Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973, and before that Blackwell's Island, is a narrow island in the East River of New York City. It lies between the island of Manhattan to its west and the borough of Queens to its east...

    • U Thant Island
      U Thant Island
      U Thant Island is the smallest island located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The tiny artificial island is in size and located in the East River, just south of Roosevelt Island...

       (Belmont Island)

Crossings




Bridges


The river is spanned by eight bridge
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

s, which from north to south are:
  • Throgs Neck Bridge
    Throgs Neck Bridge
    The Throgs Neck Bridge is a suspension bridge opened on January 11, 1961, which carries Interstate 295 over the East River where it meets the Long Island Sound. The bridge connects the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx with the Bay Terrace section of Queens...

  • Bronx-Whitestone Bridge
  • Rikers Island Bridge (From Queens to Rikers Island
    Rikers Island
    Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex, as well as the name of the island on which it sits, in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx, adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. The island itself is part of the borough of the Bronx, though it is included as part of...

     only)
  • Hell Gate Bridge
    Hell Gate Bridge
    The Hell Gate Bridge or Hell's Gate Bridge is a steel through arch railroad bridge between Astoria in the borough of Queens and Randall's and Wards Islands in New York City, over a portion of the East River known...

  • RFK-Triborough Bridge (East River Suspension Span)
  • Roosevelt Island Bridge
    Roosevelt Island Bridge
    The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a lift bridge that connects Roosevelt Island to Astoria in Queens, crossing the East Channel of the East River. It is the sole route to the island for vehicular and foot traffic ....

     (east channel only)
  • Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge
  • Williamsburg Bridge
    Williamsburg Bridge
    The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway...

     (Vehicular traffic & Trains of the subway
    New York City Subway
    The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

     services)
  • Manhattan Bridge
    Manhattan Bridge
    The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn . It was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges...

     (Vehicular traffic & Trains of the subway services)
  • Brooklyn Bridge
    Brooklyn Bridge
    The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...


Tunnels


The river is spanned by thirteen tunnel
Tunnel
A tunnel is an underground passageway, completely enclosed except for openings for egress, commonly at each end.A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road traffic, for rail traffic, or for a canal. Some tunnels are aqueducts to supply water for consumption or for hydroelectric stations or are sewers...

s. From north to south, along with uses as of July 2006:
  • 63rd Street Tunnel (Trains of the subway
    New York City Subway
    The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

     service - upper level; lower level - under construction and unused)
  • 60th Street Tunnel
    60th Street Tunnel
    The 60th Street Tunnel carries the trains of the New York City Subway under the East River and Roosevelt Island between Manhattan and Queens.The tunnel was built as part of the Dual Contracts period of New York City subway construction...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • 53rd Street Tunnel
    53rd Street Tunnel
    The 53rd Street Tunnel carries the IND Queens Boulevard Line of the New York City Subway under the East River and Roosevelt Island between Manhattan and Queens, New York City....

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Steinway Tunnel
    Steinway Tunnel
    The Steinway Tunnel carries the trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between 42nd Street in Manhattan and 51st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, in New York City. It was originally designed and built as an interurban trolley tunnel , with stations near the trains' current...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Queens-Midtown Tunnel (Vehicular traffic of Interstate 495
    Interstate 495 (New York)
    Interstate 495 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway on Long Island in New York in the United States. The route extends for from the western portal of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel in the New York City borough of Manhattan to County Route 58 in Riverhead, Suffolk County...

    )
  • East River Tunnels
    East River Tunnels
    The East River Tunnels are 4 single-track railroad tunnels that extend from the eastern end of Pennsylvania Station under 32nd and 33rd Streets in Manhattan and cross the East River to Long Island City in Queens. The tracks carry Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak trains travelling to and from Penn...

     (Long Island Rail Road
    Long Island Rail Road
    The Long Island Rail Road or LIRR is a commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, serving about 81.5 million passengers each year. Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is the oldest US...

     and Amtrak
    Amtrak
    The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

     trains from Penn Station
    Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
    Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

     to points north and east)
  • 14th Street Tunnel
    14th Street Tunnel
    The 14th Street Tunnel carries the train of the New York City Subway under the East River between the First Avenue Station in the borough of Manhattan and the Bedford Avenue Station in Brooklyn....

     (Trains of the subway service)
  • Rutgers Street Tunnel (Trains of the subway service)
  • Cranberry Street Tunnel
    Cranberry Street Tunnel
    The Cranberry Street Tunnel carries the trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between the Fulton Street Station in Manhattan and the High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station in Brooklyn. Its Brooklyn ventilation shaft is visible from Furman Street...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Clark Street Tunnel
    Clark Street Tunnel
    The Clark Street Tunnel carries the trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was opened for revenue service on Tuesday, April 15, 1919, relieving crowding on the Joralemon Street Tunnel and providing passengers with a direct route...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Montague Street Tunnel
    Montague Street Tunnel
    The Montague Street Tunnel carries the trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It opened to revenue service on Sunday, August 1, 1920 at 2 am with a holiday schedule, the same day as the 60th Street Tunnel. Regular service began...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Joralemon Street Tunnel
    Joralemon Street Tunnel
    The Joralemon Street Tunnel carries the trains of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway under the East River from the Bowling Green neighborhood in Manhattan to Joralemon Street and Willow Place in Brooklyn...

     (Trains of the subway services)
  • Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
    Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
    Interstate 478s entire length consists of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and its approaches. Its south end is at Interstate 278, and its north end is at NY 9A ....

     (Vehicular traffic of Interstate 478)

In popular culture


The Brecker Brothers performed a song named after the river and is featured on their 1978 album Heavy Metal Be-Bop.

Kramer
Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer, usually referred to as simply "Kramer", is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Michael Richards...

 decided to swim in the East River for exercise in the Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

episode "The Nap
The Nap
"The Nap" is the 152nd episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 18th episode for the 8th season. It aired on April 10, 1997. Larry David returned as recurring character George Steinbrenner, whom he would play in two other episodes near the end of this season and in the show's final...

".

See also

  • List of New York rivers
  • Lists of crossings of the East River
  • Geography and environment of New York City
    Geography and environment of New York City
    The geography of New York City is characterized by its coastal position at the meeting of the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean in a naturally sheltered harbor. The city's geography, with its scarce availability of land, is a contributing factor in making New York City the most densely populated...

  • Geography of New York Harbor
    Geography of New York Harbor
    The system of waterways of the Port of New York and New Jersey forms one of the most intricate natural harbors in the world, a fact that is reflected in the diversity of place names...


External links