East River

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East River
Tidal strait
East River and UN.jpg
East River and the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, as seen from Roosevelt Island.
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
MunicipalityNew York City
Tributaries
 - leftNewtown Creek, Flushing River
 - rightWestchester Creek, Bronx River,
Bronx Kill, Harlem River
SourceLong Island Sound
 - coordinates40°48′14″N 73°49′30″W / 40.8039900°N 73.8251343°W / 40.8039900; -73.8251343
MouthUpper New York Bay
 - coordinates40°41′47″N 74°01′00″W / 40.696355°N 74.016609°W / 40.696355; -74.016609
Length16 mi (26 km)
The East River is shown in red on this satellite photo of New York City.
Wikimedia Commons: East River
 
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Coordinates: 40°41′47″N 74°01′00″W / 40.696355°N 74.016609°W / 40.696355; -74.016609
East River
Tidal strait
East River and UN.jpg
East River and the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, as seen from Roosevelt Island.
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
MunicipalityNew York City
Tributaries
 - leftNewtown Creek, Flushing River
 - rightWestchester Creek, Bronx River,
Bronx Kill, Harlem River
SourceLong Island Sound
 - coordinates40°48′14″N 73°49′30″W / 40.8039900°N 73.8251343°W / 40.8039900; -73.8251343
MouthUpper New York Bay
 - coordinates40°41′47″N 74°01′00″W / 40.696355°N 74.016609°W / 40.696355; -74.016609
Length16 mi (26 km)
The East River is shown in red on this satellite photo of New York City.
Wikimedia Commons: East River

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] The tidal strait usually reverses flow four times a day.[2]

Formation[edit]

The strait was formed approximately 11,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation.[3] 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 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[edit]

Historical film of the East River, leading up to a final shot of the Brooklyn Bridge (1903)

Due to heavy pollution, 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 from which to climb out. According to the marine sciences section of the city Department of Environmental Protection, 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.[4] The strength of the current foiled an effort in 2007 to tap it for tidal power.[5] However, in February 2012 the federal government announced plans that an agreement to install 30 tidal turbines in the channel, projected to begin operations in 2015 and produce 1.05 MW of power.[6]

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

North of Randalls Island, it is joined by the Bronx Kill. Along the east of Wards Island, at approximately the strait's midpoint, it narrows into a channel called Hell Gate, which is spanned by both the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough), and the Hell Gate Bridge. On the south side of Wards Island, it is joined by the Harlem 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:

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

Crossings[edit]

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

Tunnels
The river is spanned by thirteen tunnels. From north to south, along with uses as of April 2012:

William Glackens 1902 painting of East River Park in the Brooklyn Museum

Tram

In popular culture[edit]

Views of the river[edit]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

Notes

External links[edit]