Geography of New York Harbor

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New York Harbor waterways (numbered): 1. Upper New York Bay, 2. Lower New York Bay, 3. Newark Bay, 4. Hudson River, 5. East River, 6. Raritan Bay, 7. Jamaica Bay, 8. Long Island Sound. 9. New York Bight (North Atlantic Ocean), 10. Ambrose Channel 11. Mud Dump Site 12. Hudson Canyon Major land features, (in capitals) in New York: A. Manhattan, B. Brooklyn, C. Staten Island, D. Queens, E. The Bronx; in New Jersey: F. Bayonne, G. Newark, H. Monmouth County; and at the entrance (in lowercase): i. Rockaway Point, and opposing j. Sandy Hook. Long Island Sound. Ambrose Channel runs from between i and j to the Narrows between B and C, and Ambrose Light is under the 9. The Anchorage Channel runs from the Narrows to the (This is not for navigation.)

This article provides a brief introduction to both natural and manmade geographic features of New York Harbor from a maritime or aquatic perspective, followed by a catalogue by type of features. The system of waterways surrounding Upper New York Bay forms one of the most intricate natural harbors in the world, a fact that is reflected in the diversity of place names. Although the overall form of the Harbor remains unchanged from the time of Giovanni da Verrazzano, no part of it remains unaffected by human activity, and some parts, such as Hell Gate and Ellis Island have been almost completely altered. In the greatest hidden change, the navigational channels have been deepened from the natural 17 feet depth to 45 feet, in some places requiring blasting of schist, marble or gneiss bedrock.

New York Harbor lays at the confluence of three major bodies of waters. The harbor opens onto the New York Bight (Atlantic Ocean) to the southeast and Long Island Sound to the northeast. Both of these are essentially marine bodies with both tides and saltwater, but the Sound compared to the Atlantic is about 20-30% less saline (as an estuary), and the tide is about 3 hours later with as much as 70% more variation. The Hudson River adds a fresher, non-tidal inflow from the north, although the tide and brackishness extend well up river. These three combine to generate an extremely complex system of tides and currents throughout the extended hydrologic system from Albany to Montauk Point to the Hudson Canyon region of the New York Bight.

The list below includes features adjacent to of New York City and neighboring New Jersey that are part of the Harbor with a waterborne emphasis starting with natural features. Where possible the list proceeds from Lower Bay entrance approximately clockwise around Harbor. The alternative sorting is by jurisdiction. Official references are the NOAA Coastal pilot<ref name="nyh_pilot"> Chapter 11, New York Harbor and Approaches, Coast Pilot 2, 35th Edition, 2006, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA. </ref>, NOAA nautical charts<ref name="nyh_chart">NOAA nautical charts 12327 New York Harbor (1:40,000 scale), 12324 Sandy Hook to Little Egg, 12350 Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Inlet, 12402, 12401 New York Lower Bay, 12331 Raritan Bay and southern part of Arthur Kill, 12332 Raritan River, 12333 Kill van Kull and northern part of Arthur Kill, 12334 New York Harbor (Upper Bay and Narrows, 12337, 12335, 12338, 12341, 12339, 12366 Long Island Sound and East River, found on page Nautical charts Atlantic Coast charts online, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA.</ref>, and USGS topographic maps.<ref name="usgs_topo"> USGS topographic maps, 1:24,000 scale, listed from west to east (in a row), then north to south:

  • Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Mamaroneck;
  • Orange, Weehawken, Central Park Flushing, Seacliff;
  • Elizabeth, Jersey City, Brooklyn, Jamaica, Lynbrook;
  • Perth Amboy, Arthur Kill The Narrows, Coney Island, Far Rockaway;
  • South Amboy, Keyport, Sandy Hook West, Sandy Hook East.</ref>

Many jurisdictional issues appear in U.S. law.<ref name="usc33"> Title 33.Navigation And Navigable Waters USC. See Section 59.</ref>


[edit] Rivers and streams


New Jersey

New York

[edit] Tidal straits


New York

[edit] Bays, inlets and coves

Lower Bay

Newark Bay

Upper New York Bay

  • Morris Canal Basin
  • Lackawanna Canel
  • Weehawken Cove
  • Gowanus Bay
  • Erie Basin
  • Atlantic Basin

East River

Long Island Sound

[edit] Islands

[edit] New Jersey

  • Robbins Reef
  • Plum Island, Sandy Hook Bay
  • Ellis Island<ref name="ellis_nj">

All of the landfill portion of Ellis Island beyond its 1834 waterfront is in Hudson, County, NJ. All water surrounding Liberty and Ellis Islands is in Hudson County.</ref>

[edit] New York

Bronx County

Kings County

Jamaica Bay islands

New York County

Upper Bay islands

East River islands

Queens County

Jamaica Bay islands

Richmond County

Westchester County

[edit] Land features

New Jersey
New York

[edit] Banks and shoals

Lower Bay

  • East Bank
  • False Hook
  • Flynns Knoll
  • Old Orchard Shoal
  • Romer Shoal
  • West Bank

Upper Bay

  • Bay Ridge Flats
  • Jersey Flats
  • Gowanus Flats
  • Dimond Reef

East River

  • Ways Reef
  • Rhinelander Reef
  • Mill Rock
  • Holmes Rock
  • Hog Back
  • Lawrence Point Ledge
  • South Brother Ledge
  • College Point Reef

[edit] Navigational channels

Lower Bay

  • Ambrose Channel
  • Swash Channel
  • Sandy Hook Channel
  • Terminal Channel
  • Atlantic Highland Anchorage
  • Chapel Hill South Channel
  • Coney Island Channel
  • Rockaway Inlet
  • Gravesend Bay Anchorage
  • Raritan Bay East Reach

Raritan Bay

  • Raritan Bay West Reach
  • Seguine Point Bend
  • Red Bank Reach
  • Ward Point Bend (East & West)
  • Raritan River Cutoff
    • Perth Amboy Anchorage
    • South Amboy Reach
  • Ward Point Secondary Channel
  • Great Beds Reach

Jamaica Bay

  • Runway Channel
  • Island Channel
  • Beach Channel

Arthur Kill

  • Outerbridge Reach
  • Port Socony Reach
  • Port Reading Reach
  • Fresh Kills Reach
  • Tremley Point Reach
  • Pralls Island Reach
  • Gulfport Reach
  • Elizabeth Port Reach
  • South of Shooters Island Reach

Newark Bay

  • North of Shooters Island Reach
  • Newark Bay South Reach
  • Newark Bay Middle Reach
  • Newark Bay North Reach
  • Port Newark Branch Channel
  • Port Newark Pierhead Channel
  • Elizabeth Channel
  • South Elizabeth Channel

Kill van Kull

  • Bergen East Point Reach
  • Bergen West Point Reach
  • Constable Hook Reach

Upper Bay

USACE, Nov. 2004: "Partial Anchorage Channel:Starts approximately 3,990 Ft. seaward of Red Gas #2; Ends approximately 1,660 Ft. landward of Red Light & Bell #21. Authorized project: Width: 2000 ft, Length: 2.34 nmiles, Depth 45 ft.... Shoaling exists and begins approximately 2,230 Ft. seaward of Red Gas #2 and proceeds landward with a length of approximately 600 Ft. and a width of approximately 60 Ft." Also Hearing Notice for Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation 21/1/2004. Simplified map Bayonne Peninsula Chap. 6, CPIP Toolkit, PANYNJ.</ref>

  • Red Hook Channel
  • Red Hook Flats Anchorage
  • Bayridge Channel
  • Greenville Channel
  • Claremont Terminal Channel
  • Buttermilk Channel

Hudson River

  • Weehawken Edgewater Channel

East River

  • East Channel
  • West Channel
  • South Brother Channel

[edit] Port facilities

New Jersey numerous bulk facilities, especially petroleum, not listed

New York



Staten Island

[edit] Lights and lighthouses

For lists see<ref name="lights-nps">of Historic Light Stations New Jersey Lighthouses and Inventory of Historic Light Stations New York Lighthouses NPS lists.</ref> and <ref name="lights-friends"> New York Lighthouses and New York Lighthouses Lighthouse Friends 2001-2005.</ref>. Active unless noted.

New Jersey
New York
  • Ambrose Light
  • Coney Island Light (Nortons Point)
  • Statue of Liberty (discontinued 1902)
  • Ambrose Lightship(to Scotland Station, NJ, 1933; decommissioned 1968)
  • Prince's Bay Light (decommissioned 1922)
  • New Dorp Light (Swash Channel Range Rear, decommissioned 1964)
  • Staten Island Range Lighthouse
  • Fort Wadsworth Light(decommissioned 1965)
  • Jeffreys Hook Light
  • Blackwell Island Lighthouse (decommissioned 1934)
  • Throgs Neck Light
  • Kings Point Light
  • Execution Rocks Lighthouse
  • Stepping Stones Light

[edit] Waterfront jurisdictions

Boundaries extend to mid-Hudson on the west, into the Upper Harbor south of Governors Island, to the far pierhead line of the East River, Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil. The exceptions are the additional areas of Marble Hill section included north of the Harlem River (bounded approximately by Johnson Avenue, West 230 Street) and Liberty and Ellis Islands to their original 1834 waterfront. River </ref><ref name="ellis_nj"/>

[edit] Notes

<references />

[edit] See also

New York Harbor.

Geography of New York Harbor

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