Manhattan is bound by the Hudson River to the west, the Harlem River to the north and the East River to the east. The East River, which separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island, is actually a tidal strait that flows from Long Island Sound into the New York Harbor, which is obvious when you notice the high tide marks on the surrounding shores.
That may be the geographic reality, but as far as I can tell, the East River is simply a wide, aqueous road. It’s almost always busy, a mix of gigantic barges nosed along by colorful tugboats, pleasure cruisers zooming by, sailboats silently gliding next to commuter ferries churning to their next stop, party boats with booming soundtracks, waving tourists on tour boats, police cruisers in their blue stripes and the occasional brave Jetskier.
Pedestrian paths run almost the entire circumference of Manhattan, perfect for biking along the river on a warm summer morning. Here’s a little tour in pinhole, Diana and Instagram photos.
The remains of this abandoned pier are at about 120th Street. Across the river at the right edge of the photo is a tent from Cirque du Soleil, which sometimes sets up camp on Randalls Island.
This beautiful little bridge at 103rd Street, the Wards Island Bridge, is a pedestrian and bike bridge that leads over to, surprise! Wards Island and Randalls Island. It’s painted a beautiful shade of turquoise. The center portion between the supports lifts up when river traffic needs to pass through and when the island closes for the night.
This pretty spot is next to Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence, although he doesn’t actually live here. It’s in Carl Schurz Park, which has a beautiful promenade. In the distance on the far right is the ramp to the Triborough Bridge, now renamed the RFK bridge, but nobody calls it that. It’s still the Triborough to the masses.
Here’s a bit of river traffic, a sturdy little tugboat. This is shot from the promenade at 82nd Street. You can see the Queensboro Bridge coming into the photo on the right. These buildings are on Roosevelt Island, a long, skinny sliver of land which once housed both grazing sheep and a smallpox hospital, which survives as a ruin on the southern end of the island.
This is a pinhole shot looking north from the pedestrian walkway that crosses the East River Drive at 78th Street. The long exposure resulted in something you never see: a carless New York. Of course, the pedestrians and boats disappeared as well.
Here we are looking south from a high terrace on 72nd Street. The river is a little sliver on the left.
The Queensboro Bridge! What a beauty. I love this bridge. It’s the one you see in the movie Annie Hall, in the scene where Alvy and Annie sit on a bench and talk until sunrise. It’s also known as the 59th Street Bridge. Marathon runners come streaming over this bridge into Manhattan every November.
That was a pinhole. Here’s a Diana photo. I love the way the bridge hovers over Roosevelt Island like a protective shield.
This shot of the Queensboro was from a client’s bedroom window. Boy, would I love to wake up to this! Unfortunately, someone recently decided to paint the bridge beige. It looked more macho in its former light blueish-grey.
And we’ll finish with the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Instead of the classic head-on shot, I went down to the promenade and shot from below. Just behind is the Manhattan Bridge. There are 10 bridges that span the East River, so it looks like I have a bit more work to do!