Harlem River is a navigable tidal strait in New York City, USA that flows
8 miles (13 km) between the Hudson River and the East River, separating the boroughs of Manhattan and the
Bronx. Part of the current course of the Harlem
River is the Harlem River
Ship Canal, which runs somewhat south of the former course of
the river, isolating a small portion of Manhattan (Marble
Hill) on the Bronx side of the river.
The Harlem River is spanned by seven swing bridges, three lift
bridges, and four arch bridges , and is navigable to any boat with
less than 55 feet (16.8 m) of air
. However, any boat requiring more than
5 feet (1.5 m) of clearance will require the Spuyten Duyvil
Bridge to swing open.
All other movable bridges on
the Harlem River provide at least 24 feet (7.3 m) of
clearance while closed, so boats and ships requiring between 5 and
24 feet (1.5 and 7.3 m) of clearance need only have one
bridge swing open. These bridges replaced fixed bridges or lower
bridges in the late 19th century to improve navigation. In recent
years, test openings of the movable bridges on the Harlem River
have outnumbered openings for navigation. There are no fees for
navigation of the river.High Bridge was erected between 1837 and 1848 to carry the
Croton Aqueduct across the
It is the oldest bridge in New York City.
The New York
City Department of Transportation
advises that while they make
every effort to ensure that all bridges are operating, many of them
are under repair at any time, and outside contractors are
responsible for opening of bridges under repair. As well, sometimes
on hot summer days, many of the bridge decks seize due to thermal
expansion, and cannot open or close. Since the city will not allow
more than one bridge open at a time, a bridge seizing in the open
position can potentially leave a mariner stranded in a small
section of the river.
Harlem River Drive
and Harlem River Greenway
along the right bank of the river, and Hudson Line
railroad and Major Deegan Expressway
River was the traditional rowing
course for New York, analogous to the Charles River in Boston and the Schuylkill
River in Philadelphia.
On the Harlem's banks is the boathouse for
the Columbia University
and the river is the home course for the university's crew. The "C
Rock" refers to a large Columbia varsity "C" painted on a rock face
along the tracks used by Metro-North Railroad
Also on the river are the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse and Harlem
River Community Rowing, two community rowing facilities.
is used by crews from New York University, Fordham University, and Manhattan College, though the only university with permanent
facilities on the river is Columbia.
In the past, Columbia
rowers have assisted the New York City Police
in murder investigations by sighting bodies in the
water. Such occurrences have appeared in the television series
Law & Order
Misty morning over the Harlem
Aerial view of the northern part of Harlem River, with the
larger Hudson River close by in the background
- Sharon Reier: The Bridges of New York: Dover Press; 1977.