|The East River, looking north from Waterside Plaza|
Explore the East River from many view points, north and south -
Tentative Steps along the East River Park Promenade (East Houston to E. 10th)
While the river is historically important, serving as a major shipping lane for centuries, teeming with sailors, markets, tenements, wharves, and industrial sites, the fast-flowing East River still carries a lot of baggage. Deep associations with the rough-and-tumble world of the Dead End Kids or gritty crime dramas - bodies tossed in the East River, don't you know - may keep some away. The glamorous Hudson River often gets the good press, upstaging its eastern counterpart. Brooklyn, over yonder, may have established better relations with the East River than Manhattan, as their creative new Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its repurposed piers, has already afforded new close-up views and access to the waterway. (Their view of Manhattan is kind of nice, too.) Yet venturing out on the new refurbished promenade of the East River Park on the Manhattan side should appeal to those best suited to strolling among the basic elements of river, bridge, sky, and smokestacks.
Flow On, East River: Brooklyn to Manhattan, Once Again Upon a Ferry
For two hundred years, crossing the East River by ferry was a commonplace activity although often unpredictable. Residents of Brooklyn routinely commuted to Manhattan by this variable way of water, subject to storms and tides, no doubt a stomach-churning experience during a fierce storm or frightening during the icy waters of winter. During the 18th century, in addition to weather hazards, commuters often complained about inebriated boatmen or boats overloaded with cattle. With its inaugural service in 1814, the steam-powered Fulton Ferry made the voyage not only safer and faster but much more pleasurable. Poets like Walt Whitman could then focus on the metaphors of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" as opposed to simply hoping to reach the other shore.
A New Year, A New Place to Walk: Pier 15 on the East River Waterfront Esplanade (Lower Manhattan, east end of John Street)
This two-level pier is agreeably sleek and modern in appearance. Pier 15 affords yet new perspectives of the East River, the bridges, Brooklyn across the way, and the changing skyline of Lower Manhattan. It's also a great place to catch an exceptional sunset.
• The Wow Factor: A Stroll in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and A Visit to Jane's Carousel (Brooklyn, between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge)
|Nocturne: A full moon rises over Brooklyn.|
View from the Brooklyn Bridge
• The East River & Roosevelt Island Walk: Guide and Map
• A Walk to Bellevue and Beyond
Images from the archives of Walking Off the Big Apple.