World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lower New York Bay

Lower New York Bay shown in pink
Hudson River estuary 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
View over the Lower New York Bay from Wolfe's Pond Park on Staten Island

Lower New York Bay is a section of New York Bay south of the Narrows, the relatively narrow strait between the shores of Staten Island and Brooklyn. The southern end of the bay opens directly to the Atlantic Ocean between two spits of land, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Rockaway, Queens, on Long Island. The southern portion between Staten Island and New Jersey, at the mouth of the Raritan River, is named Raritan Bay. The Hudson Canyon, the ancient riverbed of the Hudson River which existed during the last ice age when the ocean levels were lower, extends southeast from Lower New York Bay for hundreds of miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby part of the Atlantic Ocean between New Jersey and Long Island is the New York Bight.


  • History and geography 1
    • Lighthouses 1.1
    • Islands 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3

History and geography

Since before the time of the Lenape, the Native American inhabitants of the area, the Lower Bay has sustained a rich marine ecosystem with multiple fish species and molluscs, especially oyster, clam and mussel beds. In the 20th century, due to increased population and industrial pollution, the water quality of the bay and its ability to support marine life was severely diminished. The water quality of the bay began to improve with the passage of the Clean Water Act.

The main shipping channel through Lower New York Bay is the Ambrose Channel, 2,000 feet wide and dredged to a depth of 40 feet. The channel is navigable by ships with up to a 37-foot draft at low tide.[1] The entrance to the Ambrose Channel was marked for many years by the Lightship Ambrose, which was superseded by the Ambrose Light.

The bay contains popular beaches at Brighton Beach and Coney Island in Brooklyn. There are also beaches on Staten Island. Just outside the bay, facing the Atlantic, are the beaches of Sandy Hook and the Rockaways.


Several lighthouses were built to aid navigation in and around Lower New York Bay, located both on land and in the bay itself. The earliest, at Sandy Hook, was built in colonial times.

In New Jersey:

In New York:

Within Lower New York Bay:


There are two small artificial islands in Lower New York Bay, both located a mile offshore from South Beach, Staten Island.

In the early 20th century, both islands were used as a quarantine station, housing immigrants found to have been carrying contagious diseases when they landed at Ellis Island.[4] At the start of World War II the United States Merchant Marine used both islands as a training station (which opened in 1938);[2] the Quonset huts built during this period still stand on Swinburne Island.

The other major use for the two islands during World War II were as anchorages for antisubmarine nets that fenced off New York Bay from the Atlantic Ocean to keep enemy submarines out. Both islands are now part of Gateway National Recreation Area.[2]

Fort Lafayette was on a small island in the Narrows, just off the Brooklyn shore. That island was removed during construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Coney Island, originally separated from the southern shore of Brooklyn by a narrow strait, has since been connected to the main part of Long Island by landfill, and is now a peninsula despite its name.

See also


  1. ^ United States coast pilot: Atlantic coast. From Point Judith to New York, Part 4 By U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Herbert Cornelius Graves, p. 187. Publisher: University of Michigan Library (January 27, 2010) Language: English ASIN: B0037CEPUY
  2. ^ a b c Kenneth T. Jackson. The Encyclopedia of New York City. The New-York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. p. 149
  3. ^ Poole, M. O. (February 28, 1937). "Historic Islands At New York's Front Door.".  
  4. ^ "Quarantine At New York".  

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.