The Blowing Up Of Hell Gate

As ships from across the Atlantic sail up East River and into Manhattan, they pass through a narrow tidal strait called Hell Gate situated between Queens and Ward’s Island. Tides from the Long Island Sound, New York Harbor and the Harlem River meet here, making this mile-long stretch of water very treacherous to navigation with giant whirlpools and hidden underwater reef. Historians estimate that about one in 50 ships trying to run the gauntlet of Hell Gate was either damaged or sunk in the 1850’s, and on average, about a thousand ships ran aground in Hell Gate each year.

Flood rock explosion on October 10, 1885.

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Flood rock explosion at Hell Gate on October 10, 1885.


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