Spuyten Duyvil Creek

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Coordinates: 40°52′30″N 73°55′5″W / 40.87500°N 73.91806°W / 40.87500; -73.91806

The mouth of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek with the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge
Blue shows the original path of the creek, north around Marble Hill and then curving south around the tip of the Bronx
Marble Hill was cut off from Manhattan when the Harlem River Ship Canal straightened the creek out, and a small piece of the Bronx became part of Manhattan (not marked on this map)
Spuyten Duyvil Creek from Inwood Hill Park; The "C" stands for Columbia University, which has athletics facilities, including a boat house, on the Manhattan side
A southern meander of the Harlem River, now a bay in Inwood Park

Spuyten Duyvil Creek /ˈsptən ˈdvəl/ is a channel connecting the Hudson River to the Harlem River Ship Canal and then on to the Harlem River in New York City, separating the island of Manhattan from the Bronx and the rest of the mainland. The neighborhood named Spuyten Duyvil lies to the north of the creek.


"Spuyten Duyvil" may be literally translated as "Spouting Devil" or Spuitende Duivel in Dutch; a reference to the strong and wild tidal currents found at that location. It may also be translated as "Spewing Devil" or "Spinning Devil", or more loosely as "Devil's Whirlpool" or "Devil's Spate." Spui and spuit are still today commonly used Dutch words involving outlets for water.[citation needed] Historian Reginald Pelham Bolton, however, argues that the phrase means "sprouting meadow", referring to a fresh-water spring.[1]


The creek was first crossed in 1693, when The King's Bridge was built by a Dutch nobleman Frederick Philipse, Lord of Philipse Manor, who had sworn allegiance to the British. The bridge's alignment was roughly south of and parallel to today's West 230th Street. The later-named Kingsbridge carried the Boston Post Road, connecting southern Westchester County (in what is now part of the Bronx) with Marble Hill, once part of Manhattan island, but still today part of Manhattan borough. The bridge is said to still be in place, having been buried when the creek bed was filled in. The creek water flow was redirected to the new and deeper shipping canal, south of Marble Hill.

Spuyten Duyvil Creek originally flowed north of Manhattan's Marble Hill. The construction of the Harlem River Ship Canal to the south of the neighborhood in 1895 turned Marble Hill into an island, and in 1914, when the original creekbed was filled in, Marble Hill became physically attached to the Bronx, though it remains part of the borough of Manhattan. Another realignment of the creek occurred in the 1930s, to the west of the original realignment. This had the opposite effect: It separated a portion of the Bronx and resulted in its attachment to Manhattan[2] as a small peninsula where the Inwood Hill Park Nature Center is now situated. Today, Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Harlem River Ship Canal, and the Harlem River form a continuous channel.

Harlem River Ship Canal[edit]

The Harlem River Ship Canal connects the Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the Harlem River, separating the neighborhood of Marble Hill from the island of Manhattan. Marble Hill, part of the borough of Manhattan, was cut off from the island by the construction of the ship canal and is now located on the mainland after the previous course of the creek was filled in. The Harlem River Ship Canal, completed 1895, was cut through upper Manhattan to allow larger ships to navigate. To allow passage through the remainder of the river, the existing fixed bridges were replaced by drawbridges.[3]


Three bridges cross the Spuyten Duyvil Creek; from west to east, they are:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Sypher, Frank J. "Dispute Springs Eternal Over 'Spuyten Duyvil'" (letter to the editor) New York Times (November 14, 1993)
  2. ^ Renner, James (September 2005). "Johnson Ironworks Factory". Washington Heights & Inwood Online. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  3. ^ John H. Betts The Minerals of New York City originally published in Rocks & Minerals magazine, Volume 84, No . 3 pages 204-252 (2009).

External links[edit]