The Narrows

Coordinates: 40°36′48″N 74°02′53″W / 40.61333°N 74.04806°W / 40.61333; -74.04806
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40°36′48″N 74°02′53″W / 40.61333°N 74.04806°W / 40.61333; -74.04806
The Narrows
Verazzano Narrows Bridge aerial 01 - white balanced (9457282678).jpg
Brooklyn at bottom and Staten Island at upper right with the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge connecting them over the strait.
Wpdms terra thenarrows red.jpg
New York Harbor, as seen in a TERRA satellite image. The Narrows is shown in red, connecting Upper New York Bay to Lower New York Bay.
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
MunicipalityNew York City
Physical characteristics
SourceUpper New York Bay
MouthLower New York Bay

The Narrows is the tidal strait separating the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City, United States. It connects the Upper New York Bay and Lower New York Bay and forms the principal channel by which the Hudson River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It has long been considered to be the maritime "gateway" to New York City and historically has been one of the most important entrances into the harbors of the Port of New York and New Jersey.



The Narrows was most likely formed after deposition of the Harbor Hill Moraine about 18,000 years prior to the end of the last ice age. Previously, Staten Island and Brooklyn were connected and the Hudson River emptied into the ocean through the present course of the Raritan River, by taking a more westerly course through parts of present-day northern New Jersey, along the eastern side of the Watchung Mountains to Bound Brook, New Jersey, and then on into the Atlantic Ocean via Raritan Bay. A build-up of water in the Upper Bay allowed the river to break through to form the Narrows less than 12,000 to 13,000 years ago as it exists today.[1]

Post-European contact[edit]

The first recorded European entrance into the Narrows was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, who set anchor in the strait and was greeted by a group of Lenape, who paddled out to meet him in the strait.

In August 1776, the British forces under William Howe on Staten Island undertook an amphibious operation across the Narrows and landed in Brooklyn, where they routed Washington's Army at the Battle of Long Island.

The Staten Island Tunnel, carrying the New York City Subway across the Narrows, was partially built during the 1920s but was never completed.[2] The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was completed across the Narrows in 1964.[3] The longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, it is still the longest suspension bridge in the United States (by length of the main span).[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Charles Merguerian (2003): The Narrows, Flood – Post-Woodfordian Meltwater Breach of the Narrows Channel, NYC (pdf; 1,5 MB)
  2. ^ Raskin, Joseph B. (2013). The Routes Not Taken: A Trip Through New York City's Unbuilt Subway System. New York, New York: Fordham University Press. doi:10.5422/fordham/9780823253692.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-82325-369-2.
  3. ^ "Verrazano Bridge Opened to Traffic; New Landmark Greeted With Fanfare in Harbor". The New York Times. November 22, 1964. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  4. ^ McCauley, J. K. (November 25, 2014). "The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 50". City Room. Retrieved November 28, 2022.


External links[edit]