Hell Gate: “The waters, like wild beasts” Claude Rust

By the time Eric realized he had misread the guidance regarding the timing of passing through Hell Gate, the gateway from Manhattan into Long Island Sound, it was too late. Elizabeth Jean was already on her way up the East River and we were an hour later than the guides recommended.  Would the hour make a difference between having 5 knots of current working in our favor or against us?  We would soon know.

The video below (not of our passage) shows Hell Gate’s wild beasts unleashed.


Our East River Passage provided an interesting perspective of a number of the City’s most spectacular bridges.

East River7

Approaching the Brooklyn Bridge.  Bridge construction began in 1869 and concluded in 1883.  John Augustus Roebling, the bridge’s designer, died from tetanus following amputation of toes crushed while inspecting the bridge site.  His son, Washington Roebling, took over the project.  He suffered from decompression sickness from inspecting the underwater chambers used for building the stone towers.  Emily, Roebling’s wife, played a critical role in supervising construction during the 11 years of construction following her husband’s incapacitation.

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The 4 blue spheres on each bridge support distinguishes the Manhattan Bridge which opened in 1909.

East River

The Williamsburg Bridge, the second bridge to be built over the East River (1903) was the first suspension bridge with all-steel support towers.  The bridge connects the Lower East side with Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

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Looking back on the Hell Gate Bridge, an inverted bowstring truss bridge.   In the background is the Robert Kennedy, or Tri-borough, Bridge.

East River5

Elizabeth Jean at the center of the screen approaches the Hell Gate Bridge with 11 knots of speed-over-ground, over five knots are provided by current in our favor.  Eric’s calculations turned out to be alright after all.

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Approaching the Whitestone Bridge.

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The Throgs Neck Bridge, the last bridge on the East River, seen from Long Island Sound.

For more information regarding the East River Bridges see:

Know Your Landmarks: Bridges of the East River

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