David L Bradley.

Bradley's reminiscences of New York harbor online

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7 CoENTiEs Slit, New York,

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JUNE, 1896.

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^ll|ljHILE editor and proprietor of tlie MARITIME REPORTER (tlie first illustrated
'ill marine paper in tlie United States) and v hen the re-numbering of piers were so
I misleading, 1 conceived the idea of publishing a Directory, which, in its

originality and accuracy would supply the requirements of not only the shipping com-
munity, but the general public as well- It embraced the water fronts of New York,
Brooklyn and Jersey City, giving the location of every vessel line (steam and sail) and
all business firms along tlie entire water fronts, accompanied by diagrams of the streets
of the three cities, etc. The work was a success from the start, and, owing to its
reliability and completeness, gained a flattering reputation and large sales. As 'fast as
changes were made this Directory contained them, thus making it correct in every
particular to date of public. ition, hence the demand for each succeeding edition greatly
increased. The piesent edition embraces many new and original features: — Maps of the
Two Entrances to New York Harbor— Sandy Hook and East River— showing the several
channels leading thereto ; also, two-page chart of New York Upper Bay and Newark Bay,
Kill-Von-Kull, and several important inlets on Long Island Sound ; the depth of water
as per U.S. Government latest surveys are distinctly given; also, maps of Hell Gate,
Harlem River, Newtown Creek, Atlantic Basin, Erie Basin, Gowanus Bay, Boundary
Line between New York and New Jersey. The Directory alone has twenty-two separate
diagrams, showing the streets leading to the water fronts of the three cities, location -of
all Business Firms, Ocean Steamers, River and Sound Steamboats, Sailing Vessel Lines,
Freight Lines, Ferries; in fact, everything along the entire water fronts. There are also
tr-bles showing the distance from New York to different parts of the world, including
the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, etc., etc.

52 East 34th Street, DAVID L. BRADLEY.

Bayonne, N. J.


undreds of Compani
carefully arranged i

Maps and Charts : —

New York and Newark Bays - - lo

Sandy Hook Entrance to New York -

Set of Tide in Newark Bay ....

Long Island Sound : —
Boundary Line between New York and New Jersey
East Chester Bay . - - - . -
East Kiver Entrance to New York
Flushing Bay -..-. -
Great Neck lo Malinicock Point

Hemstead Bay

Huntington Bay

Little Neck Bay

Manhasset Bay

NortHport Bay - -

Oak Point to Eaton's Neck . - - -

Ufyter Bay

Port Morris to Great Neck ....

New York — North River Diagrams : —
Battery to North Moore Street . - - .
Gansevuort Street to W. 35th Street
North Moore to Gansevoort Street
VV. 35lh to W. 86th Street - - . -

East River Diagrams : —
Atlantic Basin and Erie Basin -
Battery to Pier 3Q -

E. 4lh to E. 25lh Street

E. 25lh to E. 50th Street - - - .

E. 5cth to E. Sgth Street

E. Sgth Street to Hudson River ... 41

Harlem River Improvement ....

Hamilton Avenue tn Navy Yard -

Navy Yard and Wallabout Creek

Newtown Creek — entire length

Newtown Creek to Astoria ....

Pier 39 to E. 4th Street ....

South Brooklyn

Wallabout Creek to Newtown Creek

Jersey City Diagrams : —
Communipaw and Morris Canal . . - -
Morris Canal to Favonia Ferrj'
Pavonia Kerry to Weehawken . . . -

Distances on the Hudson River

Distances and Bearings on Long Island Sound -

Distances on Long Island Sound from Battery

>erries from New York City

Reminiscences of New York Harbor . - 5 '

Steamship Routes

Steamship Lines — North River :—

Allan-State Line

American Line to Southampton .

Anchor Line, to Glasgow . . . ■

Atlas Mail Line, to West Indies

Arrow Line to Leith, Scotland

Atlantic Transport Line for London

Bristol Line . - . - -

Cunard Line . . . -

Campagnie Gen'l Transatlantique Line, 1

Columbian Line

Cromwell Line, for New Orleans

Kerr's Line to Jamaica

Munson Line, to Cuba and Mexic

Metropolitan Line, for Boston -


National Line (passengers and freight) - - 22

Old Dominion Line 22

Ocean Line, for Savannah .... 22

Quebec Line, Bermuda and West Indies • - 22

Red Star (American) Line, to Antwerp . - 20

Southern Pacific (Morgan Line) . . .20, 22

White Star Line (cargo and live stock) - . 22

White Star Line (passenger and freight) - . 22

Steamship Lines — East River ; —

Campania Transatlantic Espanola line - - 28

Clyde Steamship Service 28, 30

Mallory Line, for Texas .... 28

Maine Line 28

New Bedford Line . . - - . 30

New York and Haiti Packet Line - - - 28

New York and Cuba Line (J. E. Ward & Co.) 28

West India Line (Wm. P. Clyde & Co. , - - 28

Steamship Lines — Atlantic Basin : —

Bordeaux Line ...... 46

Corapaganie Nationale de Navigation a Vapeur

Line, Marseilles .... r 46

Central American Ijne .... 46

Earn Line ....... 46

Knott's River Line 46

Norton L'ne 46, 50

New York and Porto Rico Line ... 46

New York and Nicaragua Line .... 46

Tramp Lines ...... 46

Union Direct Hamburg Line - - - - 46

Steamship Lines — -Brooklyn : —

Anchor Line (freight) ... - - 48

Booth Line 48

Cyp'n Fabres French Line, for Marseilles - 48

Lamport and Holt Line for Brazil . - - 48

Mediterranean and New York Steamship ' o. - 48

Red Cross Line, for North Brazil . . - 48

Red D. Line, for Laguara etc. ... 48
Royal Dutch India Mail Service Line, for Port

au Prince, etc. 48

Red Cross Line .... - 48

Trinidad Shipping and Trading Line - - - 48

Vogemann Line for Hamburg ... 48

Wilson Lines for Leith, Newcastle on Tjne & Hull 48

West India Line 48

Steamship Lines — Jersey City and Hoboken : —

International Navigation Co. (Red Star Line) - 57

Hamburg American Packet Co. . - - 60

Manhasset Line 59

North German U. S. M. Line ... 6j
Netherland's American Steam Navigation Co.

U. S. M. for Amsterdam ... - 60

Ocean Line (Ireigbt), for Savannah - - 60

Phcenix Line to .\nlwerp 60

Sicilian Line 57

Thingvalla Line - ... - - 60

Dry Docks and Shipyards

28, 30, 32, 44, 46, 53, 54, 57- 60
Ocean Sailing Vessels . - - - 28, 30, 46
Passenger and Freight Steaml) lat Lin:— East

River - - - - - - 28, 34, 50

Passenger and Freight Steamboat Lines — North

Kiver 20 22, 24

Railroad Freight Stations

20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 34, 52, 53- 59, 60


New York Harbor.

HIS Harbor is a history In Itself, and has been appropriately calle'd " the cradle of steam navigation,"
for it was here, In 1807, that the first practical and successful venture In steamboating was made-
In that year the Clermont was built from designs of Robert Fulton, the Inventor. This steamer
made her first trip from New York to Albany in thirty-two hours, while It took the packet sloops
from four to six days. The rapid success of steam navigation on the Hudson River followed as a
necessity, and at the present time that "Queen of Rivers" can boast of the finest and fastest steamers
In the world. The first steamship to cross the Atlantic— the Savannah— was also built In New York, by
Francis Frickett and David Crocker, at Corlears Hook, East River, from designs by Wm. Scarborough,
of Savannah, Ga. The keel was laid in 1818, and she was launched August 22nd of the same year.
She was a full-rigged ship of 350 tons burthen, and had a direct acting, low pressure engine of qo h. p ;
diameter of cylinder 40-lnches, and 5-foot stroke of piston. The engine was built by Stephen Vail, at
Speedwell Iron Works, near Morristewn, N- J.; boilers by Daniel Dodd, Ellzabethport, N- J.

These were two Important events In river and ocean navigation and began a new era In
commercial Intercourse between the old and the new world, and instilled new life into the shipbuilding
Industry, so that In 1831 New York City became the leading place in the United States for this branch
of business. Among the most prominent shipbuilders located here at that time were the following :
Wm. H. Webb, one of America's greatest ship constructors and a most distinguished philanthropist.
His famous shipyard was at the foot of Seventh Street, East River. There were also Bergh & Co.,
Webb & Allen, Bell & Brown, Frickett & Thomas, Smith & DImon ; later, Divine Burtis. Wm. H.
Brown, Wm. Colyer, Thos. Colyer, John Englls. and a few others of lesser note. In 1831 the Allaire
and Novelty Works were the only builders of note of marine engines; later, Fletcher & Harrison, the
Morgan, the Phcenlx and a few other engine building works were established.

Three years previous to 1831 the arrivals and departures of river steamers at New York
reached 6,400, transporting 320,000 passengers. It Is mainly due to the State Canal system that New
York City's present supremacy Is attributed. If we look back to the commencement of the present
century we will find that Pennsylvania led the Empire State In population and wealth. At that time
New York City had a population of 60,615, while Philadelphia had 81,000, and even Baltimore came
within 1,503 of being up to our Metropolis. No later back than 1820 Philadelphia led our city by
11,931. It was not long, however, after the Erie Canal was opened, ere New York overtook her
competitors. The canal In regulating the freight rates of the railroads, by which the public was
protected against unjust discrimination and extortionate charges, was the means of booming our port,
hence Its rapid progress.

The commercial interests of New York City had reached such proportions that her avail ible
water front was inadequate to accommodate the Increased shipping. But relief came at last — the United
States Government heeded the urgent appeals for improving the Harlem River, and It Is now navigable
from the East River to the Hudson, and wharves are gradually springing up along the intervening
seven miles. The Importance of this undertaking to the -prosperity of New York is inestimable, as it
has been needed for many years. It must be borne In mind that two-thirds of the merchandise
imported into the United States Is received at the port of New York, and two-thirds of the import
duties are collected here. Three-fourths of the passengers travelling between the United States and
foreign countries come and go by way of New York, and three-fourths of all Immigrants land here.
The commercial statistics of the port from July ist, 1894, to July ist, 1895, show that 3,315 foreign
vessels entered and 3,228 cleared ; American vessels from foreign ports, i,oj2. Total registered tonnage,


The achievements of Americans on Ihe ocean are of the most brilliant character. The infant
navy in the war of 1812 achieved success which astonished even our most sanguine patriots, and placed
the American Republic in the front rank among maritime powers. Then came the period of clipper
ships built in New York and Brooklyn yards and commanded by true blue American ofTuers. Most
of these vessels haj their piers on the East River side and the old resident will recall his feelings of
pride and exultation as he saw the Red Jacket, Sovereign of the Seas, and a host of other clippers,
pointing their trim bows toward the Narrows, or coming up the Harbor with all flags flying, after a
successful voyage to London, Liverpool, San Francisco and China. Tugboats were hired by the packet
ships in cases of emergency only. It cost $125.00 to be towed from a pier to three miles beyond
Sandy Hook. The newspapers chronicled the vessel arrivals and departures in bold head lines, and
their quick passages were the subject of conversation in all circles. In 184} the largest sailing ship
in e.xistence was i.oco tons. It was not given a thought in tliose days that steam would eventually
drive sailing ships from the ocean between New York and leading European ports, as they have done.

The first iron clad battery was conceived by. Robert L. Stevens, of Hoboken, N. J , in i8j2.
It was to ha/e been an iron armored ship, 250 feet in length. The keel was laid at the foot of
Fourth Street, Hoboken, in 1842. At odd periods new improvements were designed, and upon his
death Mr. Stevens left one million dollars with which to complete the vessel, directing that it should
then he given to the State of New Jersey. The million was expended, suits were brought by heirs,
and at last, in 18S0. the unfinished war vessel was sold as old material to W. E. Laimbjer for >55,ooo.

For the protection of the port of New York from pestilent! il diseases the Provincial Legislature,
in 1758, established a quarantine sUtion on Bedloe's Island. In 1768 th- station was removeJ to
Governor's Island, and in 1801 it was transferred to Tompkinsville, S. I , remaining there for many
years, until the steamship Falcon, in 1859, was used for the purpose, and was anchored just below
the Narrows. Between the years 1866 and 1870 an artificial island.CSwinburne Island) was made on West
Bank shoal, and quarantine buildings were erected. Between 1868 and 187) Hoffman Island was made,
and is used as a quarantine o( observation and isolation for immigrants who have been exposed to
dangerous epidemics.

Fort Hamilton, on the eastern shore (Long Island), is located on a military reservation of
ninety-si.x acres. On an artificial island, just off Fort Hamilion. is Fort Lafayette, commenced in 1812
and completed ten years later. It is now used as a storage for ordnance supplies. Fort Wadsworlh,
across the Narrows from Fort Hamilton, is a three-tiered casemate rock of granite Back of this stands
Fort Tompkins, which is heavily armed On Bedloe's Island is Fort Wood, built in 1841.

Governor's Island was fortified as early as the year 179}, Congress at that time deciding that
fortification of wood and sand be erected for the protection of the Harbor of New York. Old Fort
Columbus was erected in 1806, and repLiced an older fort called after the first Chief Justice, Fort Jay.
Since that period tlie island has been the residence of army officers. Castle William, a picturesque
fortress on the northwest point, was built between the years 1808 and 1812. One of its old cannons
has boomed forth the sunrise and sunset hours for many years. Governor's Island has an area of si.xty-
five acres. The mean rise and fall of tide is 4.4 feet; m.iximum, 5.2 feet: minimum, 3.6 feet.

Castle Garden is associated with so many incidents in the pa>t of Ne* York that a
history of its various uses, since it ceased to be a fort, and was in warlike trim, would fill many
pages. From the eariy days when its use as a defense of New York ceased, to within tlie time
it was occupied by immigrants, it h.id received almost every nat'onal visitor through its hospitable
gates. In 1819 the present building was (or rather its foundations were) built by the Government,
which had obtained from the city a cession of the land upon which it stands. When built it was
regarded as the strongest fortification which had ever been erected, and bid defunce to all the then
known modes of att.ick. It was not long held as a fortress, its uses being simply as a recruiting
station, and while occupied hy the army became a favorite resort of fashion. It was afterwards made
the landing place for all Immigrants, where, under the guardianship of the Board of Commissioners, they
found protection. It was formally opened by that Board in 1855. It is now transformed into a
public aquarium.


Sandy Hook Entrance to New York Harbor


has two entrances, the
Main or Sandy Hook
entrance, which is
equal to any other
harbor entrance in the
world, and the East
River and Hell-Gate
entrance, which has
been in course of im-
provement since 1869.
About teii years ago,
as the foreign com-
merce of New York
increased and the new
types of trans-Atlantic
steamships of larger
size and of greater
draught were rapidly
superseding the old,
the channels which led
to our harbor were
found shallow to a de-
gree which threatened
a total blockade for
vessels of the larger
tonnage. Steamships
of the Aurania and
City of Rome class
frequently grounded on

the Bar. The result of this, from a commercial point of view, was obvious. Steamships of enormous
carrying capacity were compelled to go out lighter than their limit. This caused a large yearly loss' to
shippers. On referring to the above diagram it will readily be perceived that the point of Sandy
Hook on the south and Coney Island on the north, distant from each other seven miles, form the land
barriers of the harbor, beginning at Coney Island, the first deep channel south, lies nearly parallel and
close to the shore, useful for small coasters and pleasure steamers going to or coming from the East.
A bank intervenes between this channel and the next deep water, known as the Fourteen-Foot-Channel.
Then comes the East-Channel, a passageway quite unknown, or at least, announced prior to 1835, at
which time the first United States survey was made. Immediately south of it lies the great Dry
Romer Shoal, about six miles long and one and one-hUf miles broad, forming a natural division of the
entrance waters— constant and firm both in nature and stability. South of this shoal are two channels
which run at nearly right angles to each other from the bay outward, and which join together east
of Sandy Hook, and by their junction create the bar channel, known as "Gedney's." In 1886 it was
strongly urged, but to no avail, that the East Channel be made the steamship channel {s« lieaTj> line
in map). It was argued that the Main Ship Channel was five miles longer than the East Channel,
and that its five courses had to be steered through three distinct sets of current forces, as against two


in the East Channel, where only one set of waters— those from the Narrows— were encountered. As
the foreign commerce of the Port of New York increased and the newer types of trans-Atlantic steam-
ships of greater draught, so JiJ the improvements to our harbor entrances keep apace. Nearly all
coast steamers and sea-going vessels of moderate draught use the S > ith and Swash channels. Ocean
liners and deep draught freighters use the Gedney's and main channels ; the former has )o-fe?t at mean
low water and a width of 1,000 feet Gedney's channel is about three miles outside of Sandy Hook
and east by north of it. The Narrows arj about seven miles from the Battery and from the former to
Sandy Hook is nine miles. Sandy HooK Lightship is 7S miles E.. ! S. from Sandy Hook Light.
Scotland Light Ship is 3* miles E. S. E. from Sandy Hook Light. From the Narrows (which are one
mile wide and thirty feet deep) to New York City there are no less than six fathoms of water in the
main channel. The shortest distance across the Lower Bay from the point of Sandy Hook is seven
miles. Main Ship Channel runs southward to a point about one mile west of the upper end of SanJy
Hook, thence turning at right angles runs northward and east.vard for four miles to the head of Gedney's
Channel. Conev Island Channel ii ten feet deip at msan low water. Fourteen-Foit Channel is nine-
teen feet deep. Through Swash Channel twenty-two feet can bi carried at mean low water. Operations
lor improving the Lower Bay, under project to provide a navigable channel i,odo feet wide and 30 feet
deep, mean low water, from the sea along Gedney's Channel and the Main Ship Channel, was bigun
September 26th, 1885, and completed October lolh, i8i)i. The distan.e from the Battery to thirty-foot
soundings outside the Bar in Gedney's Channel is twenty t.v) mile> and by the Swash C'lannel it
is eighteen miles, or, from the Narrows fifteen and eleven miles respectively. As surveyed in Dec.

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Online LibraryDavid L BradleyBradley's reminiscences of New York harbor → online text (page 1 of 6)