Originally Posted by hellosailor
You'll want Eldridge or WXTides32 (free software
to download) to check the slack CURRENT
in the Hell Gate on any particular day.
Hellosailor is of course one of the most knowledgeable about the area as well. How could I forget him??
He makes a very good point above that I was going to make as well. Be aware that the "tide" and the "current" are very different things at this particular bend. They do not coincide.
If I remember correctly (and I'm foggy at best on this):
runs EASTWARD between Rikers Island or so and the Long Island sound
when the tide is falling. At the SAME TIME, the current runs SOUTH in the East River while the tide is falling.
Reversing all of the directions above, you can see the general behavior if the tide is rising. It's not quite a straight forward current/tide relationship, anyway.
I think I used to time it so that I was leaving Long Island Sound
(bound for New York
Harbor) at slack water
or a little bit after slack so that the tide would be falling by the time I came down to Hell Gate. If you do that, the East River becomes a wonderful white water
rapids ride... dodging bridge pilings, sea wall construction areas, commercial
traffic and ferries from every angle is fun! If you really catch the current well, and there is a lot of traffic on land, you can make better time than the southbound traffic on the FDR!! ha ha
Take a little time to read up on the area from a guide book if you can. The islands that blur by are fascinating as you head
from Riker's Island down the East River. They have an incredible history
. Some were used as quarantine islands during small pox outbreaks. Others, mass grave yards. Some have prisons (you'll see that one). There are old, weird abandoned buildings on them. I'm always in awe in that stretch of water, even if I lived on the big island (of Manhattan) for years. Those little ones to your port (away from the big island) are like little bits of history
broken off from NYC