Current River Conditions

Natural and Social History

Photo Galleries

List of Native Plants and Animals

Bronx River Stories

Histories

Gators in the Bronx!

The Old Snuff Mill

Jumpin' Jupiter!

The Mile Square

What's an Alewife, Anyway?

Water for Concrete

Paddling Back in the Day

1895 Tragedy in a Bronx River Swimming Hole

William Hart, the Bronx River Cowboy

Cowboys on the Bronx

Brittannia Rule the Bronx

The Old Drovers Inn

Look Out for the Little People!

Happy Birthday Bronx River Alliance

The Witch Canoe

Woodlawn Brook

The Mighty Kensico

The Battle of White Plains

Launching the Golden Ball

The Left Bank of the Bronx

Awaiting the Alewife

The Boltons of Bronxdale

Ann Hanson, the Bronx River Stevedore

Aunt Sarah Held the Bridge

Jerry, the Bronx River Sea Lion

How the Bronx Got Its Name

Lloyd Ultan's History of the Bronx River

The Wishing Rock

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Bronx?

Big Brown Joe Plugs the Pipe

Ungrateful Old Scrooge

Jonas the Peacemaker

Beaver Tales

Why the Beaver?

Bronx River Parkway Reservation

The Pudding Rock

The Rocking Stone

Edgar Allan Poe and the Bronx River

Shipbuilding on the Bronx

The First Canoes on the Bronx

There Were Bears in There

McAdam's Bronx River Driveway

The Mid-Bronx Ride of Paul Revere

The Many Names of Van Nest

The Frozen Water Trade

Colonel Burr Burns the Blockhouse

Beavers on the Bronx

Songs

Greenway Stories

River Restoration Stories

Video

The Left Bank of the Bronx

The neighborhood of Soundview lies along the eastern side, or left bank of the Bronx River Estuary. “Sound-view” is a curious name, since according to modern maps you cannot see Long Island Sound from there at all, but rather the East River. But a hundred years ago the name was perfectly accurate, as the Bronx River emptied into what was then considered to be part of Long Island Sound. It was only after New York City consolidated in 1898 that mapmakers labeled the waters enclosed by the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx as part of the East River.

Sailors and tugboat men had their own name for this stretch of water: the “Devil’s Belt.” Running from Throg’s Neck at the east to the aptly named Hell Gate below the southern tip of the Bronx, the Devil’s Belt was considered one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the New York area. Strewn with subsurface rocks and beset with tricky tidal currents, the Devil’s Belt was the scene of numerous shipwrecks, including some of the worst in the city’s history, as well as the legendary treasure-bearing ship Hussar.

Navigating the Devil’s Belt required a specialized corps of professional pilots to guide vessels through without mishap. Headquartered on City Island, the Hell Gate Pilots were established in 1757. Their heyday came during World War II, when nearly 15,000 vessels were diverted to Long Island Sound and the Devil’s Belt to avoid German U-Boats. Though few large vessels sail it today, Bronx River paddlers would do well to steer clear of the Devil’s Belt.

Stephen Paul DeVillo