National Geographic : 1962 Mar
Sunset gilds Spuyten Duyvil Creek and silhouettes the Henry Hudson Bridge. point, in Gen. John Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. With peace, a tide of immigrants flowed from Europe to New York. Many looked westward and found that the easiest road west was north-up the Hudson to Albany by boat, then westward by oxcart through the valley of the Mohawk. Waterway West-the Erie Canal "Clinton's Ditch," the Erie Canal, finally gave Albany a water link with the Great Lakes, and the westward trek swelled to a massive migration. The Hudson-Erie route became not only the chief highway of trade to the frontier, but after 1825 made New York City beyond question the most important port on the North American continent.* We had lived some years before in New 370 York City, and had since visited many of the world's other great seaports. I hoped this time to view with detachment the huge, restless complex of marine commerce that sprawls at the Hudson's mouth (page 364). For a week we roamed its piers and criss crossed its turbid waters by tug, ferry, and sightseeing boat. But as before, I turned away baffled. The immensity of New York Harbor simply eludes the mind's grasp. We can say that more than 40 million tons of foreign cargo, worth 11 billion dollars, an nually funnels through its warehouses and piers; that it handles 13,500 ocean ships each year, one entering or leaving every 20 minutes; that tens of thousands of smaller craft, from railroad barges to water taxis, ply its waters. *See "Here's New York Harbor," by Stuart E. Jones, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, December, 1954.