Tag Archives: East River

Snowfall by the River

East River in snow

By Johna Till Johnson

I’ve always loved the East River.

She’s not really a river at all, but rather a connector between Long Island Sound and New York Harbor.  That topography accounts for her rapid currents, which are slightly out of sync with those of the Hudson (a tidal estuary). And it also accounts for much of her charm. To me, the East River has always been beautiful, mysterious, and slightly dangerous, with an allure that’s impossible to resist.

Before I learned to kayak, I’d walk along the river and think, “Wouldn’t it be lovely to go into the water?” Crazy thought! In addition to the swift currents, the East River was known in decades past for pollution and the occasional dead body. (These days, the water is much cleaner. There are even dolphins!)

After I took up paddling, I ended up actually in the East River more than once, usually by design (practicing capsizing in current) but one memorable time entirely by accident. And I’ve paddled its length many more times than that—my best count is that I’ve circumnavigated Manhattan around 40 times, and I’ve paddled out to Long Island Sound a handful of times as well.

But as is the case with most true loves, knowing the East River better only increases her allure.

It was natural, then, when a blizzard rolled in, for me to make time to go down to the East River and see what she looked like in snow.  I’m biased, but isn’t she gorgeous?


By Johna Till Johnson


Snow beside the East River, late winter 2017

Bent necks, leaning
Towards the East River
What are they listening


By Vladimir Brezina

Under the Brooklyn Bridge in the East River, the waves are always fun… ;-)

Waves 1
Waves 2For more photos from this Manhattan circumnavigation see here.

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Waves.

Independence Day

By Vladimir Brezina

Impressions of this year’s fireworks over NYC’s East River—

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Independence.

Ice on the River

By Johna Till Johnson

Ice on the river

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me!

Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

This is quite possibly my favorite poem ever. I once memorized part of it to recite for Vlad’s birthday. It always gives me shivers, in part because Whitman was, literally, talking directly to us, “men and women generations after me”.

But this past February, there weren’t many “crested and scallop-edg’d waves”—only acres of ice floes, bobbing sluggishly in the current. It’s hard to believe that lively, open water will return–but spring is less than a month away!

Ice floes have their own bleak beauty, though, especially during a snowstorm. I recently took a walk along the East River and up alongside the Harlem River. This is what I saw (click any photo to start slideshow):

Rear Window

By Vladimir Brezina

Like James Stewart in Rear Window, I’ve been trapped at home for some days by an inconvenient but (hopefully) temporary ailment. And there is the rear window, and I, too, have my camera! But whereas peering into two or three neighbors’ windows might have its fascination, it pales when the windows number in the thousands

But looking out at the river never pales.

Day 1, sunrise

Day 1, sunrise 1
Day 1, sunrise 2

Day 2, sunrise

Day 2, sunrise

Day 3, sunset

Day 3, sunset 1
Day 3, sunset 2
Day 3, sunset 3

Independence Day Spectacular

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

DSC_0701 cropped small

“A ticket to see fireworks? Don’t you just, uh, look up?” That was my friend Kathy’s comment when I mentioned Vlad had made the long, hot trip downtown in a thunderstorm to pick up our tickets for the fireworks.

Normally, she’d be right: For the past few Independence Days, we’d gone up on the roof, or just looked out from our window on the 17th floor. Even in New York, some things are free!

But these weren’t just any fireworks.  This was the first time ever they’d be in the lower East River—even be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge! And our friend John, who, like Vlad, is a photographer, would be in town expressly to take photos, and we needed to find an uncrowded location for them to set up their tripods.

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