A Winter Wonderland Causes the Hudson River to Freeze

Lower Manhattan viewed from the Staten Island Ferry. (February 25, 2015)

With the appearance of huge shards of ice in the Hudson river, New Yorkers wondering one thing: how long until we can walk over the river from Manhattan to Brooklyn? Although it is described as one of the worst winters in a 28 year history by ferry operators, to our surprise in the 1800s the river often froze giving its residents the ability to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn across the ice covered water. 

Although this, now, unlikely discovery sounds alluring, New Yorkers will have a long wait until the river completely freezes. Due to heavy boat traffic and a high level of saline, it becomes more difficult to transform the Hudson River into an ice skating rink and passage to Brooklyn. 

With temperatures dropping to 15 to 25 degree below average, the East River is filled with ice chunks. 

Surrounded by ice, the historic Brooklyn Bridge reveals a freezing river. 

View more stunning aerial images of the Big Apple below. 

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George Bellows based this painting on a section of the Hudson River, north of where the George Washington Bridge stands today. 

George Bellows (1882–1925), Floating Ice, 1910. Oil on canvas, 45 x 63 in. (114.3 x 160 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.96

The workweek got off to a rough start for New Jersey rail commuters recently. A disabled train blocked one of the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River to Penn Station during the Monday morning rush hour.

Thousands of people were left scrambling to find another way into Manhattan.

Frustrations like these are by no means uncommon. The rail tunnels connecting New York City to New Jersey are more than 100 years old, and they’re starting to fall apart. In July, power cable failures in the Hudson River tunnels caused massive delays for days in a row. Commutes that normally take an hour grew to two, even three hours, and high-speed train service between Washington, D.C., and New England slowed to a crawl.

“It’s the bottleneck for the entire Northeast corridor,” says Tom Wright, the president of the Regional Plan Association in New York.

Aging Tunnels Under Hudson River Threaten To Disrupt Transport, Commerce

Photo credit: Chuck Gomez/Amtrak
Caption: Amtrak workers install new electrical cable in the north tube of the Hudson River tunnels.