Access to the world's oceans and rivers for transportation has historically been a major factor in the location and success of towns and cities around the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in New York City
Located on what is arguably one of the three best deep water ports in the world, New York City's status as the most important U.S. seaport was further enhanced by the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 making water transportation of goods and people from the interior of the continent to Europe and beyond much easier.
A third of all the merchant tonnage in the world once passed through South Street Seaport
at the end of Manhattan. Robert Fulton launched his first steamship here and this was the site of the first scheduled maritime departure.
The Statue of liberty
still stands in New York Harbor welcoming visitors and immigrants as it did for the more than 12 million people who arrived on sailing vessels and passed through nearby Ellis Island on their way to a new life in North America.
Shipping is no longer a major activity along Manhattan's waterfront. Today you are most likely to find pleasure and commuter water borne vessels in the form of the Staten Island Ferry
, cruise ships and personal sailboats on the waters of the Hudson River, East River and New York Harbor.
Visible in this panorama of New York Harbor are Governor's Island the Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and a cruise ship
loading passengers for a cruise around Manhattan. Nearby on land are Castle Clinton and the East Coast Memorial which honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II.