Lower New York
Bay is that section of New York Bay south of The Narrows
, the relatively narrow strait between the shores of Staten Island
. The southern end of the bay opens directly to the Atlantic Ocean between two spits of land, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Rockaway, Queens
, on Long Island
. The southern portion between Staten Island and New Jersey, at the mouth of the Raritan River, is named Raritan Bay.
Canyon, the ancient riverbed of the Hudson River which existed during the last ice age when the ocean levels were lower, extends southeast from Lower New York Bay for hundreds of miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby part of the Atlantic Ocean between New Jersey and Long Island is the New York Bight.
The main shipping channel through Lower New York Bay is the Ambrose Channel, 2,000 feet wide and dredged to a depth of 40 feet. The channel is navigable by ships with up to a 37-foot draft at low tide.The entrance to the Ambrose Channel was marked for many years by the Lightship Ambrose, which was superseded by the Ambrose Light.
The bay contains popular beaches at Brighton Beach and Coney Island
in Brooklyn. There are also beaches on Staten Island. Just outside the bay, facing the Atlantic, are the beaches of Sandy Hook and the Rockaways.
Several lighthouses were built to aid navigation in and around Lower New York Bay, located both on land and in the bay itself. The earliest, at Sandy Hook, was built in colonial times.
In New Jersey
Fort Lafayette was on a small island in the Narrows, just off the Brooklyn shore. That island was removed during construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Coney Island, originally separated from the southern shore of Brooklyn by a narrow strait, has since been connected to the main part of Long Island by landfill, and is now a peninsula despite its name.