The East River flows beneath some of our most iconic bridges, but the waterway itself is a hallmark of New York City. The 16-mile span, which connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end, has been the focus of urban development plans like the Citywide Ferry Service in recent years. However, it’s also a picturesque fixture of the city that draws thousands of visitors to the waterfront on a daily basis.

1. The East River is Not Actually a River

New York City apparently has a knack for incorrectly labeling its geological fixtures. Previously, we explained why the Hudson River is not technically a river, but an estuary. Similarly, the East River is actually a “salt water tidal strait” since it’s not comprised of any fresh water. While inland rivers travel in one direction, the East River’s direction of flow changes with the time of day; sometimes, you’ll find it heading North-East to Connecticut, and other times, it’s flowing South to New Jersey.