A different view: across the Long Island Sound

I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,—by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.

Long Island Sound
Emma Lazarus – 1849-1887

Long Island Sound is an estuary. A very, very big estuary. It’s a place where salt water from the ocean mixes with freshwater from rivers and the land. Long Island Sound is unique in that it has two connections to the sea …. the Race to the east and the East River to the west. Note: the East River is not a river it is a saltwater tidal estuary in New York City. The waterway connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end.

  • Long Island Sound is a tidal estuary, which is a body of water consisting of both fresh and saltwater
    • 90% of the freshwater comes from three main rivers in Connecticut: the Housatonic, the Thames, and the Connecticut rivers
    • The saltwater flows in from the Atlantic Ocean
  • The total area of the Sound is ~1,300 square miles
  • LIS stretches from New York City to southern Westchester County, CT, and the northern shores of Long Island
  • The coastline is 600 miles long
  • The Sound is roughly 21 miles wide at the widest point, and 113 miles long
  • Waters reach between 60- to a whopping 350-feet deep at a channel known as “the Race”
    • The average depth is 63-feet in the center of the Sound
  • There are an estimated 18 trillion gallons of water in the Sound (enough to supply NYC with water for 33 years!)
  • The Sound has two high tides and two low tides every day
  • At least 50 different species utilize this special estuary for their annual spawning grounds
Photos: dievca, viewing Manhattan from LIC (Long Island City) 08/2020


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