Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. vii

Acknowledgments

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p. ix

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

New Yorkers have a dark fascination with their surrounding waters. Where else is it expected that sometime during mid-April, as the depths warm, bacterial activity will bloat the previous winter’s bounty of murders and suicides and cause them to rise to the harbor’s surface—a synchronized resurrection of the damned...

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1 The Essential Harbor

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pp. 5-13

New York Harbor has been inconsistently defi ned, existing as much as an abstraction as a geographic entity. I prefer to view it broadly as a sprawling estuarine complex, recognizing the interconnectedness of its many drainages. And if estuaries...

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2 Vita Marinae

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pp. 14-51

On the map Newark Bay is an armpit of New York Harbor, a geographical relationship fully consistent with its popular image. My own expectations of Newark Bay are in keeping with this view as we ready the trawl net at the stern of the Gloria Michelle, a research vessel operated by the U.S. National Marine...

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3 The Medium: Sewers, Sludge,and Other Forms of Water Torture

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pp. 52-77

In 1939 Carl Carmer wrote: “The Hudson of the people’s dream is a river of clear water.” If only a dream, it must have been a recurring one, fueled by its then-nightmarish qualities. Few water bodies have received the variety and volume of noxious wastes as have the Hudson River and New York Harbor. In the early...

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4 The Vessel: Bank and Bottom,Bulldozers and Blasts

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pp. 78-108

The threshold of water quality necessary to once again support a diversity of life in New York Harbor has been crossed. The real uncertainties concerning the future of the harbor surround its habitat—bank and bottom. The profi le of the harbor today bears little resemblance to Henry Hudson’s or Giovanni...

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5 How Is the Harbor Doing?

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pp. 109-116

Today the environment of New York Harbor stands wobbling, but it is growing stronger and steadier, like the survivor of a ghastly medical accident— a healthy victim given chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery for problems she never had. Although the harbor’s native biological glory will never be relived...

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Epilogue: 2000–2012

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pp. 117-134

It is now 2012, with New York Harbor having enjoyed the benefi ts of exactly forty years of nationwide water quality protections. Four decades since the degradation of America’s waters was so profound that in 1971 Congress passed legislation to do something about it. Back then, the harbor was only one of the...

Annotated Bibliography

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pp. 135-138

Index

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pp. 139-150