The earliest means of transportation around Harlem River Harbor were sporting and trade boats moored on West Harlem piers.
These boats ran long the Harlem River coastline from the Harlem Rowing Clubs in Harlem. The piers ran from the southern part of Harlem around 96th Street to the and north part to 170th Street. In addition, to the sporting events most of the city’s manufacturing industries, railroad tracks, and shipping piers were along Harlem River Drive to the West Harlem shorelines. The boats would unload trade goods at the rear of the buildings and then the goods would be picked up by the horse-drawn carriages into the city. By the 1900′s the priorities of the Harlem coast line changed and brought the need for development with the goal of allowing public access to the water. In 1936 the boat clubs, Rowing Clubs and the manufacturing businesses were notified by Commissioner of Parks Robert Moses that the entire area would be demolished. Robert Moses stated in the New York Times that “the strip of waste land they occupied would be available … for people living in Harlem.”
The sporting events were family outings that took place right on the Harlem piers (as seen in the photograph above).
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