1: Monument to a Missing Island

Flood Rock was a small island just south Ward’s Island (the southern end of today’s Randall’s Island) and part of a larger reef system that obstructed shipping in the middle channel of East River at the approach to Hell’s Gate.

On October 10, 1885, vast crowds flocked to the upper Manhattan and Astoria waterfront to witness the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detonate 300 tons of dynamite and rack-a-rock explosives, in order to destroy Flood Rock.  The culmination of nearly three decades of work to open up the river channel, and many years digging the subterranean tunnels which held the explosives, the blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic age and was felt as far away as Princeton, New Jersey.