Let’s look at the boundaries of the sixth boro, using as reference two of the Holland Tunnel vent structures;  as you see in that link, we’ll call  New Jersey “land ventilation station” (to the left) and “river ventilation station” to the right.  I took this foto yesterday from the 18th floor of a building in Battery Park City.   I will re-take this when I find a higher platform.

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Here’s Seth’s foto from about 30 years ago, slightly higher and to the north.  Note the pier building then between the two ventilation stations.  Also notice the two angled piers and all the vacant land between there and the rail lines in Hoboken to the north.  I’m not sure of the name of the inlet between the “vacant” land and the railyards near the top of the foto.

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Here’s another shot I took yesterday showing the area between the river ventilation station and the building with the greenish roof, now called the Hoboken Yard and Terminal for New Jersey Transit.

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Here’s Seth’s foto from 30 years ago taken from near the land ventilator station looking north toward the Hoboken Yard and Terminal.

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If the changes in the sixth boro boundaries interest you, then the book to get is Thomas R. Flagg’s vol. 2 of New York Harbor Railroads in Color is the book to get.  Tom–a friend–took this foto in 1975 from the air.  In the lower left, notice the base of the river ventilation station.  Using that as reference and moving to the right (northward), you have a sense of what that space looked like before the building boom.

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From page 98 of Tom’s book, here’s the space in Jersey City south of the river ventilation station looking over to Manhattan.  The large pier to the left of the New York river ventilation station is Pier 40.

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And finally, from page 99 of Tom’s book,  taken from Manhattan in September 1967 by Allan Roberts, . . . possibly the World Trade Center, looking NW toward NJ, locate the two ventilation stations.  And  . ..  yes . . . that’s the SS United States.

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The waterfront . . .it has experienced a sea change from 30 years ago to now.  And stormy Sandy of seven months ago intimates that all this relatively rapid building on reclaimed land at sea level in the next 30 years could again experience a sea change.

Many thanks to Seth Tane and Thomas R. Flagg for use of their fotos.

Check out these additional fotos.  Orient yourself with the ventilation stations here.

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