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Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive

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Title: Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Houston Street, East River Greenway, December 1992 nor'easter, Riis Houses, Baruch Houses
Collection: Parkways in New York City
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive

Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive marker

Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive
Map of New York City with Franklin D. Roosevelt East River (FDR) Drive highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NYSDOT and NYCDOT
Length: 9.44 mi[1] (15.19 km)
Existed: 1955[2] – present
History: Upgraded in 1966[2]
Major junctions
South end: NY 9A (West Street) in Battery Park
  I-495 (Midtown Tunnel) in Murray Hill
NY 25 (Queensboro Bridge) in Sutton Place
North end: Harlem River Drive in East Harlem
Counties: New York
Highway system

The FDR Drive (officially referred to as the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, and sometimes known as the FDR) is a 9.44-mile (15.19 km) freeway-standard parkway on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It starts just north of the Battery Park Underpass at South and Broad Streets and runs along the entire length of the East River, from the Battery Park Underpass under Battery Park – north of which it is the South Street Viaduct – north to 125th Street / Triborough Bridge exit, where it becomes the Harlem River Drive. All of the FDR Drive is designated New York State Route 907L (NY 907L), an unsigned reference route.

The highway is mostly three lanes in each direction, with the exception of a small section underneath the Brooklyn Bridge where it is two lanes southbound and one lane northbound. A section between the Queensboro Bridge/60/61st Street interchange is also narrowed to two lanes. By law, the current weight limits on the FDR Drive from 23rd Street to the Harlem River Drive in both directions is posted 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg). Buses are not allowed to use the roadway north of 23rd Street, because of clearance and weight issues. All commercial vehicles (including trucks) are banned from all sections of the FDR Drive.[3] The FDR Drive features a mix of below-grade, at-grade, and elevated sections, as well as three partially covered tunnels.


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
  • Exit list 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Route description

FDR Drive approaching Brooklyn Bridge

The FDR Drive starts at the southern tip at South and Broad streets and becomes elevated to a point between Jackson Street and Gouverneur Slip, near the Manhattan Bridge exit. From there it is at street level, until it passes underneath the Houston Street overpass, then continues at grade. Once past the 18th Street curve, it becomes elevated briefly until 25th Street. At 30th Street the southbound roadway again becomes elevated; the northbound roadway is at street level when passing through Waterside Plaza between 23rd and 34th streets, then realigns with the southbound roadway above ground.

The roadway quickly dips onto street level after passing 42nd Street, the southbound roadway is inside a later structure resembling a tunnel while the northbound roadway appears to be on the outside of the tunnel. This is due to the construction of the United Nations Headquarters on a platform above the FDR which is at grade. From 51st to 63rd streets, in this tunnel, the southbound roadway is raised and runs over the northbound roadway, for access to the northbound exit/entrance to Queensboro Bridge. North of 63rd Street, the roadways become level and run underneath the pilotis of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, while remaining at grade.

FDR Drive at night

From 79th to 90th streets runs a final enclosed, at-grade portion; the southbound roadway is again raised over the northbound roadway in a short segment of the tunnel. The promenade of Carl Schurz Park was built over the highway, near Gracie Mansion. Except for a short elevation over the 96th Street interchange, the remaining portion of the roadway from this tunnel to the 125th Street interchange is at grade.

The East River Greenway runs below, beside or above the motor road, except between 34th and 63rd streets. A plaque dedicating the East River Drive is visible on the southbound roadway before entering the Gracie Mansion tunnel at 90th Street.


Looking north from 6th Street overpass

Originally named East River Drive, FDR Drive was later renamed after Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[4] The roadway was designed by Robert Moses. He faced the difficulties of building a parkway/boulevard combination along the East River while minimizing disruptions to residents. The section from 125th Street to 92nd Street is the original 1934 construction, while sections from 92nd Street down to Battery Park (with the exception of a section from 42nd to 49th streets) were built as a boulevard, an arterial highway running at street level. Future reconstruction designs from 1948 to 1966 converted FDR Drive into the full parkway that is in use today.[5]

The section of highway from 23rd Street to 34th Street was built on wartime rubble dumped by cargo ships returning from Bristol, England, during World War II. The German Luftwaffe bombed Bristol heavily. After delivering war supplies to the British, the ships' crews loaded rubble onto the ships for ballast, then sailed back to New York, where construction crews made use of it.[6]

Exit 6, at 15th Street, has been closed since the September 11, 2001 attacks. This is because it is located near a Con Edison substation, which handles most of the electricity for lower Manhattan. City and ConEd officials believed it was far too risky to allow such easy access to such a critical piece of infrastructure, and there are no plans to ever reopen it.[7]

Exit list

The entire route is in Manhattan (New York County).
Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
0.00 0.00 NY 9A north (West Street) to Hugh L. Carey Tunnel Southern terminus
Battery Park Underpass under Battery Park
1 South Street – Battery Park, Staten Island Ferry No southbound entrance
1.30 2.09 2 Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Civic Center
3 South Street – Manhattan Bridge Southbound exit and northbound entrance
4 Grand Street – Williamsburg Bridge Southbound exit and entrance
3.03 4.88 5 Houston Street – Holland Tunnel
6 East 15th Street Southbound exit and entrance; closed since September 11, 2001[7]
3.87 6.23 7 East 20th Street / East 23rd Street
4.80 7.72 28th Street Southbound entrance only
4.80 7.72 8 nolink=yes East 34th Street to I-495 (Queens Midtown Tunnel)
5.05 8.13 9 East 42nd Street Northbound exit only
United Nations Tunnel under the UN Headquarters
10 East 49th Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
11 East 53rd Street Southbound exit only
Tunnel under Sutton Place Apartments
6.14 9.88 12 nolink=yes East 61st Street / East 63rd Street to NY-25 east (Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Northbound exit for East 61st Street, southbound exit for East 63rd Street
Tunnel under Weill Cornell Medical Center
13 East 71st Street Southbound exit and entrance
East 79th Street Southbound entrance only
Tunnel under Carl Schurz Park
7.94 12.78 14 East 96th Street
15 East 106th Street Southbound exit only
16 East 116th Street Southbound exit and entrance
9.44 15.19 17 I-278 (Robert F. Kennedy Bridge) – Bruckner Expressway, Grand Central Parkway No northbound entrance
9.44 15.19 18 nolink=yes Willis Avenue Bridge to I-87 (Deegan Expressway) Northbound exit only
9.44 15.19 George Washington Bridge Northern terminus; continuation beyond I-278 and I-87 connections
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive close to the Queensboro Bridge.

See also


  1. ^ a b "2007 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF).  
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Steve. "FDR Drive". NYCRoads. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Parkway Truck Restrictions".  
  4. ^ "FDR Drive – Historical Sign". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. December 20, 2001. 
  5. ^ "East River Park Highlights". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. 
  6. ^ Pollak, Michael (June 26, 2009). "FYI Column".  
  7. ^ a b Siff, Andrew. """Since 2002, FDR Drive's Exit 6 Mysteriously Says "Closed.  

External links

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive at Alps' Roads • New York State Highway Termini
  • FDR Drive (Greater New York Roads)
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