Hell Gate, narrow channel of the East River, SE N.Y., between Wards Island and Astoria, Queens, New York City. Named Hellegat by the Dutch navigator Adriaen Block, who passed through it into Long Island Sound in 1614, it was dangerous to ships because of its strong tidal currents and rocks. Cleared of all obstacles, it allows oceangoing vessels to sail between New York harbor and Long Island Sound. It is crossed by the Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough) highway bridge and by the Hell Gate railroad bridge.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.