FDR Drive


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The Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive (commonly referred to as the FDR Drive or East Side Highway) is a 9.44-mile (15.19 km) freeway-standard parkway on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. FDR Drive 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 / Robert F. Kennedy Bridge exit, where FDR Drive becomes the Harlem River Drive. All of the FDR Drive is designated New York State Route 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. The FDR Drive features a mix of below-grade, at-grade, and elevated sections, as well as three partially covered tunnels.

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 FDR Drive is at street level, until FDR Drive passes underneath Houston St overpass, then continues at grade. Once past the 14th St curve, it becomes elevated briefly, except 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 St, 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 slightly over the northbound roadway, so the Queensboro Bridge northbound exit can be built. North of 63rd street the roadways become level and run underneath the platforms of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, while remaining at grade.
From 79th to 90th Street runs a final enclosed, at-grade portion. The promenade of Carl Schurz Park was built over the FDR Drive highway, near Gracie Mansion. Except for a short elevation over the 96th Street interchange, the remaining portion of the roadway from this FDR Drive tunnel to the 125th St interchange is at grade.
The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway runs below, beside or above the motor road, except between 34th and 63d Streets. A plaque dedicating the East River Drive is visible on the southbound roadway before entering the Gracie Mansion tunnel at 90th Street.

Originally named East River Drive, FDR Drive was later renamed after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 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.
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 Two. 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 FDR Drive.