New Jersey Palisades

New Jersey Palisades

The Palisades, also called the New Jersey Palisades or the Hudson Palisades (some portions are also referred to as Bergen Hill), are a line of steep cliffs along the west side of the lower Hudson River in northeast New Jersey and southern New York in the United States. The cliffs stretch north from Jersey City approximately 20 mi (32 km) to near Nyack, New York. They rise nearly vertically from near the edge of the river, ranging in height between 350 ft (107 m) and 550 ft (168 m). The cliffs are among the most dramatic geologic features in the vicinity of New York City, forming a canyon of the Hudson north of Fort Lee, as well as providing a dramatic vista of the New York City skyline from the opposite bank of the Hudson.


:main|Palisades SillThe cliffs are the margin of a diabase sill, formed approximately 200 million years ago at the close of the Triassic Period by the intrusion of molten magma upward into sandstone. The molten material cooled and solidified before reaching the surface. Subsequent water erosion of the softer sandstone left behind the columnar structure of harder rock that exists today. The cliffs are approximately 300 ft (100 m) thick in sections and were probably originally 1,000 ft (300 m) high, approximately two to three times as high as they are today.


The Lenape called the cliffs "We-awk-en", meaning "rocks that look like rows of trees" (Weehawken, New Jersey, which sits at the top of the cliffs across from Manhattan, takes its name from the Lenape word)."Palisade" is derived from the same root as word "pale", ultimately from the Latin word "palus", meaning stake. From this comes the figurative meaning of "boundary". [cite web|url= |title=Etymologies & Word Origins |accessdate=2006-08-27 |last=Wilton |first=David |]

In the 19th century, the cliffs were subject to widespread quarrying for railroad ballast, leading to local efforts to preserve the cliffs. A section of the cliffs north of Fort Lee were subsequently purchased by John D. Rockefeller, who donated them to the State for permanent preservation. The land is now a part of Palisades Interstate Park, a popular destination for hiking and other outdoor recreational activities, that also includes Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and several other parks and historic sites in the region.

In June 1983, the Palisades were designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Parks Service.

The term "cliffhanger" was created on the Palisades, when the popular silent movie serial "The Perils of Pauline" used locations around Fort Lee, then a major movie capital.

Crossings of the Palisades

This list runs from south to north. The south end of the Palisades is subjective.
*Pennsylvania Railroad cut (original alignment, now Conrail)
*Pennsylvania Railroad cut (now Conrail)
*Montgomery Street
*Newark Avenue
*North Hudson County Railway streetcar line (gone)
*Erie Railroad cut (Bergen Arches, now abandoned)
*Erie Railroad tunnel (now Conrail)
*Route 139/Hoboken Avenue
*Lackawanna Railroad tunnel (now New Jersey Transit)
*New York Avenue
*Hoboken Inclined Cable Railway (gone)
*Hoboken Wagon Elevator (gone)
*Mountain Road
*Franklin Street
*9th St/Congress St. Elevator on the HBLR
*Paterson Plank Road
*14th Street Viaduct
*North Hudson County Railway Hillside Line (gone)
*Weehawken Wagon Elevator (gone)
*Hackensack Plank Road
*Park Avenue
*JFK Boulevard
*Amtrak North River tubes (formerly PRR)
*Route 495 (Lincoln Tunnel helix/"Bergen Viaduct")
*Pershing Road
*North Hudson County Railway streetcar line (gone)
*West Shore Railroad tunnel (now Hudson-Bergen Light Rail)
*Hillside Road
*Bulls Ferry Road
*Church Hill Road
*Gorge Road
*New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway tunnel (now abandoned)
*Edgewater Road
*New Jersey and Hudson Railway Hudson River Line (gone)
*Route 5
*River Road (Route 505)
*George Washington Bridge
*Palisade Avenue
*Henry Hudson DriveNew Jersey/New York state line
*Washington Springs Road

Popular culture

*Marvel Comics supervillain The Owl had his base, "The Aerie", in the New Jersey Palisades.

*The New Jersey Palisades are referenced in the Thursday song "War All The Time". "Standing on the edge of the Palisades cliffs in the shadow of the skyline."

*The Palisades are referenced in the "Where's Johnny?" episode of "The Sopranos", in which a disgruntled Tony Soprano suggests that his Uncle Junior, demented and prone to wandering off, can wander off the cliffs.

*The Palisades are referenced in a verse by rapper Ja Rule in the 2002 hit "Always on Time" featuring Ashanti: "And I'm just outside of Jersey, past the Palisades."

*Billy Joel references them in his song "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)" from the album Turnstiles: "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway/I saw the Empire State laid low/And life went on beyond the Palisades."

Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams (a lower-Hudson Valley band) begins their song, "Alice in Space" with the lyrics, "Ridin' the Palisades up to her place..."

ee also

*Palisades Interstate Parkway
*List of National Natural Landmarks


External links

* [ Palisades Interstate Park]

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