CHAPTER LVI. THE HARBOR.

The harbor of New York comprises the Hudson or North River on the west side of the island, the East River on the east side, and the inner bay lying between the mouth of the Hudson and the Narrows. Beyond the Narrows is the lower bay, which is little more than an arm of the sea, though the anchorage is good and secure.

The harbor contains the shipping of all civilized nations, and the flags of some of the barbaric powers are often to be seen at our piers. The North River piers are devoted to the great ocean steamship lines, and the steamers to domestic ports, while the East River is occupied by the old sail-vessels almost entirely. Each river has its peculiar characteristics, so that in leaving the water on one side of the island, and passing over to it again on the other side, one might easily imagine himself in a different port from that he has just left. The harbor is always full of vessels, and sometimes as many as fifteen first-class steamships will sail from the bay in a single day, bound for foreign and domestic ports. This is exclusive of the large number of river and sound steamboats, and sail-vessels, that arrive and depart daily.

                     THE HARBOR POLICE.

The peace and safety of the harbor are watched over by a police force, whose head-quarters are on a steamer. The force is composed of resolute and daring men, as the persons they have to deal with are mostly hardened characters, reckless sailors and the like. There are twenty- five men in the whole force, under the orders of a Captain and two Sergeants. They have charge of the two rivers and the upper and lower bay, and are constantly moving to and fro in their steamer and row- boats. The headquarters steamer is a gloomy looking black craft, called the "Metropolitan," which may be seen at all hours of the day and night moving swiftly around the city. The harbor police render efficient service during fires in the shipping, and are often called upon to suppress crime and violence, which are attempted beyond the reach of the patrolmen on shore.

                     THE RESCUE STATIONS.

Accidents are common in every large port, but the peculiar construction of the New York ferry houses renders the number of cases of drowning doubly great. In order to guard against this, and to afford timely assistance to persons in danger of drowning, "rescue stations" have been established along the water front of the city. There is one at each ferry house, and the others are located at the points where accidents are most likely to occur. These stations are each provided with a ladder of sufficient length to reach from the pier to the water at low tide, with hooks at one end, by means of which it is attached firmly to the pier; a boat hook fastened to a long pole; a life preserver or float, and a coil of rope. These are merely deposited in a conspicuous place. In case of accident any one may use them for the purpose of rescuing a person in danger of drowning, but at other times it is punishable by law to interfere with them, or to remove them. The station is in charge of the policeman attached to the "beat" in which it is located, and he has the exclusive right in the absence of one of his superior officers to direct all proceedings. At the same time he is required to comply strictly with the law regulating such service on his part, and to render every assistance in his power. The law for the government of those using the "rescue apparatus" is posted conspicuously by the side of the implements, as are also concise and simple directions as to the best method of attempting to resuscitate drowned persons. These stations have been of the greatest service since their establishment, and reflect the highest credit on those who originated and introduced them.