We’re really enjoying Nathan Kensinger’s Camera Obscura column over at Curbed exploring New York’s lesser-known  bodies of water. For a city surrounded by water and laced with streams and creeks, it’s incredible to think that waterways could ever be forgotten…but indeed they have been.

For his first entry, Kensinger took a look at the Harlem River:

For many decades, the Harlem River tidal strait between Manhattan and The Bronx was known as “New York’s Forgotten Waterfront,” its nine miles fragmented by a patchwork of industry, freight trains, chop shops, and communal dumps. In recent years, a loose coalition of concerned citizens and neighborhood groups has been working with the city to slowly reclaim the waterway, piece by piece, and today the Harlem River is showing renewed signs of life.

Wildlife on the Harlem River. Photo credit: Nathan Kensinger

Traipsing along the shores of the 9-mile waterway, Kensinger sees ample evidence of nature’s resilience—and a slew of New Yorkers who are dedicated to the river’s wellbeing.

“There’s a lot of life in there,” says Freddy, who has been fishing the Bronx side of these waters with his son for the past year. “Porgie, eels, flounder, blues, catfish, toadfish, striped bass. There’s some nice crabs. I wish I had a net. I jumped in the other day to get a crab and I was up to my waist.” Last year, over 70 different species were catalogued at Inwood’s North Cove by James Cataldi and his volunteers, including 45 types of birds that had stopped off at this remediated marsh, as well as mussels, clams, oysters, possums, raccoons, and muskrats.

See more at Curbed: New York’s Once-Neglected Harlem River Experiences a Rebirth