As a geographical entity, the term New York Harbor is taken to mean alternatively New York Bay or specifically the portion inside the Narrows known as Upper New York Bay.

More broadly, the term often implies the commerical activity of the port of New York City, including the waterfronts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Jersey City and Hoboken.

Historically, the harbor has the most important port in the United States and furnished one of the principal means by which passengers and goods were transported to and from New York City.

Since the 1950's, New York Harbor as a commercial port has been almost completely eclipsed by the container ship facility at nearby Port Newark.