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One Tank Trip: Great Falls

By Karin Mallett
Published On: Aug 17 2011 09:51:48 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 15 2011 04:56:16 AM CDT
PATERSON, N.J. -

Being in the center of an industrial city might not be the place you would pick to visit on a really hot day, but what we found tucked away in the middle of Paterson, New Jersey might change your mind.

In the middle of the urban jungle, just minutes away from New York City, is the second tallest waterfall on the East Coast.

Standing 77 feet tall, the Great Falls are second only to Niagra.

There's a synergy between the natural beauty and the tough exterior that's piqued the interest of many an artist.

There are a couple different viewing spots for the falls. You can walk right over the Passaic River on the Overlook Bridge. Underneath all the water is volcanic rock.

The falls, which is the entire Passaic River rushing over the rock, were formed during the end of the last ice age, about 13,000 years ago.

Right aftter the Revolutionary War, the falls caught the eye of one of our founding fathers.

Alexander Hamilton saw the falls as a power source and selected the site as the nation's first planned industrial city.

"It was a place of innovation, technology and really a story of the American dream," said Gianfranco Archimede of Paterson.

Over the years, the falls have attracted attention, becoming a National Natural Landmark in 1976 and a National Historical Park in 2009.

Even if you've never been there, the falls may look familiar thanks to one of TV's most infamous families.

The Great Falls got their 15 minutes of fame when the Sopranos threw someone over them.

Back in the real world, it's the tranquility that attracts visitors. And here's a tip. If you plan to take a trip to the Great Falls, check out the live feed first from a camera that captures the falls because every once in a while, there's no water.