At least two people were injured, but both are expected to survive.
The chain-reaction accident happened just before the Van Cortlandt Park exit.
Motorists were slamming on their brakes as the highway slowed down but were unable to stop and slammed into the vehicle in front of them.
Drivers were rear-ended and also suffered damage to the fronts of their cars, leaving them immobile on the roadway. Each had to be towed off the highway.
All three southbound lanes were closed, and delays stretched all the way back to Westchester County. Residential roads were also cluttered as drivers tried tried to find alternate routes to work.
The northbound lanes were also backed up, as emergency vehicles clogged the road.
In total, traffic was at a standstill for 90 minutes before the scene was cleared.