George Boorujy threw the bottle, containing a drawing of a cormorant and a signed letter into the harbour at Staten Island in October 2013, regional French newspaper Sud Ouest reported.
It washed up two and a half years later on a beach in the Aquitaine region of France where it was found last week by Brigitte Barthelemy, a painter, and her husband Alain who were out walking their dog Elton.
Brigitte was intrigued by the perfectly preserved drawing and the letter congratulating the finders of the bottle and jokingly asking that they did not respond with another letter in a bottle, a "very inefficient" means of communication.
In fact, Boorujy gave his email address in the letter, so Brigitte was able to make contact by more modern means.
"When I saw the email from Alain and Brigitte, I was amazed and crazy with excitement," the French newspaper quoted the American as saying.
"And the fact that Brigitte is also a painter is extraordinary," he said.
Boorujy hopes his bottle will help raise awareness about the protection of wild birds.