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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Archaeological Discovery/Making Land

 
 
Archaeological Discovery/Making Land Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 19, 2019
1. Archaeological Discovery/Making Land Marker
Inscription.  
Right: Archaeological Discovery
While excavating to build Imagination Playground, archeologists uncovered buried wharfs. Codswise’s Wharf, along John Street, was built between 1803 and 1807 by George Codwise Jr., a prominent New York merchant. Remsen’s Wharf, at Burling Slip and Front Street, was built about ten years earlier.
What is a Wharf?
A wharf is a structure that extends from the shore into a harbor to serve as a docking place for ships. The wharfs on this site was built of pine and hemlock timbers from the Hudson Valley, which were stacked horizontally and notched together like the walls of a log house.

Left: Making Land
As the leading port in New York City, the South Street Seaport was an international center of commerce by the mid-19th century. Making land along the waterfront was common in New York City from the earliest settlement through recent times. Approximately one third of Manhattan’s current landmass south of City Hall is comprised of artificially made land.
Wharfing Out
Slips provided a place for ships to dock between wharfs. Over time, slips were extended into the river. Most of
Archaeological Discovery/Making Land Marker site image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 19, 2019
2. Archaeological Discovery/Making Land Marker site
Imagination Playground atop the site of Burling Slip
the made land in the city was built through this progressive process of “wharfing out.”

Did you know? The place where you are standing used to be under the East River.
 
Erected by NYC Parks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 40° 42.363′ N, 74° 0.227′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Burling Slip near South Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Imagination Playground, New York NY 10038, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Urban Archeology/Then and Now (here, next to this marker); 170-6 John Street, 86 South Street (within shouting distance of this marker); High Water Mark (within shouting distance of this marker); Wavertree (within shouting distance of this marker); 207 - 211 Water Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 203 Front Street (about 400 feet away); 206 Front Street (about 400 feet away); Fulton Fish Waist - 142 Beekman Street (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Imagination Playground image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 19, 2019
3. Imagination Playground
Original structures still line the Burling Slip site.
South Street Seaport Historic Dictrict streetsigns image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 19, 2019
4. South Street Seaport Historic Dictrict streetsigns
Inset image. Click for full size.
5. Inset
The site of Imagination Playground was under water until about 1840. This is how Burling Slip might have looked before it was filled.
Inset image. Click for full size.
6. Inset
Dendrochronology (tree ring analysis) was used to identify the ages and geographical origin of the timbers used to build the wharfs.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 26, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 69 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 26, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 28, 2021