Tyger (ship)

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Tyger
Career
Fate: Burned November 1613
General characteristics

Tyger[1] was the ship used by the Dutch captain Adriaen Block during his 1613 voyage to explore the East Coast of North America and the present day Hudson River. Its remains were uncovered in 1916 during the construction of the New York City Subway on land that is now part of the World Trade Center complex.

Shipwreck[edit]

In late summer of 1613, Tyger had moored in Lower Manhattan on the Hudson to trade with the Lenape Indians along with its partner Hendrick Christiaensen's Fortuyn. By November, Tyger had been filled with pelts of beaver, otter, and other skins obtained in barter.

In November, an accidental fire broke out and Tyger rapidly burned to the waterline. The charred hull was beached and all but the small section of prow and keel salvaged in 1916 (q.v.) remained in that location, buried beneath what later became the intersection of Greenwich and Dey Streets in Lower Manhattan. During the fire, the crew salvaged some sails, rope, tools and fittings and, over the winter, Block and his men – presumably with help from the Indians – built Onrust (Restless), which they used to explore the East River and Long Island Sound before returning to Europe in 1614.

Rediscovery[edit]

In 1916, workmen led by James A. Kelly uncovered the prow and keel of Tyger while excavating an extension for the New York City Subway near the intersection of Greenwich and Dey Streets. The ship and some related artifacts were discovered by Kelly's crew at a depth of about 20 feet (6.1 m) below the street – right where it had been beached on the shoreline of Manhattan Island at the time of the ship's burning. Over a period of 150 years after the vessel had been beached, approximately 11 feet (3.4 m) of silt accumulated and, in 1763, a waterfront fill-in project added another 8 to 9 feet (2.4 to 2.7 m).

Although the excavation crew was under great pressure to keep the pace of work on schedule, Kelly persuaded his supervisors to allow sufficient excavation to remove about 8 12 feet (2.6 m) of prow and keel with three of the hull's ribs.[2] The timbers were placed in the seal tank of the New York Aquarium in Battery Park. In 1943, they were presented to the Museum of the City of New York for exhibition in the Marine Gallery.[3]

The remainder of the ship may still rest approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) below ground, due east of the former site of the North Tower of the World Trade Center; however, it might have been dug up in the process of building the World Trade Center. Also, Tyger appears not to have been the only ship wrecked on the World Trade Center site.[4][5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Also written Tiger, Tijger, and Tyjger.
  2. ^ Kelly, James A. Personal relation to his grandson John L. Kelly.[non-primary source needed]
  3. ^ Williamson, W.M. (1959). Adrian Block: Navigator, Fur Trader, Explorer, New York's First Shipbuilder, 1611-14. New York: Marine Museum of the City of New York, Museum of the City of New York. 
  4. ^ Hallowell, Christopher L. (August–September 1974). "Disappearance of the Historic Ship Tijger". Natural History: 2. 
  5. ^ Dunlap, David W. (14 July 2010). "18th Century Ship Found at Trade Center Site". City Room blog. The New York Times.