On the very bottom left, hidden behind a plank of wood you can see a section of the old Manhattan seawall that runs under West Street.
It is not often that you get to see a piece of submerged city history exposed to the daylight, and primarily when this area is in the heart of Manhattan. But that is just what happened two weeks ago during construction at the World trade center site.
Viewable for a couple of days before it was dismantled, the old seawall showed the line that was once at the edge of the water before Battery Park was created with landfill.
In orange: The section of the old river wall constructed around 1899 that was covered by the Battery Park City Landfill.
The river wall was an extremely ambitious project proposed in 1870 and which took 6 decades to fully complete. Its purpose was to hold back the land behind it, to allow large vessels to dock at the island's edge, instead of on piers or wharves hundreds of feet off of the shore.
Though not as beautiful as the Brooklyn Bridge, this wall arguably had just of an important impact to the city. It allowed huge ships to be able to touch down right on the shore, to unload heavy cargo or passengers with much greater ease than before.
The wall is still visible north of the Battery Park landfill, which was created in the 1960s to expand the shoreline south of Chambers Street.
And here are a couple more photos of the WTC construction for those of you that haven't seen it. Also, two weeks ago an old 18th century ship was found in the center of the construction. You can view photos of that on the New York Times website, as they have a little better access to these things than I do.