NEW YORK HARBOR. CHELSEA DOCKS.
The New York Central tracks come in here from the West and on their sidings stand the newly arrived refrigerating cars with dressed meats. Armour, Swift, Hammond, Cudahy, Wilson and all the great packers are represented. It is the great wholesale meat section and supplies the mammoth hotels, butchers, delicatessen shops, etc.
Leaving the market we come into the Chelsea Improvement Section, one of the most notable triumphs of a municipality in the reclamation of a water front. This was formerly a region of antiquated wooden piers, dropping away piecemeal from sheer rottenness.
The old 13th Street dock in particular was to the New York boy forty years ago what the old swimmin' hole is to the country boy today. The head of that old dock is now far inland. Delamater's old Iron Works were here in those days and Ericsson, who lived on Beach Street, nearby, superintended the building of his famous iron clad Monitor at these yards. Holland bought his idea for an undersea boat here also and the first practical Submarine was launched from the same yard that produced the Iron Clad. Both these ideas revolutionized naval architecture the world over, and to little old New York belongs the credit of their origin.
Something of this prophetic vision appears to be indigenous to this neighborhood. When the project of reclaiming this run down water front by a series of docks of such immensity that private capital demurred at the undertaking, perhaps the success of the Monitor and the Submarine gave the authorities the needed courage to embark on the enterprise as a municipal work. Too much cannot be said of the success of what is now known the world over as the Chelsea Docks, headquarters of the great Transatlantic lines, White Star, Cunard, American, etc.
They are a thousand feet long. Their massive concrete flooring resists all attempts at wear and tear and will remain after the Appian Way is forgotten. The architect of these docks has also recognized the value of beauty in their construction. Mari-time mythological figures ornament the exterior. The lines of the buildings are impressive. It is somewhat difficult to describe exactly the solid satisfaction which perspective gives the beholder.
Massiveness and strength are blended with the refining influence of chastity in design. The broad plazas in front, the generous approaches from the street, make this Improvement, one of which the city can well afford to boast. Nor is the beneficent result of this superior architecture con-fined to the Docks themselves. The surrounding buildings are fast being brought into harmony with the dignified lines of the Chelsea Improvement, the splendid structures of the National Biscuit Company being a case in point. The success of this experiment has been so great that the city is extending the system between 44th and 59th Streets.
Directly opposite these docks, on the Hoboken side, is the former home of the great North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American lines. Their once proud fleets now fly the American flag after the most ignominious and contemptible surrender in the history of sea power. These docks have witnessed many stirring scenes during the last two years. Nearly four million American boys sailed to and returned from France from this point of embarkation. The property now belongs to the Federal Government.
On this side also are miles and miles of railroad cars bearing another of the city's prime necessities—coal. Trainload after trainload follows each other continuously up a trestle to a towering coal heap containing thousands of other tons and are emptied automatically. This huge pile never seems to change. Notwithstanding the constant additions by the never-ending line of fresh supplies there is a counter effect in the deliveries to boats, lighters, etc., at the water edge which equalizes things.
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