One of the things that I love about New York City is that, beneath the city’s apparent modern image, there is so much history underground. I am fascinated by the amount of abandoned subway tracks under the city, location of multiple movies – Ninja Turtles and Mimic among my favorites – and urban legends, such as the existence of alligator communities in the sewers – and rats who teach Kung-Fu to pizza-eating turtles -.

This morning I read in La Vanguardia about the discovery of an 18th Century ship found by Ground Zero workershere in English, from The Guardian-. The vessel had been perfectly preserved a few feet under what used to be the bottom of the World Trade Center. It only seems to have suffered some kind of shrinkage, according to the experts architects from AKRF, the ones in charge of documenting every historical find on site.

The fact that there is a group of specialist cataloging the historical finds gives an idea of the likelihood of finding ancient objects and sites under the streets of Manhattan. This reminds me of my first visit to the beautiful city of Athens, when I found out that the building of the city’s subway got delayed several times – and for several years – because the tunneling machines kept running into historical sites, objects or traces of Greek history.

Barcelona is also a fascinating city in terms of what you can find underground. An entire Roman city lays under the streets of the Gothic District. The Museum of History of the City of Barcelona offers an impressive exhibit that takes you to the underground level of the city where 4000 square meters of the old Barcino are preserved.

Back to the discovery in downtown Manhattan, it is the major find in the city since 1982, when the remainders of a merchant vessel were found in the vicinity of Water St. For the ones who are not familiar with it, Manhattan was originally much smaller and was extended towards both sides by adding soil to enlarge the city. The largest economic and monetary deals are being done every day on top of where there used to be large harbors.

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