NEW YORK HARBOR, SHIPPING.
West Street which begins off Battery Park and skirts the city, facing the Hudson, is the great shipping section. It is one long succession of steamers, ships, piers, docks and ferries. Thousands of wagons, motor trucks and every description of moving vehicle are constantly coming and going. A diminutive street car traverses practically the whole waterfront.
Those interested in shipping will find this mode of conveyance a good way of viewing the scene. The car moves leisurely along and stops frequently. You need plenty of time for a trip on the Belt line, as interruptions are frequent and congestion is so great. But this affords opportunity for study and reflection and to jot down a few thoughts on the Traffic of a Great City. New York is now one of the great Ports in the world. Some say it is the greatest, but London still leads slightly.
The section along West Street from about Chambers Street to Desbrosses is known as "The Farm." It is the receiving station for all our huge food supplies and to accommodate the bulky merchandise the street has been widened an extra hundred feet. Here all the Coast line steamships discharge their Southern produce and the great railroads, tapping the rich farming states adjacent to New York bring their huge contributions to the breakfast table of the metropolis. Apples, potatoes, garden truck by the thousands of barrels and hundreds of tons, are received almost hourly.
The manner in which these goods disappear almost instantly is a caution. They are sold right on the pier, moved out-side to the "Farm" and then removed by their new owners. The new style motor trucks carry off as much as ten tons at a time and as the cars themselves weigh six tons, some idea of the wear and tear on the streets of New York is apparent.
But the most amazing thing of all is the tremendous amount of goods continually arriving and departing. Something over eight thousand men are engaged in the work of handling alone. Everything is more or less perishable and must be gotten out of the way at once. No wonder a longshoremen's strike is so serious.
The Fruit Exchange is located in Franklin Street. Here come all the fruits, foreign and domestic. One can hardly realize that lemons in lots of twenty-five thousand boxes are frequently disposed of in a few moments. Who in the world has use for so many lemons at one time? Oranges and grape fruit from Florida, Porto Rico and California; apples from Oregon, pines from Hawaii, and the enormous products of the great fruit ranches of the Pacific Coast, here find an outlet.
The New York market has an insatiable appetite. It is seemingly a bottomless pit. Every nation in the known world contributes. Cargoes arrive in endless procession. All the fruit sales are by auction and for cash. It is perhaps the last remaining business in which the old custom of selling to the highest bidder still prevails. And it is on a stupendous scale. Practically the entire foreign fruit trade of the country is con-ducted in the few blocks comprised in the "Farm" we are looking at, with the exception of bananas. These are brought in by the ships of the great White Fleet of the United Fruit Company and unloaded directly onto lighters alongside the steamers at their docks, located just a little south of the Farm, and from there shipped direct to all parts of the country. Thousands of bunches are handled daily.
Just beyond the "Farm" begins the famous old Gansevoort Market. There used to be a fort of the same name here in olden days. It resembles closely Covent Garden in London. All the Long Island farmers with their garden truck piled way up high and covered with canvas like a hay wagon, occupy one side of the square.
They sell direct to the green grocers who come from all parts of the city. Across from the market gardeners are the dealers in all kinds of Live Poultry: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea-hens, quail, partridge and every conceivable kind of bird.
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