Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunken Treasure off Elizabeth New Jersey

New York Magazine (thanks Earl) published an absolutely fascinating article a couple weeks ago called Secrets of the Deep. I saw it on Kottke.com, where I never fail to find something great.

I read every word in this incredibly informative report about the waters in and around Manhattan, New York. But the story that captivated my imagination the most is this one because I grew up exactly there in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

23. 1,600 Bars of Silver, Weighing 100 Pounds Apiece
In 1903, a barge in the Arthur Kill—the oily, mucky arm of the harbor between Staten Island and New Jersey—capsized, spilling its cargo of silver ingots. It carried 7,678 bars; about 6,000 were recovered soon after. The rest are still down there. At today’s prices, they’re worth about $26 million. Every now and then, someone tries to find them. So far, no luck.


  1. Just to clarify, the article was from New York Magazine, not the NY Times.

    The entire article is fascinating. New York Magazine is the only mag that I consistently read.

  2. I know the Athur Kill. I did a lot of bizarre bike trips on Staten Island and discovered a lot of strange places.
    I remember the Arthur Kill as a strange marine graveyard of derelict ships rotting as the slipped beneath the oily waters.
    There is also a strong current.
    The abandoned boats are pretty interesting as they really are a history of the coastal waterways, now they are the apartment houses for hundreds of cormorants.
    It seems a dangerous place to dive with som much junk on the bottom...

  3. Our city Elizabeth is connected to Staten Island by the Goethals Bridge. As teenagers, for generations, the Jersey kids would drive over the bridge to do their first drinking and partying on Staten Island. In my day and always before that the drinking age in NJ was 21 and in NY it was 18.

    The Arthur Kill was pretty nasty in the 60s, but my father said in the 40s he and his friends swam in it and caught crabs in it.