Thursday, 8 January 2009


Peck Slip (South Street Seaport) in 1850

Peck Slip today looking from Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive

Peck Slip is named after Benjamin Peck, who had an active ship-fitting business here in the mid-1700's. The actual slip was created in 1755. In 1763, he built the slip market at this location, which was one of the many predecessors of the Fulton Market.

Thomas Edison located his first electric generating station near here at 255, Pearl Street in 1882. In fact, it was the first commercial generating system for incandescent service in the United States. He selected this area because the financial community was nearby (the first lights were turned on at 23, Wall Street) as were the newspapers (in and around Park Row.) ConEd still maintains this electrical substation on the north side of Peck Slip.

Mural on the blank side of the ConEd Building on Peck Slip

Richard Hass' 1977 mural, Trompe l'oeil (above) depicts a classical colonnade, complete with an illusionistic view through the brick wall to the Brooklyn Bridge. Trompe l'oeil (pronounced trump loy) is a phrase borrowed from French which literally means "that which deceives the eye." It is a painting style that gives an optical illusion of depth or distance where there is only a flat surface. The technique uses shadows and receding lines to trick the eye into believing there is something in the distance when there is really only a picture on the wall.

Another example of Richard Hass' work can be found on a building (below) at East 83rd Street and York Avenue depicting the largest glockenspiel (exterior clock) in New York City.

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