FDR Drive-NYC-Rubble-London-WWII Blitz

A new book Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition reveals that a large portion of the landfill on top of which the FDR Drive is built comes from building rubble from the WWII Blitz in Bristol, giving the nickname Bristol Basin.

The source is none other than the inimitable Kenneth Jackson from his book The Encyclopedia of New York City, who writes that “Convoys of ships returning from Great Britain carried the broken masonry in their holds as ballast.” (Ballast is what holds downs ships and give them additional stability).

A recent article on Jalopnik states that the section from 23rd Street to 34th Street comes from the Battle of Bristol, which saw the destruction of 85,000 buildings.

Curious what that abandoned roller coaster-looking thing is on the FDR? Find out here.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. See more quirky NYC facts and discoveries in our “Daily What?!” series. Submit your own via Twitter with the hashtag #DailyWhat.