6. Shellfish Were Once Plentiful Off of The Battery

Oysters, mussels and clams were once plentiful in New York Harbor. So plentiful, that in the 19th Century, New York City shipped shellfish all over the world with oysters and clams some of the country’s biggest exports. In the early 1600s there were over 200,000 acres of oyster reefs in New York Harbor. By the 1900s, toxicity levels in the water led to the disintegration the habitats. By 1906, the last oyster had vanished.
The map above shows how the first inhabitants of Manahatta, the Lenape, made use of the land at the southern tip, which was named Kapsee, meaning “sharp rock place.” Today it is illegal to eat any shellfish taken from New York Harbor and there are efforts to reintroduce oysters back into the environment.