Thursday, October 05, 2006

A terrible beauty.

Walking from my daughter's school to my office this morning, I took the long way, by the Battery Park City esplanade. When I got to the North Cove yacht basin, I saw an antique-looking vessel docked at the southwest corner. She proved to be a replica of the slave ship Amistad, probably the one used in the movie of the same name.

Ironically, slavers were among the most beautiful of ships, as this view of Amistad's long bowsprit, graceful hull and aftward-raked masts shows. Those built after the slave trade was outlawed were made small and speedy so as to evade detection by, and outrun if necessary, patrolling warships. Speed was also of the essence because their human "cargo", chained below decks, was altogether too perishable.

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