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Melville was born in Lower Manhattan and -- when he wasn't working on square-rigged sailing ships -- spent most of his life in the city.
"There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward…. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?—Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries."
-- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
For years, there was a bust of Melville inset into the wall behind 17 State Street, a 1988 office tower built by Emory Roth & Sons in the Financial District. The bust marked the spot (sort of) where Melville was born at 6 Pearl Street.
However, a recent renovation of the plaza has erased the Melville memorial. Do any readers know what happened to the bust? We've reached out to the leasing agent for the building, but so far have not heard back.
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