South Street Seaport Museum, in partnership with the Consul General of Chile in New York, announces Fiestas Patrias, A Chilean Independence Day Celebration on Sunday, September 18, 2022 aboard tall ship Wavertree at Pier 16 (Fulton and South Streets). Join the Museum for a fonda with traditional Chilean food, plus dancing, music, and a flag raising. No registration needed. Enjoy the full event starting at noon, or stop in any time between 12pm and 2pm.For more information, visit seaportmuseum.org/fiestas-patrias.
Wavertree spent over 25 years in Punta Arenas, Chile after she was caught in a Cape Horn storm that tore down her masts and ended her career as a cargo ship in 1910. It is likely that the Wavertree has not flown the Chilean flag for several decades until this upcoming celebration.
The ties between the South Street Seaport Historic District and Chile run across history, particularly in the shipping and printing industries. La Voz de América newspaper was founded here in 1865. Chilean freight and warships were built here, such as the light cruiser “O’Higgins,” and steamships of the Grace Line linked New York with several ports of the Pacific in Latin America, crossing the Panama Canal.
Today, more than 85% of Chile’s trade with the world is done by maritime means, and Chile is the holder of the most Free Trade Agreements in the world, bolstered by its maritime shipping routes. It is the world’s fourth most important user of the Panama Canal, after China, the United States and Japan.
The 130-year-old Wavertree, built of riveted wrought iron, is an archetype of the sailing ships of the latter half of the 19th century that, during the “age of sail,” lined South Street by the dozens, creating a forest of masts from the Battery to the Brooklyn Bridge. Built in Southampton, Great Britain, she circled the globe four times in her career, carrying a wide variety of cargoes. The ship called on New York in 1896, no doubt one of hundreds like her berthed in the city. In 1910, after thirty-five years of sailing, she was caught in a Cape Horn storm that tore down her masts and ended her career as a cargo ship. She was salvaged and used as a floating warehouse and then a sand barge in South America, where the waterfront workers referred to her as “el gran Valero,” the great sailing ship. She was saved by the Seaport Museum in 1968 and towed to New York to become the iconic centerpiece of the “Street of Ships” at South Street two years later. From 2015-2016, Wavertree underwent a $13 million restoration generously funded by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs with support from the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and Manhattan Borough President and managed by the Department of Design and Construction.
About the South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working nineteenth century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” seaportmuseum.org
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