A turn-of-the-eighteenth-century merchant ship


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"Imagine grabbing Manhattan by the Empire State Building and pulling the entire island up by its roots. Imagine shaking it... Picture mysterious little vaults just beneath the crust of the sidewalk, a sweaty grid of steam pipes 103 miles long, a turn-of-the-eighteenth-century merchant ship buried under Front Street, rusty old gas lines that could be wrapped twenty-three times around Manhattan..."

What is the meaning of the emphasized phrase?

The source: Robert Sullivan, Underneath New York, quoted in Stephen Graham, Vertical.
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