Old Ferry Stairs

William P. Chappel American

Not on view

Despite its title, this scene depicts the stairs for the New Ferry (est. 1795) that conveyed people, goods, and even livestock to and from Brooklyn. A clue to the site’s identity is the appearance at the far right of the two Catherine Market buildings that open onto Front Street. In the early 1800s, the environs of the market also served as a space for enslaved blacks from around the region to compete in dances or "break-downs" atop boards called "shingles" in exchange for money or food. The choreography of these performances would influence later forms of African American dance.

Old Ferry Stairs, William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878), Oil on slate paper, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.