The South Street Seaport Museum announces Fiestas Patrias, a celebration of Chile’s Independence Day

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The South Street Seaport Museum, in partnership with the Chilean Consul General in New York, announces Fiestas Patrias, a Chilean Independence Day celebration on Sunday, September 18, 2022 aboard the tall ship Wavertree at Pier 16 (Fulton and south).

Join the museum for a fonda with traditional Chilean food, plus dancing, music, and a flag raising. No registration necessary. Enjoy the full event starting at noon or stop by anytime between 12pm and 2pm. For more information, visit seaportmuseum.org/fiestas-patrias.

Wavertree spent more than 25 years in Punta Arenas, Chile, after being caught in a Cape Horn storm that destroyed her masts and ended her freighter career in 1910. It is likely that the Wavertree did not have flew the Chilean flag for several decades. until this coming celebration.

The ties between the historic South Street Seaport and Chile run through history, particularly in the shipping and printing industries. The newspaper La Voz de América was founded here in 1865. Chilean cargo and warships were built here, such as the light cruiser “O’Higgins”, and Grace Line steamers linked New York to several Pacific ports in Latin America, crossing the Panama Canal.

Today, more than 85% of Chile’s trade with the world is by sea, and Chile is the holder of the most free trade agreements in the world, bolstered by its maritime routes. It is the fourth largest user of the Panama Canal in the world, after China, the United States and Japan.

The 130-year-old Wavertree, built of riveted wrought iron, is an archetype of the second half of the 19th century sailing ships which, in the age of sail, lined South Street by the dozens, creating a forest of battery masts at the Brooklyn Bridge. Built in Southampton, Great Britain, she circumnavigated the globe four times during her career carrying a wide variety of cargoes. The ship called at New York in 1896, no doubt one of hundreds like it docked in the city. In 1910, after thirty-five years of sailing, she was caught in a Cape Horn storm which tore her masts and put an end to her cargo career. It was salvaged and used as a floating warehouse and then as a sandbarge in South America, where waterfront workers called it “el gran Valero”, the tall ship. She was rescued 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 to 2016, Wavertree underwent a $13 million restoration generously funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with support from the Office of the Mayor, City Council and Borough President of Manhattan and managed by the Design and construction department.

The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic New York Harbor district, preserves and interprets New York’s history as a great seaport. Founded in 1967, the museum houses an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and educational spaces, 19th-century print shops and an active fleet of historic ships that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” seaportmuseum.org

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