The Great Dock of New Amsterdam was the only pier that projected into the Hudson River for till the 1770's. It handled all the large ships arriving to the colony. In 1664, for instance, the Dutch ship Gideon arrived from Angola with with a cargo of 291 Africans which was the largest shipment of enslaved men, women, and children brought to the Dutch colony. The Dutch West India Company relied on Africans to build homes, fortifications, and even the Great Dock. Before the Gideon could be loaded again for its return trip, British warships arrived. Without a single shot being fired, New Amsterdam became New York, and about 150 Dutch soldiers marched onto the Gideon to sail home.Initially, New York was indistinguishable from New Amsterdam. By the 1670s, however, the English governors began to make their own improvements to the city. In 1675, the canal (Heere Gracht) was filled in and the wooden pier was replaced with the Great Dock – a stone pier surrounded by a breakwater. As trade increased so too did the population: from some 3000 in 1680 to nearly 5000 by 1700.

Constructed, 1659