polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Digging the Past

by Vivien Park

Urban archeologist Scott Jordan has been excavating the remains of New York City since 1969. Starting in Governor's Island, where his father was stationed, Jordan eventually moved to Manhattan in 1976 and continued his quest for historical artifacts. Every Sunday, at the Green Flea Market on Columbus Avenue and 76th, you can find him as a vendor selling old bottles, restored pottery, and handmade collages of found objects.

Just like his collages, the stories behind the relics are often incomplete - mainly as brief descriptions of the objects and where they were found. Yet the beauty that emerges from these objects is undeniable. Not just in what was left behind, but more importantly in what was missing.

Credits: Video of Digging the Past from Shane Dixon Kavanaugh.