Upon hearing a rough description of this remnant, Dr. Geismar, president of the Professional Archaeologists of New York City, had guessed it was a vault that held coal to heat a long-gone building. But upon further review, Dr. Geismar was less certain.
“This isn’t typical,” she said, after leaning over the edge of the street to inspect the stones.
Normally, a coal vault would be made of bricks and open at the top. But this wall of stacked stone had a rectangular opening at the bottom that made it resemble a fireplace. She speculated that it could have been the foundation of a structure built in the 19th century and that the opening had been cut in more modern times to accommodate utility lines.