In 1913 the new McAlpin Hotel, at Broadway and 34th St., "instantly became a fashionable meeting place for visitors and shoppers around Herald Square. The hotel featured an elaborate basement restaurant that, when new, was named the Rathskeller but soon became more commonly known as the Marine Grill because of the twenty spectacular maritime murals" designed by Frederick Dana Marsh. The component tiles were fired by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Co., which in the early 20th century also produced a great deal of ornamentation for the New York subway system.
When the Marine Grill was demolished in 1989, six murals (five are shown here) were preserved. Today they have a home within Fulton Center, the downtown transit complex not far from the city's traditional maritime transit complex, New York Harbor.
The final photo shows details of the mural that depicts the sidewheeler Commonwealth (click for a closer look). You can make out not only a sea beast in one corner — perhaps a fanciful dolphin — but also the cargo of a small sailing vessel. Marsh, the artist didn't provide a manifest; we can only guess what might have been inside those barrels.
Marine Grill Murals
Frederick Dana Marsh, c. 1913
Fulton Center MTA passageway (near the William St. entrance), Manhattan