Source: Sawing off of Manhattan Island
"The sawing off of Manhattan Island is an old New York City story that is largely unverified.”
Yes, and it’s on Wikipedia. So…
"According to the story, in the 1820s a rumor began circulating among city merchants that southern Manhattan Island was sinking near the Battery due to the weight of the urban district. It was believed that by cutting the island, towing it out, rotating it 180 degrees, and putting it back in place that Manhattan would be stabilized, and that the thin part of the island could be condemned. Surprisingly the main concern was not the futility of the idea but of Long Island being in the way.”
Long Island always gets in the way. Ugh.
"The story did not appear in any known newspapers (although the press supposedly did not report on such pranks in that era) and no records have been found to confirm the existence of the individuals involved. This has led to speculation that the incident never occurred and that the original report of the hoax was itself a hoax."
Wait, so the hoax was a hoax? Someone started a hoax about a hoax? How meta. This guy must have been the hipster of his day. Which explains why he was hiding in Brooklyn for so long.