There is according to a legend dating back to November 1780.
With a crew of about 100, and up to 70 American prisoners of war, the Husser sank in the treacherous waters of Hell Gate—the tidal strait between Astoria and Wards Island that felled hundreds of vessels before being dynamited in the 19th century.
“Hampered by the violent currents, the Hussar’s captain, Maurice Pole, struggled to steer toward shore, but the ship sank somewhere between Port Morris and Montressor’s Island (today North Brother Island),” writes Tom Vanderbilt in a 2002 New York Times piece.
Immediately, rumors hit that the Hussar, carrying payroll for British troops stationed in New York, went down with 2 to 4 million dollars in gold on board.
Was it true? On one hand, surviving sailors claimed the payroll had been dropped off before the frigate sank.
Still, the British launched three serious expeditions to find the Hussar’s remains after the Revolutionary War, supporting suspicions that something very valuable had gone down with the ship.
Aside from some pottery and other artifacts, no treasure has been found.
The Hussar’s remains haven’t been located either; they’re thought to have become landfill in the Bronx.
[Top: USGS topographical map; middle, a frigate the Hussar may have resembled; bottom, a 1904 etching of Hell Gate in 1774, from the NYPL Digital Collection]