Officials are gingerly removing rotting planks of the 32-foot piece of the vessel found earlier this month by workers excavating a parking garage for the future World Trade Center.
Archaeologists and other workers are hosing down the rubble looking for other artifacts that may be in the ship.
The painstaking process will take two to four days. The ship was discovered earlier this month 20 feet below street level.
Historians say the ship is believed to date to the 1700s and was thought to have been used as landfill in the early 19th century to help extend the shores of lower Manhattan.