Many-a-strange-thing has been discovered in the waters off New York City, but perhaps the oddest of them all was a giraffe.
In 1981, the NY Times reported on items that have been found in the New York Harbor, listing a zoo-bound giraffe as one of them. They note that it "fell into the harbor and drowned several years ago during a shipping transfer at a Brooklyn dock."
There's little information about this strange story, but buried in a 2009 NY Mag list, it's mentioned that the giraffe, found by the Army Corps of Engineers, was trying to escape from a circus ship. An inquiry to the NYPL and a thorough search of an old newspaper archive led to zero information on the discovery, but as for what may have happened to it... in 1932, Sanitation Commissioner Schroeder mentioned an incinerator was used to dispose of large animals :(
At the time, he was arguing for $167,000 for the Department of Sanitation's disposal of dead animals in New York, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported. This was decades before the giraffe was found in the waters off Brooklyn, but the commissioner "explained that in the past year a dead elephant, a giraffe and other beasts larger than horses from zoos and circuses had to be handled."
For more on odd things that have been found under our murky waters, check out Underwater NY, where they list a robot hand amongst found items.