Coenties Slip uses the same image as the central panel of The Melville Triptych (1962), here rendered not in black and white but in vivid red, blue, and yellow. The phrase within the circle, “City of the Manhattoes,” comes from the second paragraph of Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which describes a walk through the Coenties Slip neighborhood in lower Manhattan where Indiana lived from 1956 to 1965:
"There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. . . . Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward."