Friday, April 13, 2012

Well and Lesser Known NYC facts -- Day 96

Walks: Each Day in New York from Beacon Hotel to Upper East Side, Back, Forth, Up, Down, A Great Walking City! (although a bit cold, windy - even some rain)
Distance: Each day at least 4.5 miles

European settlement began on September 3, 1609 when Englishman Henry Hudson in the employ of the Dutch East India Company sailed the Half Moon through The Narrows into Upper New York Bay. Like Christopher Columbus, Hudson was looking for a westerly passage to Asia. He never found one, but he did make note of the abundant beaver population. Beaver pelts were in fashion in Europe, fueling a lucrative business. Hudson's report on the regional beaver population served as the impetus for the founding of Dutch trading colonies in the New World, among them New Amsterdam, which would become New York City. The beaver's importance in New York City history is reflected by its use on the city's official seal.

The Dutch West Indies Company transported Africa slaves to the post as trading laborers. By the late 17th century, 40 percent of the settlement were African slaves. They helped build the fort and stockade, and some gained freedom under the Dutch. After the English took over the colony and city they called New York, they continued to import slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. In 1703, 42 percent of the New York households had slaves; they served as domestic servants and laborers, but also became involved in skilled artisan trades, shipping and other fields. They were integral to the development of colonial and federal New York. By the time of the Revolution, slaves comprised nearly a quarter of the city's population; second only to Charleston, South Carolina, New York had the largest number of slaves of any city in the nation.

Never knew some of the above and haven't included the Wiki paragraph on slaves for any political reason.

I'm still assimilating my trip. The easy part to know is how great it was to spend time with old friends.

And with tulips! What a surprise. I don't think they used to be planted in the abundance they are now in New York. They honor the Dutch history of New York and add unexpected and contained beauty amongst the cars, sidewalks, construction.

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