New York, New York

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in February/March 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

Central Park

What is today known as New York City was originally the home of Algonquian Native Americans, a native peoples who lived along the Atlantic Coast and inward along the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. The most prominent tribe in this area were the Lenape, and their homeland (Lenapehoking) included Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, western Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley. In the 1860s, the US government displaced the Lenape and sent them to what is today Oklahoma and surrounding territory as part of the Indian removal policy. Today, they continue to reside in Oklahoma, as well as in areas of Wisconsin and Ontario.

In the 17th century, the Dutch Republic settled in the area and named their colonies New Netherland, covering areas in the state of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, along with smaller settlements in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. A settlement established at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan came to be named New Amsterdam. While the main impulse to settle here had been to partake in fur trade, by the mid 17th century, the Dutch West India Company ventured into other areas, beginning to produce and trade in food, timber, tobacco, and enslaved people.

In 1664, English troops took over New Amsterdam, and renamed the settlement after the Duke of York, who would eventually go on to become King James II of England. New York City became a trading port and a center of slavery, with 42% of households holding slaves by 1730, the highest percentage outside of Charleston, South Carolina (the only major American city with a majority-slave population). The largest battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought in 1776 in what is today Brooklyn, but as the Americans lost, it became a political base of operations for the British and a haven for Loyalists and escaped slaves, who were promised freedom by Britain if they chose to fight on that side.

The city as it is known today came to be in 1898, when Brooklyn, parts of the Bronx, the County of Richmond, and the western side of the County of Queens joined the city. It is divided into five boroughs — The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The subway, originally built as different systems (which is, incidentally, what makes it so confusing), opened in 1904.

The City has further been witness to history, suffering greatly during the Great Depression in the 1930s, being the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, enduring a terrorist attack to the World Trade Center in 2001, and being the start point for the Occupy Movement with the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

Rockefeller Center

NYC has also become a center of culture, being the home of Broadway, the Juilliard School, and the site of the Harlem Renaissance. New York City is also home to a number of museums holding important collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, just to name a few.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,

And you? Have you been to this whirlwind of a city?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s