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For a city like no other comes a book like no other. The New York Chronology tells the epic story of how a remote trading outpost and fishing village grew into the "world's capital" as we know it today. In tens of thousands of chronological entries, James Trager marches year by year through both the defining and incidental moments in the city's history, from the arrival of Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 to the sad closing of Ratner's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side "after 97 years of ...
For a city like no other comes a book like no other. The New York Chronology tells the epic story of how a remote trading outpost and fishing village grew into the "world's capital" as we know it today. In tens of thousands of chronological entries, James Trager marches year by year through both the defining and incidental moments in the city's history, from the arrival of Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 to the sad closing of Ratner's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side "after 97 years of serving blintzes, kasha, latkes, and matzoh brei."
With impeccable scholarship, humor, and an astonishing level of detail, Trager's information-packed entries straddle 32 separate categories that define this great metropolis. Turn to any year and you'll get a vivid sense of what life was like for New Yorkers at that time -- the political and financial developments that shaped their lives; the books, magazines, and newspapers they read; the restaurants, nightclubs, shows, and sporting events that entertained them; the fitful progress of their neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, public works, transportation systems, and so much more.
Of course, New Yorkers themselves hold center stage, and The New York Chronology is loaded with eye-opening and colorful stories about its famous, infamous, and long-forgotten inhabitants. From society events and publicity stunts to scandals and murders, here are scores of offbeat tidbits that you simply won't find in a more conventional history. Handsomely illustrated with more than 130 photographs and drawings, it is an entertainingand essential book for New York lovers -- a homage as grand as the city itself.
Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano, explores the North American coast with a 49-man crew. Master of the 100-ton French vessel Dauphine, he comes upon a "beautiful" harbor in April and gives the name Angoulême to the island that later will be called Manhattan (Angoulême is the home province of Verrazano's employer, France's François I). "At the end of a hundred leagues," Verrazano will write to the king, "we found a very agreeable location situated within two prominent hills, in the midst of which flowed to the sea a very great river which was deep at the mouth." He notes in his diary that "steep little hills" rose up on both sides of his ship, and that coming into the body of water where he lies at anchor is a "great stream of water" (see Hudson, 1609).
French explorer Samuel de Champlain, 41, travels south from the St. Lawrence River with a party of Huron and two fellow Frenchmen, proceeding down a large lake that will later bear his name. The group encounters a party of Iroquois July 30, a scuffle ensues, Champlain fires his arquebus, two Iroquois chiefs fall dead, their tribesmen flee, and the resulting animosity will lead to an alliance between the Iroquois and the English.
English navigator and Arctic explorer Henry Hudson, 59, makes a third voyage to America, this time in the employ of Dutch interests (the 7-year-old United East India Company). Commissioned March 25, Hudson's 80-ton ship Halve Maen (Half Moon) has sailed out of Amsterdam in early April with a mixed Dutch-English crew of 18 or 20. Hudson drops anchor September 2 in the lower bay of what will become New York Harbor, and finally, on September 3, enters a 154-mile tidal estuary that will be called the Hudson River (it will later be found to rise in Lake Tear of the Clouds, 4,923 feet high in the Adirondack Mountains, and to be 315 miles long). Hudson sails off October 4 with nothing to show for his efforts, but the Hudson Valley that will bear his name is destined to become a source of wealth much greater than the spice islands of the East Indies.
Henry Hudson's second mate Robert Juet writes the name "Manhattan" to denote the land that lies to the starboard as they ascend the estuary.But Hudson's maps will not show Manhattan to be an island,and historians will debate the origin of the word,some of them tracing it to the Munsee word manahac- tanienk ("place of general inebriation" ),others to the Munsee word manahatouh ("place where timber may be procured for bows and arrows"), still others simply to the Munsee word menatay, meaning island.
English authorities detain Henry Hudson's ship after he lands at Dartmouth (Dutch seamen will return her to Amsterdam next year), but Hudson himself reaches Amsterdam and shows his Dutch employers some beaver pelts he has obtained from the natives in return for beads, hatchets, and knives. Amsterdam merchants see the possibility of a new source of furs, which they have been buying from Russia for sale to both men and women for wear indoors and out (see 1610).
A sporadic fur trade begins to develop between 2 Dutch merchants and the Native Americans encountered last year by Henry Hudson.
The Nieuw Nederland colony is founded in the area between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers (see 1623).
The United Nieuw Nederland Company formed by 13 merchants of Amsterdam and Hoorn receives a charter that gives it a virtual monopoly in the fur trade and other trade that will continue until 1617.
The Dutch make Nieuw Nederland a formally organized province and organize a group of families to settle there (see 1614). The Dutch West India Company draws up Provisional Regulations for Colonists under whose terms they are to be provided with clothing and supplies from the Company's store-houses, these to be paid for at modest prices in installments, but they may not produce any handicrafts and may engage in trade only if they sell their wares to the Company. They must promise to stay for at least 6 years and to settle wherever the Company locates them (see 1624).
Some 34 Dutch families land in May on Manhattan Island (see 1623). Sent by the 2-year-old Dutch West India Company under the command of Cornelis Jacobsen May, the 110 men, women, and children have come by way of the Canary Islands and the West Indies, taking nearly 2 months to make the voyage aboard the 260-ton vessel Nieuw Nederland. Most are French-speaking Protestant Walloons from the Spanish Netherlands under the leadership of Jesse De Forest of Avesnes, Hainaut, and most settle on a 65-acre piece of land off the southern tip of Manhattan (later to be called Governors Island), but in order to cover as much territory as possible Capt. May sends some to the Connecticut River Valley and a few upriver to Fort Nassau, where they find that the stockade has been ruined by spring flood waters and build a new one,naming it Fort Orange (the House of Orange is Holland's ruling family)(see 1625).
Fort Orange becomes the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company's fur trade. The Walloon colonists on Manhattan Island export 4,000 beaver pelts and 700 otter skins worth a total of 27,125 guilders -- slightly more than the value of the goods supplied by the Company to the colonists (the name Beaver Street will bear witness through the centuries to the city's first great source of income). Having pro fited hugely from the sugar and slave trade, the Company has spent 20,000 guilders to establish the Nieuw Amsterdam colony; the first shipload of furs that it sends back to Holland is by some accounts worth 45,000 guilders.The New York Chronology