Island at the Center of the World author Russell Shorto will guest host a special edition of The New Amsterdam Trail walking tour of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, to celebrate the culmination a week-long celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of New York Harbor. Urban historian and National Park Ranger Steve Laise will lead the event which will also include an exclusive curator’s tour of New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World, a new exhibit opening at the South Street Seaport. The tour takes place on September 13th at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance by visiting www.nyharborparks.org.
Throughout the 90-minute tour of lower Manhattan, Laise and Shorto will share entertaining and insightful stories about the famous and infamous characters that helped make New Amsterdam a bustling seaport, an international melting pot and a center of commerce. They will also discuss how the Dutch colony still impacts our culture today. The curator’s tour at South Street Seaport follows, with an insider’s peak at rare documents, maps, plans and watercolors connected to New Amsterdam — including “the best real estate deal of all time”—the 1626 letter of purchase of Manhattan for goods worth 60 guilders. Many of these items have never been seen in the United States.
The audio and map for this tour are available for free at: www.nyharborparks.org.
New Netherland – the Dutch province that stretched from today’s New York State to parts of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut – existed for 55 years and its legacy lives on. Just two years after the founding of the first permanent English colony at Jamestown in 1607, and eleven years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Dutch were in New Netherland. And, although their hold on that part of North America was tenuous and brief, the influence of the Dutch was both impressive and long term.
Light on New Netherland, a traveling exhibit consisting of 26 two-dimensional panels, introduces adults and children to important, but not well-known aspects of this part of the American history and culture. The New Amsterdam History Center (NAHC) has arranged for the exhibit to appear at Manhattan’s Federal Hall National Memorial site. The exhibit will be on display on the main level of Federal Hall from Aug. 5 through Sept. 8. “Light on New Netherland” has appeared at the New York State Museum in Albany as well at several other notable institutions. The Federal Hall National Memorial Site is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM; it’s located at 26 Wall Street.
Photo: The Extent of New Netherland (from a map published in 1685).
A new online effort from the Royal Netherlands Embassy (part of the 400th celebration) will help promote interesting events in New York City throughout 2009. The Embassy and their partners are celebrating 400 years of shared history between the US and the Netherlands with a new widget that keeps users updated on local events and online content and helps tell the story of our shared cultures. The widget displays a game where users can match up symbols and Dutch/English words to reveal content related to that subject. For example, the History match reveals information about the New Amsterdam walking tour of Manhattan that you can download to your mobile phone for free.
There are over 50 partners in this effort including New York City, New Netherland Project, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can check out the Royal Netherlands Embassy across social media: there is a blog with contributors ranging from Dutch artists to Muslim activist Eboo Patel (http://www.ny400.org/blog), a video gallery of performances/ interviews/events (http://www.ny400.org/video.php) and plenty of event photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ny400/).
The Dutch and the indelible role they played in the formation of the ideas and ideals that shaped New York City and America is being celebrated by National Parks Service, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, and the Henry Hudson 400 Foundation with The New Amsterdam Trail. This free downloadable audio walking tour is the first of three in a series featuring the iconic National Park Service Rangers and an expert cast of historians, scientists, and other great storytellers.
Using a backdrop of period music and special sound effects, the audio with map can be downloaded from the Harbor Conservancy’s website or on the Henry Hudson 400 website. Visitors travel through the streets of downtown Manhattan to 10 historically significant locations, cueing commentary from their mobile phone, mp3 player or ipod. As they stand at the tip of the Battery, they can visualize Manhattan in the hours before Henry Hudson arrived and when he first navigated our waters and then listen to the stories of the life and times of New Amsterdam’s most famous and infamous settlers.
The New Amsterdam Trail features Steve Laise, Chief of Cultural Resources for Manhattan’s National Parks; Eric Sanderson, author of Mannahatta, Natural History of New York City; Andrew Smith, editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and Russell Shorto, author of Island at the Center of the World.
The family-friendly walking tour takes about 90-minutes– however, you can walk the trail at your own pace during lunchtime and pause the recorded commentary at any point. For more details and to download the free tour, visit www.nyharborparks.org or www.henryhudson400.com.
The Harbor Conservancy is the official partner of the National Parks of New York Harbor and together they champion the 22 National Park sites that call New York Harbor home by helping to preserve the environment, promote economic development and create the finest urban waterfront recreation and educational park system in the world.
Henry Hudson 400 New York is a foundation created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s legendary voyage for the Dutch to the Hudson River and New York. The unique character of New York City, originally New Amsterdam, has been shaped by the legacy of the multiethnic and tolerant culture of 17th century Amsterdam. Henry Hudson 400 is producing a series of special events in 2009 to celebrate the spirit of freedom, enterprise, and diversity shared by Amsterdam and New York.
The New York State Library’s New Netherland Project is featured in the documentary “Uncovering America’s Forgotten Colony: The New Netherland Project.” The documentary focuses on the work of Dr. Charles Gehring and his colleagues and highlights more than 30 years of uncovering America’s forgotten Dutch colonial history through the transcription and translation of the official archives of New Netherland. The documentary “Uncovering America’s Forgotten Colony: The New Netherland Project” was produced by Mogul One Productions in partnership with the New Netherland Institute. DVDs are available for $19.95, at http://ForPeopleWhoThink.com. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to support future work of the New Netherland Project.
One of the most unique history projects in America, the New Netherland Project provided the documentation and inspiration for Russell Shorto’s recent best seller, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America.
A program of the New York State Library, the New Netherland Project has been working since 1974 to translate and publish the official 17th-century Dutch colonial documents of one of America’s earliest settled regions. Originally created under the sponsorship of the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York, the New Netherland Project has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Translated documents and other work by the New Netherland Project can be accessed at www.nnp.org.
Also based on the work of the New Netherland Project, the exhibit Light on New Netherland is the first to introduce adults and children to the scope of the 17th century colony of New Netherland. Previously on view at the State Museum in Albany, the exhibit will tour the regions once encompassed by New Netherland, appearing at venues to include the GaGa Arts Center in West Haverstraw, New York; the Museum of Connecticut History at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford; the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities in Cold Spring Harbor, New York; Federal Hall in Manhattan; and the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.
The book Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters (Mount Ida Press) further explores the history of America’s earliest colony with a collection of twelve essays. Designed to appeal to a general audience and scholars alike, the book features an opening chapter by Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. The book was published by the New Netherland Institute and Mount Ida Press in April 2009.
Dr. Joel W. Grossman, the archaeologist who directed the excavation of the early-17th century shoreline block of the Dutch West India Company at Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan, will discuss “Dutch Ethnobotany and Medicinal Plants in 17th Century New Amsterdam” on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 12:00 noon in the Arthur and
Janet Ross Lecture Hall, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
The dig exposed the deeply-buried remains of the colony’s first warehouse, the artifact-filled cisterns of its earliest inhabitants, and a well-preserved record of changing colonial plants. Grossman’s lavishly illustrated talk will explore the intriguing transatlantic links between the Leiden Hortus, or botanical garden, of the University of Leiden, East and West India Company doctors, institutionalized plant collecting and Native American informants in 17th Century New Amsterdam.
Grossman’s talk is presented as part of the New York Botanical Garden’s Quadricentennial Celebration: The Glory of Dutch Bulbs: A Legacy of 400 Years: May 1-June 7, 2009. Discover indoor and outdoor displays that feature large swaths of bright flowering bulbs and companion plants inspired by the great tulip and lily gardens of Holland. See Nybg.org/dutch_bulbs for other offerings on June 6th, and all the events being offered as part of the Glory of Dutch Bulbs program. For directions please call: (718) 817-8779; for general info: (718) 817-8770.
Acclaimed writer Russell Shorto will present “The Accidental Legacy of Henry Hudson” at the Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street, NYC) this Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 6:30 PM. According to the program announcement: “Henry Hudson’s name is everywhere in New York-attached to a river, a street, a park, a bridge, and more-yet little is known about the man himself. Bestselling author and New York Times Magazine contributing writer Russell Shorto, author of the award-winning The Island at the Center of the World (Doubleday, 2004) and Descartes’ Bones (Doubleday, 2008), recently named a New York Times Notable Book for 2008, will consider the story of Henry Hudson.”
Shorto most recently published a feature in The New York Times (Sunday, May 3, 2009) entitled “Going Dutch: How I Learned to Love the Welfare State.”
The program is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Amsterdam / New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson. Reservations are required. The cost will be $12 for non-members, $8 for seniors and students, and $6 for museum members. A $2 surcharge applies for unreserved, walk-in tickets. Tickets may be ordered online at www.mcny.org or by calling 212.534.1672, ext. 3395.
The organizers invite submissions of papers for an international conference, “Cities in Revolt: The Dutch-American Atlantic, ca. 1650-1830” to be held November 13-14, 2009, at Columbia University. Ranging from the conquest of New Amsterdam to the presidency of Martin van Buren, the conference aims to document the continuous and fruitful political exchanges that took place in the long eighteenth century between the Dutch Republic and empire on the one hand and British North America and the United States on the other.
Among the key conference aims are to examine the political consequences of trans-Atlantic commercial linkages and the impact of the American Revolution on Dutch patriots. The keynote address will be given by Professor Jonathan Israel of the Institute for Advanced Study.
Papers proposed should be approximately 20 minutes in length. Submissions on any topic relevant to the conference topic and aims will be gladly accepted, however the organizers would particularly welcome submissions relating to:
Dutch Patriots in the United States in the 1790s
The American Revolution in the Dutch Atlantic world
New York and Amsterdam financiers in eighteenth-century politics
Dutch New Yorkers and politics in the early nineteenth century
To propose a paper, please submit a 250-word abstract and a short CV via email to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009. Conference committee: Simon Schama (Columbia); Karen Kupperman (NYU); Evan Haefeli (Columbia); Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (Columbia); Wijnie de Groot (Columbia).
Charles Gehring, Ph.D., Director of the New Netherland Project in Albany, has spent 30 years translating 17th-century documents to uncover the Dutch origins of New York will join Jaap Jacobs, Ph.D., co-curator of Amsterdam / New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson, and one of the scholars who has built on Gehring’s work to rewrite the history of New Netherland will hold a conversation “about myths, memories, and discoveries of New York’s origins, what made New Netherland unique, and why knowledge of these
origins is important for New York and New Yorkers today.”
The event will be held April 11th, at 2 pm at the Museum of The City of New York, 1220 5th Ave,. Reservations are required. For further information about this event contact Paula Zadigian at (212) 534-1672.
A new exhibit “Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson” opened Saturday at the Museum of the City of New York and will run through September 27, 2009. Presented in collaboration with the New Netherland Institute, Albany, and the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam / Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, the exhibit will employ rare 16th- and 17th-century objects, images, and documents from major American and Dutch collections to bring the transatlantic world to life and reveal how Henry Hudson’s epic third voyage of exploration planted the seeds of a modern society that took root and flourished in the New World. Focusing on the economic, cultural, and ideological connections that ultimately linked two global cities, Amsterdam and New York, “Amsterdam / New Amsterdam” will illuminate not only the global significance of Hudson’s voyage, but also the creative context out of which the exploration and settlement of New York itself arose, highlighting the Dutch role in creating the very character of New York as a place of opportunity, tolerance, and perpetual transformation.