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Sunday, August 28, 2011


In the North West corner of City Hall Park, next to Broadway, Warren and Chambers Streets, was a location where a group known as the Sons of Liberty erected the Liberty Pole. A symbolic post with flags, whose destruction by British soldiers led to the Battle of Golden Hill – the first official bloodletting of the American Revolution.

This group, including James Alexander and William Smith, had strong opposition to the Crown’s attempt of taxation without representation, certain political rights and governmental structure/process. Various Acts were instigators, but the most famous was the Stamp Act. The concept of the Stamp Act began in 1734 under Governor Crosby. By 1744 the Colonies were to be taxed by means of Stamped Paper. It was attempted as implementation at various times from 1744 to 1765. Each time the citizens raised such resistance each Governor including Clinton and Colden recommended its suspension.

When the Act was attempted a gentlemen named Zacharias Hood was named the Stamp Master. He arrived at the King’s Arms Tavern the Sons of Liberty met him to suggest his resignation before the Stamps could be implemented. He relocated to the Fort south of Bowling Green for protection under Governor Colden.

October 22, 1765 the British Ship ‘Edward’ arrived in New York with Stamps for implementation. The Sons of Liberty wrote on flyers posted around the city a variation of the statement – “The first man that either distributes or makes use of these Stamp Papers – let him take care of his house, person & effects…We Dare. “

The British military vowed to cram the stamps down the Sons of Liberty’s throats with the end of their swords.

On October 31, 1765 the Sons of Liberty responded by vowing as retailers to promise not to buy and goods, wares or merchandise shipped from Britain – unless the Stamp Act is fully repealed.

They were followed by a large group of citizens who protested at the Common ground (today’s City Hall Park), then marched down to Bowling Green and burned an effigy of the Governor as well as his coach. The guns of the Fort located just south of Bowling Green were said to be located and focused on the crowd.

On November 2, 1765 Governor Colden and Lieutenant Bayner handed the decision and Stamps off to Sir Henry Moore to do as he pleases.

On January 16th 1770 after several attempts that month, the British soldiers succeeded in destroying the Liberty Pole. They then broke it apart and laid it in front of the Sons of Liberty’s headquarters on Broadway a short distance from the Liberty Pole base.

On January 18th the Battle of Golden Hill between British soldiers (16th Regiment of Foot) and The Sons of Liberty took place. The area is located on John Street by Cliff and William Street. This is the first blood spilled during the American Revolution, two month before the Boston Massacre. The clash would roll back and forth finally leading to a standoff… but the war had begun.

On February 6, 1770 a fifth Liberty Pole is erected almost 50 feet high.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1644 to 1700 WALL STREET

1644 to 1700 WALL STREET

In 1644, due to consistent conflicts with the surrounding tribes Governor Kieft of New Amsterdam ordered the erection of a fence or wall. All citizens with cattle were ordered to assist in the build. The goal was to keep livestock from wandering off and being stolen, as well as serve as an impediment for aggressive tribe members and wild animals from reaching within the settlement.

The wall ran down from Broadway to the East River and Hudson Rivers. The area was a marsh and meadow. Tanning was performed in addition to grazing livestock. It was 12 feet high and 1.5 feet wide, made of soil and wood with sharpened posts at the top. Ditches of three to four feet were located on the inside. Soil was used to add strength and could be three feet thick in areas.

Two main gates were affixed to the wall, one at Broadway (known as Land’s Gate) and one at Pearl Street (Water’s Gate).

It stayed in place as a wall until 1653. By then it faded into a mound. By 1664 when New Amsterdam was surrendered to the English it was in disrepair, Governor Nicolls decided to repair it for service against potential attacks from the North.

By 1693 a Church as erected near the wall and it became an area of very wealthy residents. In 1695 Trinity Church was at the high point near Broadway, and sprinkled on the Eastern side were public torture and punishment devices. 1696 began was the beginning of the night watch where trusted citizens would light lanterns and watch the perimeter of the wall.

1700 completed the new site of the City Hall moved from Pearl Street. The New City Hall was located at the present Federal Hall Building with its great statue of George Washington.

Sunday, August 14, 2011



A plaque is mounted in Bowling Green for Peter Casear Alberti who was the first Italian settler in New Amsterdam on June 2, 1635.

Starting in 1641 Governor Kieft Governor of New Amsterdam began to fairs to support farmers. The fair for cattle was held on October 15th and hogs on November 1st in Bowling Green.

Early in 1664 Englishman Robert Fordham came to terms with the Dutch Government in New Amsterdam (the future New York City) to settle in an area called Heemstede Long Island (later called Hempstead). A disagreement or misunderstanding resulted in soured relations with the Canarsee Tribe. The situation escalated to warfare via Governor Kieft sent over a hundred men to battle on Long Island. The Dutch were considered victors and on August 30, 1645 the sachems of the various surrounding tribes met at Bowling Green to agree to peace and end the war.

In 1732 a railed gate enclosed the park to keep certain elements of the city out of the park including animals.

In 1770 parts of the railing were removed to make artillery during the American Revolution.

In July 1776, citizens heard the Declaration of Independence read and streamed to Bowling Green where the knocked down a statue of King George III of England and melted it down for bullets to fight in the American Revolution.

Establishments surrounding Bowling Green:

1 Broadway – The American Real Estate Exchange (1800’s). In 1760 this site was the home of a local merchant which was taken over by Lord Cornwallis, General’s Howe and Clinton as well as George Washington during the American Revolution.

3 Broadway was the site of Benedict Arnold’s home.   

9 and 11 Broadway - Krigier’s or Kruger;’s Tavern later replaced by The King’s Arms Tavern (1600’s).  This location was used as General Gage’s headquarters during the American Revolution. It was later the Atlantic Garden (1800’s).

18 Broadway – New York Petroleum Exchange and Stock Board (1800’s)

29 to 39 Broadway - – first houses built by Europeans in Manhattan (1614),

39 Broadway later became the second Presidential Home (aka to The White House) of George Washington after he moved from Cherry Street (1790).

1 Bowling Green – The Produce Exchange (1884), later the Custom House.
Steamboat and Steamship Lines (1800’s)

  • French Line – 3 Bowling Green
  • Cunard Line – 4 Bowling Green
  • And many other steamship and steamboat lines along the East Coast, Europe and South America.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

29 Broadway - 1613 - Adriaen Block & The Tiger

This week's NYC Historic Weekly Site is 29 Broadway. Following Henry Hudson's voyage in 1609, Adriaen Block commanded the vessel the Tiger under The Netherlands along with two other vessels under different men in 1613 while surveying the Hudson River and the surrounding Manhattan Island. While trading with local tribes, they decided to build basic housing at what is today 29 Broadway near the famous Wall Street Bull. This became more permanent when during the Fall of 1613 Block's vessel the Tiger burned while anchored in the bay.

During the constructing of the The World Trade Center a burned ship was found buried deep at the corner of Greenwich St and Liberty Street by a carpenter. That location would have been the original shoreline location (or beach) found in 1613.

Over the winter Block recruited local Indians of the Lenape tribe to help him construct a new vessel the Onrust or The Restless, a 44 foot long keel and 11 foot beam. They then began to survey the surrounding East River and Long Island Sound. Eventually he would go North to an island later named for him - Block Island.