The History of New York
New York as we see it today, is famous for its skyscrapers, bold billboards at Times Square, and glitter and glam. It is home to most influencers, Tik-Tokers, and celebrities. It is probably why the term “the New York dream” has become so popular globally.
However, amongst all these tall glass buildings, wild nightlife, and glamorous streets, we often forget its colonial past. We can attribute the current New York face to urbanization and industrialization. These two factors, coupled with the increasing fandom for fame and glam, gave New York its present shape and reputation.
However, New York carries an equally amazing heritage of a colonial past. The evidence of this dynamic change still stands firm in New York. The problem is that we do not value this past and focus more on its nightlife and buzz.
This article will introduce you to the historical charm of colonial New York. We will try to delve into the marvelous structures that stand firm in New York, narrating the lore of the past. We will learn how New York became the city of dreams, beginning with its humble dwellings.
Places to explore
- The Battery Park
It is a watershed in New York’s colonial past. The place had political and strategic significance in the past. The park’s proximity to the harbor and Hudson River led the Dutch to build the Amsterdamn Fort.
This part is at the southern tip of Manhattan and stands as a significant symbol of the history of New York.
The name might amuse you, but it has a history. The Dutch dedicated this park to the artillery batteries meant to protect the settlements of New Amsterdam.
The fort then went on to serve as the administrative center for the Dutch West Idia Company for thirty-eight years.
If you visit Battery Park, you will find monuments honoring soldiers, explorers, immigrants, and inventors. In 1995, the American Linden (Tilia Americana) tree was planted to honor singer Jenny Lind (1820–1887), whose performance at Castle Garden was the musical event of the century.
- Fraunces Tavern
It was the home of an affluent merchant in 1719, which was later converted into a working tavern in 1762 by its namesake, Samuel Fraunces. The tavern became the meeting place of revolutionary groups, including the glorious Sons of Liberty.
Today, it stands as a museum and restaurant. The central reason for its fame and significance is an event related to the American Revolution.
It is the place where, after the British had left New York during the American Revolution, then-General George Washington delivered a farewell speech to the Continental Army. It was a significant event in American history that marked the advent of their independence.
Today, the museum displays artifacts and art for its visitors. You can visit it between 12 am and 12 pm and later relish some food at their well-known restaurant.
- Federal Hall National Memorial
It is one of the best architectural marvels of New York, standing for more than 300 years. It is a symbol of the American revolution and subsequent independence.
This building is a symbol of America’s idols that form the foundation of the nation. George Washington took the oath of office here, the Bill of Rights was ratified, and the First Federal Congress convened.
Do you know that the 1883 statue of George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward stands near where the first American President took the oath of office?
- Trinity Church
It is an active Episcopal parish that has been a crucial part of New York City’s history for over 300 years. A small group of Anglicans, members of the Church of England, founded the Trinity Church in 1696, which established the first Anglican Church in Manhattan, New York. During the Revolutionary War, the Great Fire of 1776 destroyed the first Trinity Church.
After President Washington was elected, the second Trinity Church was built, and George Washington and his government worshiped there while the nation’s capital was in New York City.
- City Hall Park
It is not just a park but one of the most significant reservoirs in New York’s past. Located in downtown Manhattan, City Hall Park has played a central role in New York’s colonial and political life. It is said to be one of the best national parks in USA.
It was a site of the American Revolution and is now the central seat of the City Government. Apart from this, it has served as a prison, a pasture, a parade ground, an almshouse, a public execution site, an art museum, and a post office.
It is the place where the people of New York held rallies both before and during the Revolutionary War and where they gathered to hear the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Many other places in New York are crucial examples of its colonial past. These are Van Cortlandt House Museum, African Burial Ground National Monument, Paul’s Chapel, Bowling Green, etc. All of them have some significance and contributed to New York’s present state.
While we enjoy New York for all the glamour, wild nights, and fun it offers, we should not undermine its past.
It bears vital evidence of how America has achieved what it is relishing so much right now.