Thursday, January 2, 2014

365 Days In A Life - January 2

It's a rather small island, located between the East River and the Hudson River - between Long Island and the mainland of the United States. It was once a beautiful island with fresh water streams, gentle hills, fertile soil and abundant wildlife. (Some say it has even more wildlife today.) Members of the Lenape Nation occupied the island when Peter Minuit arrived in 1625 to establish a trading post in the New World. He paid the native Americans 60 guilder for the land. Over the years, people have said that he swindled them, but the truth is, they were a nomadic tribe, and didn't feel they had any rights of ownership of the island. 

The Lenape called the island, Manna-hata (island of many hills) ... the Dutch called it New Netherlands, and the settlement on the southern tip was first called Fort Amsterdam and then New Amsterdam. When the British arrived and took the island from the Dutch, they renamed the island, New York, after the Duke of York. Today it is the borough of Manhattan/county of New York - one of the five boroughs in the City of Greater NY.

The small settlement on the southern tip started expanding north ... hills were leveled as more buildings were built. As the busiest port in the New World, it became the richest - and most important - city in America. It continued to expand. Thanks to its bedrock of NY schist - the hardest rock in the world - when it could no longer expand north ... it expanded upward, reaching towards the sky. Twice in its history, it claimed the tallest building in the world. Today, the Freedom Tower (seen under construction in this photo - officially known as One World Trade Center) is the tallest building in the western hemisphere (3rd tallest in the world).

Photo taken from the deck of the Staten Island ferry.

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