Monday, April 23, 2007


So I'm a bit of a history buff, and I try to collect history books about places I am visiting or, in this case, places I have moved to. I've been hankering to dig into the Big Apple's lore.

New York has such a rich and fabled history, so imagine my surprise when two trips to the bookstore turned up almost nothing. In fact, the hilarious irony was that I found at least half a dozen books on Texas history!

I did finally turn up a gem - New York, An Illustrated History. I have been geeking out on for the past few days - and LOVING it. It is fantastic. And, to make it even better, the book is a complement to a multidisk PBS series. (Attn, Santa!)

Anyway, I've learned about the lineage of Wall Street and Water Street, the original name of New York and where the name Bronx came from.


New York was originally settled as a business colony - not a religious colony like the other colonies in the New World. From the get go, the main objective, was to make money. Under Dutch rule as part of a Dutch Trading company scheme, the area spent the first 40 some odd years of it's life known as New Amsterdam. In order to keep themselves safe from the native Lanape peoples and from the increasingly greedy British explorers, the colonists built a wall around their new community (Now known as Wall Street). Being Dutch, they were also partial to canals, so dug a few into the interior of the colony so it felt more like home (canal st. and water street). When the British took over, they changed the name of the city to New York. The Bronx was named after the man who settled the area - Bronck.

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