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 New York City



Book Introduction

     The shoreline was dark and foreboding when New York’s first immigrants arrived from Holland in the early 1600’s, after a treacherous, two-month ocean crossing. There were no beacons of light to greet them, no tugboats to guide them, no torch of liberty, no Ellis Island to record their names. They arrived in surprisingly small groups of families and individuals, all who shared dreams of a better life in the New World.

     One settler’s letter in 1624 praised the abundances of New Amsterdam (New York City), “The woods abound with acorns for feeding hogs, and with venison. There is considerable fish in the rivers; good tillage land, there is, especially, free coming and going, without fear of the naked natives of the country.

      Records show that Manhattan was purchased in 1626 from the native American Indians who welcomed the settlers but didn’t quite understand the concept of land ownership. By 1628, as one account described, “there already resided on the Island of the Manhatens, two-hundred-and-seventy souls:  men, women and children, under Governor (Peter) Minuit…living there in peace with the Natives.”

     Today, nearly 400 years later, Manhattan is the largest city in America, with 12 million people throughout the Metropolitan area. It continues to attract foreign immigrants and Americans from cities and towns all over the country who come to realize their dreams.

      New York is a vibrant, challenging city,  filled with the fruits of man’s loftiest talents and accomplishments. It is here where the ‘envelope’ is pushed every day. It is a city of “the biggest and the best.” The song lyrics of New York, New York describe its universal appeal:  "These little town blues, are melting away. I’ll make a brand new start of it—in old New York. If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you—New York, New York!"


When Lady Liberty came into view from ships steaming into New York Harbor, the sight brought tears of joy to millions of immigrants who knew that they were finally free and safe.

This giant, steel earth is a reminder of the World’s Fair that took place in the park in 1964-65. Today the park is home to the New York Mets baseball team and a world-class tennis center which hosts the U.S. Open, an annual Grand Slam event.


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