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Touring Gotham’s Archaeological Past

Touring Gotham’s Archaeological Past: 8 Self-Guided Walking Tours through New York City

Diana diZerega Wall
Anne-Marie Cantwell
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 226
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  • Book Info
    Touring Gotham’s Archaeological Past
    Book Description:

    This pocket-sized guidebook takes the reader on eight walking tours to archaeological sites throughout the boroughs of New York City and presents a new way of exploring the city through the rich history that lies buried beneath it. Generously illustrated and replete with maps, the tours are designed to explore both ancient times and modern space.On these tours, readers will see where archaeologists have discovered evidence of the earliest New Yorkers, the Native Americans who arrived at least 11,000 years ago. They will learn about thousand-year-old trading routes, sacred burial grounds, and seventeenth-century villages. They will also see sites that reveal details of the lives of colonial farmers and merchants, enslaved Africans, Revolutionary War soldiers, and nineteenth-century hotel keepers, grocers, and housewives.Some tours bring readers to popular tourist attractions (the Statue of Liberty and the Wall Street district, for example) and present them in a new light. Others center on places that even the most seasoned New Yorker has never seen-colonial houses, a working farm, out-of-the-way parks, and remote beaches-often providing beautiful and unexpected views from the city's vast shoreline.A celebration of New York City's past and its present, this unique book will intrigue everyone interested in the city and its history.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13789-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xv)

    When our bookUnearthing Gotham: The Archaeology of New York Citywas published a few years ago, we weren’t sure what its reception would be. As it turned out, we were overwhelmed by all the favorable attention that it, and we, received. But everyone asked the same question: “What sites can we go and see?” We thought about it, got out our maps and notebooks, put on our comfortable shoes, took buses and subways all over town, and came up with this book of explorations, our answer to that question. We had a wonderful time plotting these expeditions so that...

  5. Tour 1 The Harbor Islands
    (pp. 1-23)

    This tour (fig. 1.1) is the only one that goes by boat. We planned it to be taken in conjunction with a visit to two of the nation’s best-known attractions: the Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, and the Immigration Museum, on Ellis Island. These two islands are in the middle of New York’s Upper Harbor. To their east is Governors Island, and bounding the southern margin of the harbor is Staten Island. The harbor itself, one of the finest in the world, has enormous historical significance. It was through here that Henry Hudson sailed on his famous voyage, a...

  6. Tour 2 Lower Manhattan: Dutch New Amsterdam, Colonial New York, and the Premier City of the New Nation
    (pp. 25-53)

    This tour leads you through lower Manhattan, from the canyons of Wall Street through the historic buildings at the South Street Seaport to the government buildings of City Hall Park and Foley Square (fig. 2.1). This is the old city, the part that was once Dutch New Amsterdam and early New York.

    When the Dutch West India Company founded the settlement of New Amsterdam in Munsee territory in 1624–25, they centered it around Fort Amsterdam, strategically located at the foot of Manhattan Island. From there the company could protect the Hudson River and keep its own fur trade with...

  7. Tour 3 Greenwich Village: At Home in Nineteenth-Century New York
    (pp. 55-75)

    This tour takes you through one of New York’s most famous neighborhoods, Greenwich Village (fig. 3.1). You begin in the crooked, picturesque, brownstone-lined streets of the West Village, move east through the once-fashionable Washington Square area, now largely owned by New York University, and on through the tenement-lined streets of the East Village, which are now becoming gentrified. Along the way, you will learn about the Village during the colonial years, when it was rural; find out about the members of the city’s wealthy and upper-middle classes who lived near Washington Square when it was one of the city’s first...

  8. Tour 4 Northern Manhattan: How the First Archaeologists Uncovered Indian, Colonial, and Revolutionary War New York
    (pp. 77-101)

    This tour (fig. 4.1) takes you to Inwood in northern Manhattan. Here you will follow in the century-old footsteps of the pioneering archaeologists who explored the lives of peoples of Native American, European, and African descent, including those of the British and Hessian soldiers stationed here during the Revolutionary War. As you travel through a splendid city park, a quiet middle-class residential neighborhood, and a bustling semi-industrial area, you will imagine Inwood’s rural landscape at the beginning of the twentieth century, when these archaeologists were digging and the area was being transformed into the parks and streets you see today....

  9. Tour 5 The Bronx Shore with Views of Queens: A Voyage through Thousands of Years of Indian Life along the City’s Coast
    (pp. 103-123)

    This tour takes you to sites associated with thousands of years of Native American history. Along the way you will explore corners of the city that most visitors, and many lifelong New Yorkers, have never seen (fig. 5.1). The tour winds along the Bronx shore, with stops in quiet residential areas and small city parks. For thousands of years, the Bronx coast has been an extremely attractive place to live, and today it still is. You will come upon unexpectedly breathtaking views, and from several of them you will be able to spot archaeological sites on the other side of...

  10. Tour 6 The Farms and Towns of Queens County
    (pp. 125-145)

    This tour begins in the bustling east Asian community of Flushing, continues on to downtown Jamaica, and ends in Bellerose, a suburb on the city’s eastern border (fig. 6.1). Along the way, we explore early farms that are now museums, where archaeologists have worked with preservation architects in deciphering their history. We visit the Bowne House in Flushing, the old Quaker community where the First Amendment has its roots; King Manor in Jamaica, home to both Rufus King, a U.S. senator who was a framer of the Constitution, and his son, John, who was a governor of the State of...

  11. Tour 7 The Town of Brooklyn: The Third-Largest City of the Nineteenth-Century Nation
    (pp. 147-167)

    This tour takes you through the old town of Brooklyn (fig. 7.1). Although some of Kings County (today’s Borough of Brooklyn) remained agricultural into the early twentieth century, this part had a very different history. By the mid-nineteenth century the town of Brooklyn had become one of the nation’s largest cities. The tour begins in Weeksville, a charming group of wood-frame houses that were part of a nineteenth-century African American community in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, and continues through several middle-class neighborhoods of the new city, most of which are still residential today. You will see how archaeologists digging in many of...

  12. Tour 8 Southern Brooklyn: Native American and Early New York
    (pp. 169-188)

    On this tour, you will explore the early history of southern Brooklyn (fig. 8.1). You will visit a scenic spot along the coast where Native Americans lived for millennia, investigate the center of a seventeenth-century colonial town founded by an Englishwoman and her dissident followers, and explore two Dutch Colonial farmhouses, including one where archaeologists have identified what might be slave quarters.

    When Henry Hudson’s ship, theHalf Moon,sailed into New York Harbor in 1609, a few members of his crew went ashore, where they met the Munsee people whose home this was. Legend has it that the place...

  13. Bibliographic Sources for Each Tour
    (pp. 189-190)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 191-198)
  15. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 199-200)
  16. Index
    (pp. 201-208)