Ellis Island. Image via Save Ellis Island.
From its start, New York City has been mired in territorial disputes. The Native Americans, the Dutch, the British, New Jerseyans, and even New Yorkers have all fought against one another, and themselves, for control of the land that comprises New York City. In some ways, border disputes are still on-going today, with less bloodshed, over the naming and boundaries of neighborhoods. Going back in time, here are eight territorial disputes that have affected New York City, waged between countries, states, cities, boroughs, and more.
This article is by Jack Kelly, the author of Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal (St. Martin’s Press), a lively account of the canal and the many excitement generated along its banks that was published in July.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Erie Canal made the Big Apple. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, a number of cities were competing to be the nation’s greatest port and commercial center. That honor depended on tapping the abundant supply of grain, lumber and other resources of the vast Middle West. The audacious, 360-mile waterway that New York State built between 1817 and 1825 solidified New York’s claim, pushing the city ahead of New Orleans, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Today, signs of that great project are scattered around New York, although the city itself is the greatest symbol of the canal’s phenomenal success.
Yesterday, we got a unique chance to see the dry docks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from a unique angle: via the water. Most ferry boats and pleasure cruises rarely turn into the Navy Yard Basin (also known as Wallabout Bay), sticking to the most efficient path on the East River. But we were being taken to see the working waterfront in New York City aboard the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey, as part of the project to rehabilitate the S.S. Columbia, a passenger steamship from Detroit that will be making its way down the Hudson River to New York City next year.
Located on the edge of Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn lies a 30-acre park that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Fort Greene Park is Brooklyn’s oldest park and it has centuries of history to its name. Here are ten things you might not know about the historical park.
Photo via Flickr|Diana Robinson
The famous Macy’s 4th of July fireworks will be celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The display will begin around 9 pm (after dark) on the East River, making them the most visible from Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Even though fireworks will be displayed over the East River, residents of the Bronx, Staten Island and Jersey City shouldn’t be alarmed, as they will still have access to local Independence Day celebrations. So if you’re staying in or around New York City this July 4th, have no fear. There are still plenty of ways to get a clear view of the sky.
Queen Andrea Mural at Ascenzi Square. Image via Summer Streets
This month was the unveiling of a new QUEEN ANDREA (a.k.a. Andrea von Bujdoss) mural at Ascenzi Square, located in the triangle formed by North Fourth Street, Roebling Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg. In vividly colored lettering, it greets passerby “GOOD DAY” and “HEY YOU” as they approach the intersection, which is adorned in lights.