A map of Nieuw Amsterdam called the “Castello Plan.” Image via Wikimedia Commons from New York Public Library Digital Archives
On December 2nd 1657, The Nieuw Amsterdam City Council ruled that Tavernkeepers could not sell liquor in exchange for household goods. Believe it or not, the Dutch wives of the era (back in the day of gender norms, eh?) were coming to their local politicians complaining that their possessions were dwindling with the presence of an alcoholic family member.
While this legislation sounds ridiculous at first glance, the situation which spurred it is quite terrible. Once an alcoholic family member exhausted the family’s savings, they would then turn to the furniture and kitchen-ware. Homes were torn apart by alcoholism figuratively and literally. It’s no surprise that some historians consider this the start of a path to prohibition.
For the next month, Untapped will be providing a piece history of NYC day by day. Before we embark on this series, we would like to give acknowledgment to “Jared the NYC tour guide” who keeps a detailed account of important historical events in New York day by day.
To read more, check out how Wall Street Wall was almost destroyed by pigs in the New Amsterdam days. Also, while none of these bars are old enough that they had to execute this legislation, check out our roundup of the oldest bars in NYC.