How Dutch is New York? - The Stuyvesant Tour
Welcome to the Stuyvesant Tour from Dutch Heritage World Tours. We will take you to an area of Manhattan where in the 17th century Peter Stuyvesant (or Petrus as he was called) had his country home. Stuyvesant came to the colony of New Netherland in 1647 to take the position of Director General. The Dutch West India Company established this colony in 1624. New Amsterdam, currently New York City, was the capital. He was not the first Director of the colony. Before him there was Willem Verhulst, Pieter Minuit, Wouter van Twiller and Willem Kieft. Pieter Minuit was the Director who under the auspices of the West India Company bought the island of Manahattan from the Lenape Indians. Near the Staten Island Ferry we find his name represented in the Peter Minuit Plaza.
With his 17 year tenure as Director Stuyvesant was not only the longest sitting Director General in the New Netherland colony but also the most influential and powerful. The Dutch colony of New Netherland existed only for 40 years, from 1624 to 1664, until the British took over. Nevertheless, in that short period of time so much happened that the influence of the Dutch is still strongly apparent in New York City and all of New York State.
Most of this tour is dedicated to Peter Stuyvesant and his life on Manhattan Island. Before Stuyvesant came to New Netherland, he had lost his right leg in the battle to acquire the island of St Martin in the northeast Caribbean Sea. It is said that the wooden leg he walked with since that fateful day was adorned with an array of small sheets of silver. Besides being a striking physical presence his character was also known to be remarkable. His predecessors did not have a strong character leading to many problems in the colony. For example, Director Kieft even waged a war with the local population of Lenape because of his demands that they contribute to the cost of defending the colony. They did not comply and Kieft conducted retribution campaigns that always ended in a bloodbath. It is said that Stuyvesant treated the indigenous population with a great deal more tact and respect. Originally Stuyvesant had his residence within the Fort Amsterdam at the location of what now is the Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan. It was not long before he decided to reside elsewhere within the city of New Amsterdam. That was to be a house and courtyard on the corner of Pearl Street along the East River at the time. After the British took over the colony in 1664, the house was renamed White Hall. We find this referenced in the name of the street that led to the residence, now called Whitehall Street. We would like to invite you to also enjoy another of our tours “How Dutch is New York? – The New Amsterdam Tour” for a trip around Dutch heritage in Lower Manhattan.
In this tour, The Stuyvesant Tour, we will be focusing on the “country” residence of Peter Stuyvesant, Bouwerij No. 1 (Bowery or Farmhouse # 1) also known as the Director’s Bowery. This was located north of the town of New Amsterdam currently the East Village.
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LIST OF SITES
- 1. Bleecker Street
- 2. Bowery
- 3. Cooper Square
- 4. Stuyvesant Street
- 5. St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery
- 6. Pear Tree of Stuyvesant
- 7. Stuyvesant Square Park with Statue
- 8. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace