A Tour of New Netherland

Manhattan

The cover of the burial vault in which the remains of Petrus (Peter) Stuyvesant are interred, on the west wall of St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery

Bowery Number One


Probably the most famous property in Dutch-era Manhattan was the so-called Bowery Number One. When the West India Company sent its instructions for the development of the island, these included a provision for several large farms, or bouweries, extending north of the city of New Amsterdam. The road that connected these properties to the city was called, naturally enough, Bowery Lane. Over the centuries, this became the down-and-out avenue called the Bowery; today it connects Chinatown to the Lower East Side.

Those instructions from the West India Company indicated that the largest of the bouweries—80 rods by 450 rods—was to be reserved for the use of the director of the colony. This vast farm was thus the home of all New Netherland’s directors: Willem Verhulst, Peter Minuit, Wouter Van Twiller, Willem Kieft, and Petrus Stuyvesant. In 1651, Stuyvesant, not content merely to occupy the land, purchased it from the West India Company. He then added to it by purchasing adjacent tracts, so that the Stuyvesant Farm, as it came to be known, covered 120 acres of lower Manhattan. When the English took over the Dutch colony in 1664, Stuyvesant remained a resident of the new town of New York, and ensured that the new adminstration recognized his title to the property.

And so it passed through generations of Stuyvesants. In 1787, Stuyvesant’s great-grandson, named Petrus Stuyvesant after him, had a narrow lane on the farm widened and formally named Stuyvesant Street. This street still exists in lower Manhattan, and is distinguished by running at an angle to the grid of surrounding streets. At about the corner of Stuyvesant Street and Second Avenue was the original site of the Stuyvesant family chapel; it was here that Petrus Stuyvesant was buried in 1672. His tomb is still there, within the walls of the Church of St. Marks-in-the-Bouwerie, along with a plaque. At the other end of Stuyvesant Street, at the intersection of Third Avenue, a small garden commemorates the Dutch leader of the colony and his vast farm, which now comprises the East Village of Manhattan.

Among the many interesting spots located within the confines of what was once Bowery Number One:




About the New Netherland Institute

For a quarter century NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. Directed by Dr. Charles Gehring. More

 

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