Saturday, January 30, 2010

Breukelen Hoogtes!

Hello again,

Well for those of you non-dutch speakers (myself included *Thank you Google Translate!*) the title of this entry is the closest approximation of the current name for Manhattan's first commuter town, Brooklyn Heights, in Dutch! According to the Brooklyn Historical society, the first permanent settlement began soon after the transference of land from Native American chiefs to Europeans in 1636. Now, for thecynics among you, try to keep in mind, the Dutch were pretty good about trading fairly for land. They avoided conflict as much as they could with the native people for two reasons, first war interrupted commerce and commerce was the reason for the entire settlements existence and two they lacked for the most part the religious conviction that allowed certain other Europeans *cough* English *cough*; who often decided that this new world was theirs and well anyone who might have thought they owned/possessed/pitched a hut upon it could just go some place else.

So yes, Brooklyn still has everywhere proof that the Dutch were here, the most obvious is the Breukelen Apartments which I found while wandering around the Heights (and freezing my ass off).
Signs that the Dutch were here
(Hopefully you can see the tiny print on the sign)

The area though is likely most famous for it's association with George Washington. In fact it has (which is oh so common in America) a "George Washington was here!!!!" sign.
George Washington was here.
Apparently during the Battle of Long Island George Washington set up camp here. What the giant stone tablet neglects to mention is that the British trounced the Americans and went on to occupy New York for the remainder of the American Revolutionary War. FUN!

The tablet, though it lacks a full perpective of the Battle of Long Island certainly has a lovely view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, which isn't surprising considering it sits in the aptly named Brooklyn Bridge Park. Look at the views!
View from Brooklyn Bridge Park
(That's the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan)

Looking south from the park you also get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, which can only be viewed from the front while standing in Brooklyn, unless you want to rent a boat or come as steerage.
Statue of Liberty
(That tiny little blip on the horizon is the Statue)

Also close to Brooklyn Heights is the Brooklyn Borough Hall, which originally served as the City Hall, when the borough was an independent city.
Brooklyn Borough Hall

This little stretch of park is absolutely gorgeous in the summer time, you get a nice breeze off the water and people usually walk dogs and fly kites and just hang around taking in the site. In winter time, in below freezing weather, it makes for frozen limbs.

So that's about it, apologies for the awful HTML coding and the complete lack of context. This trip was sort of spur of the moment and completely unplanned, but I figured a rough start is good as any. I have my sights on the Brooklyn Public Library, The Brewery and The Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market for future adventures!
Until next week,


  1. Oh my gosh, I want to go to the Brewery with you!

  2. American Breukelen seems far more exciting than Dutch Breukelen!
    This blog seems like good fun Brian, keep it up! I want to see NY through your eyes.