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Friday, March 9, 2007

Greetings from New Amsterdam: Russell Shorto speaks from The Island at the Center of the World

location of one bowling greendowntown manhattanThe Downtown Alliance's next Third Thursday Lecture features Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World and a contributing writer for the New York Times. He will be speaking on Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 7 pm. The venue on the site of the old fort in the Dutch city of New Amsterdam (pop-up map), where now stands the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, in the former U.S. Customs House building at One Bowling Green. It is a monumental and imposing Beaux-Arts building designed by Cass Gilbert in 1899, and a treat to experience its grandly proportioned space.

The Island at the Center of the WorldThe Island at the Center of the World"The Dutch colony of New Netherland, which covered all or parts of five future states and had Manhattan Island as its center, was founded only three years after the Pilgrims landed. It was forgotten because the English and the Dutch,
the two superpowers of the 17th century,
were bitter enemies"
Mr. Shorto will be speaking about the origins of our city as the Dutch city of New Amsterdam, before the English took over the colony, and it became New York. He weaves a story which is particularly engaging, as he chronicles the history and power strugges of the time, and how they help shape the American character in ways which still resonate today. It is based on the official records of the Dutch colony, which for the past 30 years have been translated by a scholar named Charles Gehring. Seats are free, but limited and registration is required. It should be a fascinating evening. Say hello, if you see my face floating around!