The Man Who Vowed to Make New Amsterdam Great Again
In the last days of Dutch control over Manhattan, a demagogic dictator seized the city, promising to keep unwanted foreigners at bay. The first step? Build a wall.
Illustrations by Jared Boggess
The shirtless man, a messenger from Boston, was still alive when he was strung up on a pole in the main public square, on the site of what would become Bowling Green in Downtown Manhattan. Across his chest, beneath the pulp of putrid fruits and vegetables, was a word scrawled in Dutch: “Oproermaker.” Troublemaker.
He hung there for three days while citizens and soldiers pelted him with tomatoes, onions, apples, beets. The crops were rotten, but they must have still been dear to those doing the pelting. The city’s treasury was empty; war had stalled international commerce, and intense security measures had slowed regional trade. The soldiers weren’t being paid, and the citizens couldn’t ply their wares. Even the wealthy had lost their fortunes to the city government.
On the third day, the man was cut down. The orders to do so emanated from the fort across the square, where the National Museum of the American Indian stands today. The commands were stringent: …
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