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Russell Shorto discusses New Netherland influence on NY at Dutchess

Russell Shorto discusses New Netherland influence on NY at Dutchess

Tuesday, Oct. 16: Shorto was one of the first historians to be allowed access to Albany’s rich archive of primary documents from the era of Dutch colonization of what is now New York, as they were being translated into English by the New Netherland Project. The best-known product of those early researches was his 2004 blockbuster The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan, and the Founding Colony that Shaped America. It’s an engaging tale of how the philosophical fruits of the European Enlightenment, borne to New Netherland by Dutch settlers, seeded New York City’s destiny as a cradle of diversity and liberalism and a welcoming harbor for immigrants.

Don’t lose your head: Attractions near the real Sleepy Hollow

Don’t lose your head: Attractions near the real Sleepy Hollow

By the time Washington Irving moved to Sunnyside, he was renowned on two continents as “the first American man of letters.” He had already written both of his most famous stories, “Legend” and “Rip Van Winkle”; covered Aaron Burr’s treason trial for a newspaper; co-founded the literary magazine Salmagundi; coined the phrase “the almighty dollar,” as well as the nicknames “Gotham” for New York City and “Knickerbocker” for one of its residents; spawned the fiction that Christopher Columbus’ contemporaries believed the Earth to be flat; and, with his accounts of traditional Yorkshire Yuletide celebrations in his Bracebridge Hall stories, planted the seed of inspiration in Charles Dickens that would soon lead to the writing of A Christmas Carol.