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Thursday, September 3, 2009

400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival

Fourth grade Social Studies focuses on the geography and history of New York. One of the units is all about Henry Hudson and his explorations and the subsequent Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later to become NY).

This coming week marks the 400th anniversary of Hudson's arrival and discovery of the river later to be named after him. There are many celebrations going on that offer us excellent learning opportunities. One such celebration that begins this weekend sounds like a fun family activity.

A model colonial Dutch village has been created in Bowling Green Park in lower Manhattan and will be open from September 4th to 14th. The village is made of 12 traditional houses, a windmill and a greenhouse. There will also be workshops, craft lessons (such as making wooden shoes) and Dutch food available for sampling. Admission is FREE. 

You can find out more about the entire NY400 celebration and events at the NY 400 Site.

Editing in an opinion here on Sunday 09/06/09
My family and I went to visit this today and it wasn't quite what I expected. The houses are really only wooden facades/booths. The windmill was pretty cool and each "booth" features something like glassblowing, wooden shoes being carved. tulip bulbs. There's a booth selling what seem like mini-pancakes with butter and sugar and another one selling various kinds of herring and salmon sandwiches.  The greenhouse, a tribute to modern Amsterdam's ecology-mindedness, did have a fascinating display of bees inside a plexiglass case. I took lots of pictures!

Overall, it's a nice part of a day spent in Battery Park, but not enough of a destination by itself.

We did go on to walk through the Irish Hunger Memorial. If you've never been, it's a simple yet very touching tribute to those who fled Ireland during the Great Famine. It's built around a tumbledown stone cottage that was brought over from Ireland.

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