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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2014, 8:08 PM
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THE BIG APPLE THE BIG APPLE is offline
Khurram Parvaz
 
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Location: NEW YORK
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Smile NEW YORK | Verrazano-Narrows Bridge | 692 FT | ≈ FLOORS | 1964

The History of Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge




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For most residents of the New York metropolitan area, the Bay Ridge section of the Borough of Brooklyn, New York, is remembered as part of the New York City marathon route. Moviegoers remember the locale as the setting for the 1977 feature film Saturday Night Fever. For motorists, the community is used to reach the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, by way of either the Gowanus Expressway or the Belt Parkway. Concealed from view on the silver screen or through an automobile window is the rich history and natural beauty of Long Island’s westerly tip. Bay Ridge, and the adjacent community and military enterprise of Fort Hamilton, border picturesque New York Bay and share a collective history that dates back to early Dutch colonization. The following is a half-millennium account that highlights early European exploration and the area’s brief tenure as a playground for the wealthy. It also features a historiography of Bay Ridge’s most distinct structure, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Early Settlement to the American Revolution

Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton stand at the western edge of Long Island, along New York Bay and the Narrows. The latter waterway is a strait that separates Long Island from Staten Island.[1] At one point, Bay Ridge extended as far north as Thirty-Ninth Street into present-day Sunset Park. However, the construction of Interstate 278/Gowanus Expressway and the approaches to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge physically divided the community, created Sunset Park, and defined the eastern border. Currently, Bay Ridge is circumscribed by the Gowanus Expressway and the Belt Parkway to form a clearly defined neighborhood. On the east side of the Gowanus Expressway, along the Narrows, lies Fort Hamilton military post.[2] The first European vessel to sail through the Narrows was the Dauphine, a three-masted carrack, under the command of Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano. On the mild spring morning of April 17, 1524, sailing for King Francis I of France, Verrazzano slipped through the Narrows into Upper New York Bay. In a journal, he described that after dropping anchor, he ventured to shore in a smaller vessel. There he was greeted with joy by a native people. It is assumed that he landed on what is now Staten Island. Verrazzano called the upper bay a “very beautiful lake” and named it Bay of Saint Marguerite, after the King’s sister. He called the territory the Land Angouleme, because the King was once the Count of Angouleme.[3]

European settlement of present-day Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton waited over a hundred years following Verrazzano’s journey. The area known as Fort Hamilton was first settled by Jacques Barkeloo in 1620.[4] By the 1630s, the Dutch colonies of New Amsterdam and Breukelen were established on Manhattan and Long Island. On August 3, 1639, Anthony Jansen Van Sales, one of New Amsterdam’s first African-American settlers, received a land patent from the Dutch West India Company under Governor-General Kieft for two hundred acres “on the bay of the North [Hudson] River,” near the current New Utrecht-Gravesend border. While Van Sales applied for the land grant in 1643, it was retroactive to 1639. A condition was that Van Sales improve the land and pay a small rent. A May 27, 1643 patent confirms a house was built. By 1660, Van Sales sold his land and returned to New Amsterdam. Following the Van Sales patent, additional lands lying between Gowanus and Coney Island were purchased by Governor Kieft on account of the West India Company from Chief Penhawitz of the Lenape Indians. The land was partly in present-day Gravesend and partly in New Utrecht.
The Varrazano Turns 50 Years Old in November
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Last edited by THE BIG APPLE; Aug 25, 2014 at 1:06 AM.
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Old Posted Aug 24, 2014, 11:09 PM
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Guiltyspark Guiltyspark is offline
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I think you meant to say it turns 50 in November.
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