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Joe Blow's Monthly Newsletter
Stories so good, you'll just have to share them.
A New York State of Mind
As the song goes, “if I can make it there... I can make it anywhere.” Of course the song lyrics refer to the song, “New York, New York.” Maybe what Frank Sinatra was alluding to, was the fact, that things are different in New York. If ever a story illustrates that, it’s this one.
New York has always had a more flamboyant and unique way of dealing with its problems. One such problem arose just after New York became New York and it is a problem that continued for more than 300 years.
Back in the 60’s, the 1660’s, the colony of New Amsterdam became the colony of New York. The Dutch gave New Amsterdam to the British. The British in turn, gave it to the Duke of York to govern, and he changed the name to New York.
At the time, British citizens were already living in close proximity, just across the river in New Jersey. A dispute quickly arose between the citizens of the colony of New Jersey and the new government of New York.
At dispute was a sixty square mile piece of land, at the entrance to the Hudson River. The colony of New Jersey claimed the land, even though the land had formally been part of New Amsterdam.
Seeking a quick settlement to the dispute, the Duke of York suggested a contest to determine the owner of the disputed territory. It was agreed there would be a boat race.
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Two teams, one from each colony would send a sailboat. The one, who could circumnavigate the island in 24 hours or less, would claim the island for their colony.
New York won.
Fast forward to 2007. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg saw the story of how the island was won, and decided to do some research. He quickly realized that while this story was generally accepted as fact, he could find no record of the race actually occurring.
So, in June 2007, three hundred forty-seven years after it supposedly occurred, the Mayor of New York City hosted another race for the ownership of the island. Bloomberg wanted to settle the dispute once and for all.
Ten boats were brought to the island, five from New York, and five from New Jersey. Once again, the stakes were than the winning boat would claim the island for their state.
This time, the race only lasted a few hours and again, New York prevailed and after more than three hundred years, Staten Island, (New York’s southernmost point) permanently became part of New York.
But, before I leave you, consider what a logistical nightmare that would have been, if a New Jersey boat had won the race, and Staten Island would have become part of New Jersey, instead of New York.