New York’s history of European settlement is not as long as that of the original European nations from which early settlers came but it is nonetheless a mighty history indeed, all the more remarkable for what has been achieved in a very short time span. It was only 391 years ago that European settlers first set up a Dutch Fur Trading post in Manhattan in 1624 and now what you see is an awe inspiring city that is one of the most populous in the world and incredibly wealthy and prosperous.
The very first humble dwellings built in Manhattan were a far cry indeed from the glittering skyscrapers of today but it s wonderful that at least of few of these dwelling remain so that New Yorkers and visitors to the city can marvel at how far the city has come. The oldest building to survive is the Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn, built as a farm by Dutch settlers in 1652 and despite ups and downs still existing today as you can see in the video.
Of course New York city’s onward rush has always meant that the old was ruthlessly demolished to make way for the new, but there is just enough housing and buildings left from the 17th, 18th and 19th Century for the historical adventurer to see what once existed and marvel at lives so different to those of current New Yorkers.
Go initially to the Historic House Trust and you will see a visual record of the 23 houses maintained by this Trust for the people of NYC. There is another list, just of historic houses in Manhattan alone here, 13 Historic Houses in Manhattan, a list which overlaps with the previous one. Then there is yet another list here Comprehensive list of oldest buildings in New York. Not all these buildings are open to the public though all the ones on the previosu 2 lists are.
These 3 lists together help you appreciate, both how sparse the oldest New York housing stock is and at the same time that there are sufficient surviving houses and buildings to be able to go on a fascinating historical journey tracing NYC’s journey from small fur trading post to mighty, mighty city. It is such a worthwhile journey. It will make you marvel at the resilience of previous New Yorkers and appreciate anew how NYC’s man immigrants together created the miracle that is present day New York city.