The Dutch Roots and More Tour
The Unique Upper Manhattan and Bronx Bike Tour
Select Mondays, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, $99
Celebrating both our spiritual kinship with the most bike-friendly nation in the world - and our New Amsterdam heritage we would like to explore with you many of the links to our Dutch past that can be found in the far and near reaches of New York. Whether you're Dutch or not, you will love this unique tour as it makes makes these explorations through parts of the city that most locals - never mind visitors - rarely venture.
In 1609 Henry Hudson, an English explorer, was hired by the Dutch East Indies Company. In trying to find a new water route to the riches of China he became the first European to sail up the majestic river that now bears his name. His reports of the bounty of the land led to the Dutch creation in 1624 of New Amsterdam and New Netherlands. In 1664 the British took it all without a fight, although its Dutch inhabitants continued to live on the land and influence its history. In honor of Koninginnedag and Bevrijdingsdag, on this unique tour, we will celebrate the legacy of Peter Minuit, Jonas Bronck, Jan Dyckman, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and Vredrych Flypsen. And much much more, as we safely and leisurely ride though neighborhoods and “sights the typical tourist seldom sees.”
We begin by crossing the the Harlem River (not to be confused with Haarlem's Spaarne River), and entering the land where Jonas Bronck, moving from Amsterdam in 1639, became the first European settler. As we ride across the south Bronx, we will stop at the very place where President Carter stopped, given the impetus to the rebuilding of whole neighorhoods as you will see for yourself. At the falls of the Bronx River you will simply not believe you are still in the Bronx! And quite recently, for the first time in nearly 200 years, a beaver, was discovered here again! It was the abundance of this animal, with its lush fur much prized by the Dutch, that was a key motivation in the founding of New Amsterdam.
In the Belmont neighborhood, we will stop at the be-bop corner to “sing along” with Dion and the Belmonts, street kids from the neighborhood. Their hit song, Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love, is still in the consciousness of many older Dutch citizens who grow up in Holland in the 50’s and ’60’s. In the magnificent indoor market of this non-tourist, Little Italy of the Bronx, with sausages hanging overhead in profusion, we will dine on incomparable pizza and other tasty, local delicacies and luscious pastries.
Passing through Bronxterdam, we’ll learn why its current residents chose to nickname it after Amsterdam! In Van Cortlandt park still stands Frederick Van Cortlandt’s 1748 Georgian manor house with keystone’s still revealing its builder’s pride in his Dutch Heritage. Its exterior and interior reflect the sizeable wealth of the family, amassed in part from the slave trade and sustained with the help of generations of slaves.
We cross the Harlem River at Supyten Duyvil, a probably corruption of spuit den duyvil. We’ll pass by the only remaining Dutch colonial farmhouse in Manhattan, the Dyckman House, with it typical Dutch gambrel roof. In Inwood Park, we pedal through the last remaining natural forest in Manhattan Island. Here is the reputed site where Peter Minuit, the Dutch director General of the colony, “purchased” the whole island for $24 worth of wampum! Here also are marvelous views across the Hudson to the magnificent Palisades. As we head back via a grand Dutch-style fietspad, we will pedal around the Cloisters, built with Rockefeller money to resemble a Romanesque Abby, and housing an extensive collection of Medieval art and architecture including marvelous Flemish tapestries.
On this tour, we welcome our Dutch friends, as well as all others (this is an English-language tour) , who want to learn a little about Dutch New York, or who just want to have a great day!
This special tour meets at 9:30 am, several blocks north of Central Park (a block from several major subway stations - full meeting details will be provided after booking is made).
It is approximately 18 miles (with a few rolling hills) and lasts about 7½ hours. The $99 cost includes the bike, a helmet, and the licensed tour guide (food cost not included) ($10 less with your own bike).