Preservation Issues

The Conservancy Helps Preserve a Piece of New York City’s Dutch History

-(from left to right) Glen Umberger, Manager of Special Projects, the New York Landmarks Conservancy; Andrew Terhune, President, the Holland Society of New York; Dolph Hogewoning, Consul General, Kingdom of the Netherlands; Jimmy van Bramer, Majority Leader, New York City Council.

Update: September 2017

The Conservancy’s sleuthing of the origins of a forgotten piece of New York’s Dutch history was realized recently at the dedication and unveiling of the Adrian Block Commemorative Tablet held on September 18th. The bronze tablet commemorates Dutch explorer, Adrian Block’s ships, the “Tyger” which burned in New York harbor in the autumn of 1613 and the “Restless” which he built in the spring of 1614 to replace the one that was lost. Originally installed in September 1890 at the former Aldrich Court building located at 41-45 Broadway (Youngs & Cable, 1886, demolished 1982), the tablet marks the spot where Block spent the winter with his crew living in wooden huts: it was the first habitation of Europeans on the island of Manhattan. The tablet was part of a set of commemorative tablets originally commissioned by the Holland Society that, according to the New York Times “mark[ed] out the old landmarks and sites of buildings long swept away connected with the early history of New-York City.” Today, only three tablets from the set are known to exist.

Click here to see photos of the tablet installation and its history

The recently restored tablet was the subject of a nine month long research project headed by the Conservancy’s Manager of Special Projects, Glen Umberger who was asked by the Holland Society to determine what the tablet was, where it came from and what should be done with it. As a result of the Conservancy’s efforts, the bronze tablet was reinstalled at the 45 Broadway Atrium building (which replaced Aldrich Court in 1983) in almost the exact location where it had been for 92 years. It was unveiled following a brief ceremony where Umberger was a featured speaker on the history of the tablet with additional remarks given by Andrew Terhune, president of the Holland Society of New York, Dolph Hogewoning, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Hon. Jimmy van Bramer, Majority Leader of the New York City Council.

The other two surviving Holland Society tablets from the set produced in 1890 may be found at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green and at St. Marks-in-the-Bowery in the East Village.