PETER MINUIT PLAZA

2011
NYC DOT; AECOM, construction manager; Michael Victor Ruggiero, Landscape Architect; Ben van Berkel, UNStudio, Sculptor

Situated at the foot of Manhattan within view of New York Harbor, this plaza memorializes the early contact between the Native American inhabitants of Manhattan and its European explorers. Its centerpiece, the Plein and pin-wheel-shaped Pavillion, was donated by the Kingdom of the Netherlands to commemorate Henry Hudson’s arrival in 1609. The plaza’s namesake, Peter Minuit, was Director General of the Dutch New Netherland colony who in 1626 entered into an agreement with the indigenous Lenape. Though widely considered an outright purchase by subsequent colonists, this agreement was closer to a shared use contract allowing both parties equal access to live on and harvest the bounty of lower Manhattan. By the 1660’s, the settlement of New Amsterdam was a thriving and diverse trading port with 18 languages spoken in the neighborhood. A bronze replica of the 1660 plan is on the north side of the plaza at State Street. Today, this plaza and transit facility is the city’s “busiest intermodal hub,” serving commuters by foot, bike, ferry, subway, and bus.

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