If you grew up in Astoria Queens chances are you’ve heard of this park and most likely visited the park throughout your childhood. A meeting place for many cultures all year round. The park is known for it’s view of the Triborough and Hells’ Gate Bridge, the Manhattan skyline from the waterfront. For sport enthusiast this park has a track and field, the tennis courts, the bocce courts, and most famously, the pool. No matter the time of day or what sort of weather you will always find the park being used by someone. Joggers, athletes in training, lovers courting each other, car enthusiast lined up at the waterfront, there is always someone doing something. Astoria park provides a great deal of history and entertainment for those who visit. The images above gives a small example of what you will see at the park on a cold and rainy day. You will come across a number of joggers, a couple of individuals taking a stroll while fighting to hold their umbrella upright but you will definitely be outnumbered by the pigeons and seagulls who battle the wind for some scraps of food.
Brief History Below
Astoria Park 59 acres has a long history. Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Astoria Park was home to Native American Indians who thrived at Pot Cove. The area was suitable for life, many of the Native American Indians grew maize (meyz), which was pale yellow and resembled corn. Where Hell’s Gate bridge now towers, the natives used this area for fishing while utilizing the southern end of the park for fresh water. Even now, under the park runs a small stream known as Linden Brook. The way of life for the Native American Indians soon vanished.
By the mid 1600’s European settlers roamed the land, the Dutch specifically took a liking to the area. Slowly the land was sold to wealthy investors such a William Hallet who acquired large portions of the land. In 1655 it is reported that Hallet plantation and home were destroyed by the Native American Indians. After the destruction of his home he relocated to Flushing, where he became the local sheriff and later deposed, fined and imprisoned for entertaining Reverend William Wickenden.
During the revolutionary war the land was occupied by British (official soldiers) and Hessian Regiments (mercenaries). The Hessian Regiment were not truly mercenaries, however, they were recruited and paid to operate along side the British. “The Hessians were 18th century German auxiliaries contracted by the British government.” Due to the 18th century Germany geography and political sphere, as remnants of the “Old Holy Empire” of the Middle Ages, Germany ruling party kept a large garrison of soldiers. During this time, the enlightened British empire had a difficult time recruiting volunteers and limited time in training. In order to composite for this, the British would look towards their allied and ‘purchase’ troops for campaigns. It was usually beneficial for the German prince to offer his troops, not only was he assisting an ally, but it insure his troops were receiving combat experience and financial support, supplies etc., by the British government.
Information was gather from the following links:
http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/AstoriaPark/history, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hessian_(soldiers), http://www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing/history/hessian.htm, http://williamhallett.com/william-hallett-b-1616/