All the area north of what is now 59th Street was called "Muscoota"
by the Manhattan Indians. Muscoota means "flat place". This
flat place was good for growing food and this is why many of the Manhattan
Indians lived in this part of Manhattan. When the Dutch arrived and took
over the lower, southern part of the island - "Nieuw Amsterdam",
they left the native Indians pretty much to themselves in the northern
European in Muscoota
One trader, Mynheer Hendrick de Forest became the first European to set
foot in Muscoota. He liked it immediately. After a while, he built a house,
planted some crops and began living in Muscoota, all without asking the
Native American if he could. Later on, other Dutchmen and women followed
suite and began to move into Muscoota too.
War broke out with
the Native Americans after the Governor Kieft indiscriminately and arbitrarily
sentenced some to death. The Manhattan Indians managed to kill all of
the settlers. The arrival of Governor Peter Stuyvesant changed Muscoota
forever. Governor Stuyvesant built a town in Muscoota and named it "Nieuw
Haarlem". With the arrival of the English in 1664 Nieuw Haarlem's
name was changed to "Harlem".
"Harlem, The Story of a Changing Community" by Bernice Elizabeth
Young Published by Julian Messner, a Division of Simon & Shuster,
Some pictures are courtesy of East Harlem's La Guardia/Corsi House which
is located at 307 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029, (212) 534-7800
or from the Print Archives, Museum
of the City of New York
East Harlem History Page 2
Harlem History Page 3
Harlem History Page 4
Harlem History Page 5
For further information
on East Harlem please read the 197-A Plan
from Community Board # 11. This document contains
demographic, historic and statistical data.