Volume 21, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 30 - February 5, 2009
Photo by Edward Reed
Mayor Bloomberg, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen, second from the right, Dutch Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans, far right, announced a year-long celebration of the 400 anniversary of the voyage of Henry Hudson, right image, to what is now known as Lower Manhattan.
400 years later, city goes Dutch on Hudson festival
Four hundred years after Henry Hudson sailed a Dutch ship up the river that now bears his name and discovered what would become New York City, the New York and Dutch governments are planning a massive celebration of the city’s history and waterfront.
Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday in announcing plans for a year of events, exhibits and performances, culminating in Harbor Day Sept. 13. The first annual Harbor Day will include free ferry rides and free bike rentals in Manhattan and Brooklyn and on Governors Island.
One permanent feature of the celebration will be a 5,000-square-foot New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion erected at the Battery by the end of the year, a gift from the Dutch government designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel. Bloomberg unveiled a model of the pavilion at a press conference Wednesday, which Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy, also attended.
“All of these celebrations will give people one more reason to visit New York City this year,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Tourism is going to be one of those industries that helps support our local economy during the recession, and we are working harder than ever to promote it.”
The celebration will extend all the way up the Hudson into Upstate New York and across the Atlantic to the Netherlands. The two governments are working with hotels, airlines and tour-operators to boost tourism between New York and the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg region. Continental Airlines is offering a special fare of $591 including taxes and surcharges for return flights from Amsterdam from now until Feb. 28, subject to availability and changes.
Last year, a record 366,000 visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg region visited New York City.
Cohen, the Amsterdam mayor, said New York and his city have much in common, including the significance of maritime and creative industries.
“The Netherlands and New York City have a unique connection that links the two not only in terms of history, but also current priorities and future legacy,” Cohen said in a statement.