Seen & Heard: Getting the boot on Greenwich

C. forwarded this IG post by @nycephalopod — so drivers beware. Not sure what the exact offense was, other than being in a Truck Loading Only zone, but they must have been very bad indeed!

The Museum of Chinese in America will host its annual celebration of the Lunar New Year with free programming starting Jan. 16 through Feb. 16. The popular Lunar New Year Family Festival will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, with hands-on activities and workshops for families. Learn more about here.

The Seaport, in partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center and the South Street Seaport Museum, will host a Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 21 with a Lion Dance from 12:30 to 1p starting outside of the Tin Building and working its way to the Heineken Riverdeck on Pier 17. And there will be Chinese calligraphy workshops at 1, 2 and 3p geared for ages 7-12. There’s more events at the Seaport Museum, and RSVPs are required for some. Check it out here.

Originally known as “Public Place” within Bowling Green Park, the plaza just south of the park entrance has been renamed Immigrant Heritage Plaza. In 2022, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs hosted 15 events at Bowling Green Park to celebrate the heritage of immigrant communities so they decided to make it permanent. And this makes no sense to me, so I am including it from the press release for that reason: “Immigrant Heritage Plaza will honor all immigrants who built New York City, beginning with the first immigrant who arrived, Juan Rodriguez. Juan Rodriguez originally from the Spanish colony of La Española (today the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti) arrived in the Hudson Harbor in 1613 on board a Dutch ship.”



  1. Back in 2014, only a few weeks after moving to Tribeca, I was towed at 8:20 am when I overslept and had left my car in a no parking 8-6 block overnight. What a welcome to the neighborhood… That said, as long as they enforce this fairly and consistently, I have no problem with it.

  2. Juan Rodrigues was a member of Adriaen Block’s crew, and was left behind on Manhattan in 1614 to organize a trading post while Block explored the rest of Long Island Sound. Reasonable to call him the first immigrant to New York since he’s the first recorded non-Native American to live in the five boroughs in a somewhat permanent fashion. (He was from San Domingo as the press release says and was also of mixed Black and white heritage).

    • Rodrigues was not originally a member of Block’s crew.

      “[…] In 1613, Juan (or Jan or Joao) Rodriguez (or Rodrigues) appears to have accompanied Thijs Mossel, a Dutch sea captain, on the vessel Jonge Tobias from San Domingo, now known as Santo Domingo. Mossel returned to the Netherlands, while Rodriguez was marooned in what became New York (on either Governors Island or Manhattan) or more likely decided on his own to remain. […]

      “Much of what is known about him comes from affidavits by another captain, Adriaen Block, who complained that Mossel, presumably through Rodriguez, was overpaying for beaver pelts and was ruining Block’s business. Mossel insisted that Rodriguez was not his agent, but rather that Rodriguez had abandoned ship and remained on the island voluntarily (at least into 1614, when Mossel returned) and might have eventually married an Indian woman.

      “Crew members said in affidavits that the ‘mulatto’ or ‘Spaniard’ had ‘run away from the ship and gone ashore against their intent’ and that Block’s crew ‘ought to have killed him’ when he refused to go with them to Holland. […]”

      • Mossel’s Jong Tobias was a ship that was part Block’s 1613 voyage to the Hudson from Amsterdam, so the distinction you’re making is something akin to saying that a sailor wasn’t part of Columbus’s voyage because he was on the Pinta instead of the Santa Maria, or wasn’t on Magellan’s voyage because he sailed on the Concepcion instead of the Trinidad. Nevertheless, Rodrigues sailed as part of Block’s 1613 expedition and remained on Manhattan to trade, which is why his name appears in the press release.

        • Again, since Block and Mossel arrived separately and later sued each other, claiming they were part of the “same voyage” is what the Dutch would have called “fake nieuws.”

          “[…] In 1613 Dutch sea captain Thijs Volchertz Mossel sailed the Jonge Tobias from the West Indies to Hudson’s Bay, anchoring off Manhattan Island. There he left Jan Rodrigues to trade with Native Americans.

          “What happened thereafter—and what we know most about Rodrigues—is conveyed mainly through a series of lawsuits between Mossel and Dutch traders, including captains Adrian Block and Hendrick Christiaensen, both of whom had encountered Rodrigues. When Block, who was mapping Long Island Sound and trading with Native Americans, returned to Holland, he found himself being sued by Mossel, who claimed Block violated his exclusive trading rights. Key to the suit was the freedom status of Rodrigues. Was he a slave, owned by Mossel, or residing on Manhattan Island as a free man doing business on his own?

          “Block asserted that Rodrigues was a free man, and not a servant or an employee as Mossel claimed. Block insisted that Mossel did not enjoy a trade monopoly on the island, pointing to the presence of Rodrigues, who lived alone and traded independently. Block’s defense rested on the argument that Rodrigues was a ‘free man,’ who was acting on his own authority and not on behalf of Mossel’s alleged monopoly.

          “Christiaensen supported Block. He declared that Rodrigues had boarded his vessel and presented himself as a free man. Rodrigues even offered to work for Christiaensen, who hired him as a translator to facilitate trade with the Natives.

          “In April 1614 Mossel returned to North America. Sailing his new ship, the Nachtegael, into the Hudson, the truth of the relationship between Mossel and Rodrigues became apparent, along with evidence that Rodrigues was Manhattan’s first non-Native American merchant. Sighting the Nachtegael, Rodrigues fired his musket at the ship, and its crew returned fire. Brandishing torches, muskets, and swords, Mossel’s crew chased the ‘black rascal’ and briefly apprehended him. Though wounded, Rodrigues took a sword away from one of his pursuers and escaped. Later he found refuge with Christiaensen’s crew, who took him aboard their boat and sheltered him.

          “Mossel claimed that Rodrigues’s actions proved that he was a renegade servant or employee, and not free. However, the court ruled against Mossel, thus finding implicitly that Rodrigues was a free man.

          “The written record of Rodrigues, who did not travel to Amsterdam for the proceedings, apparently ended in the Dutch court. Though it is clear that Rodrigues was the sole nonnative resident of Manhattan for several months, and possibly for long stretches of time during the second decade of the seventeenth century, documentation of Rodrigues’s entire length of stay is wanting. […]”

          • Many words but nothing disputing that all the ships were part of the same 1613 expedition from Amsterdam to New York. Like many others that complain that something is “fake news” when you hear something you don’t like, the courts catch you out: the Dutch court in the lawsuit you (laboriously) describe treated them as part of the same voyage, as you can see from the primary documents (e.g., the deposition testimony of crew members Gerbrant Janssen (Block’s ship) and Hendrick Ribbelinck (Mossel’s) agreeing they were on the same “voyage” (Dutch “reis,” singular) together).

          • Columbus had one sponsor and his ships traveled as a fleet in 1492.

            Block and Mossel were competitors when Rodrigues makes his appearance in history. The two men were hired by two different trading companies to captain their own vessels. They did not sail in a fleet, but individually with their own crews. The depositions exist because Block sued Mossel, accusing Mossel of “spoiling” Block’s trading.

            Even the deponents you quote distinguished among the captains and their crews, declaring “nobody of the said Mossel’s crew stayed ashore in the said Virginia other than the said Spaniard [Rodrigues].”

            Again, how were these litigants and competitors Block and Mossel understood to be part of the same voyage, traveling separately for separate employers and trading separately? How does a single word in a transcript from over 400 years ago change all the facts that these men were competitors?

        • Per “The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-century America” by Jaap Jacobs, Block sailed for the Van Tweenhuysen Company. Mossel and the Jonge Tobias were dispatched by the Hans Claesz Company, all prior to (and their conflict and price competition resulting in) the founding of the New Netherland Company effective January 1, 1615.

          • You suing the guy you worked for doesn’t mean you didn’t work for him. Especially when—as you yourself note—Mossel lost! You have a problem with Block and Mossel being part of the same voyage, bring it up with the Burgerlijke Rechtbank in 17th century Amsterdam that ruled against Mossel, and also talk to all of Mossel’s crew members who testified they were part of the same voyage as Block. I’m just a guy on the internet relaying facts to you. You complain about “a single word in a transcript” when it goes against you, but you’ve also spent all day pedantically arguing about a single word in my original post that had nothing to do with the actual point (that Rodrigues is considered the “first immigrant to NYC” because he was the first non-Native to arguably live permanently in NYC, a fact you’ve never disputed.) This whole exercise of yours has been a study in trying to Be Right On The Internet, and now that the actual documents don’t back you up you’re literally re-litigating a 400-year old lawsuit. Time to call it a day man.

          • Rodrigues was part of Mossel’s crew, not Block’s. Separate captains, separate companies, separate sponsors.

            As for the first immigrant status, Rodrigues disappeared from the written record after the trial. However, if it makes someone happy to call Rodrigues an immigrant for indisputably residing on Manhattan for several months at least, be my guest.

          • The historical record disagrees with you, as did the courts and people involved. Probably better to make clear from the outset when your comment is intended to be nothing more than your own personal opinion of a 400-year old lawsuit.

  3. Well… it would be nice if indeed they went for the placard abusers… those they leave alone…