Maps of the Locales of Exquisite Folly

(Double-click to expand the pictures)


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Lower Manhattan

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New York Area

Virtually all of New York City’s “enormous” 20,000 population lived on the southernmost tenth of Manhattan Island. Very few of its structures were higher than three stories.

The vast bulk of this area was then agricultural land, not residential or commercial. Area farmers produced a great variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, and livestock.

Thomas Dordrecht does not traverse the Kingsbridge in this story, but he was surely familiar with the sole vehicular and pedestrian egress from Manhattan Island.

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Route of the “Janie”

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Period Chart of Hell Gate

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Hell Gate Area Streets

The passage between the southern tip of Manhattan to the open waters of Long Island Sound would have been a severe challenge to all marine craft lacking auxiliary power.

Until late in the 19th Century, the Hell Gate was far more treacherous than it (still) is today. Twice daily, all the waters of the Sound and New York Bay try to push through this funnel.

When the HMS Hussar was wrecked in Hell Gate in 1780, one of her cannons was salvaged. Long displayed in Central Park, conservators discovered live ammunition in it in 2013.

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Hell Gate Satellite View

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Mamaroneck Harbor

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Departure of the “Dorothy C.”

In 1765 there were no dredged channels, no navigational aids, and few identifiable buildings to mark one’s course. Captains drew sketches for each other and committed outlines to memory.

Like many coastal ports, Mamaroneck’s harbor is reached via a long, narrow, twisty passage. If winds were adverse, traversing the last mile to the wharf involved heavy manual labor.

Until 1815, the British Navy often tried to guard or monitor or interdict American commerce by patrolling the Lower Bay and the Atlantic approaches. It did so zealously in 1765.






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