New Amsterdam City Hall

On 13 June 1654, when an English attack on New Amsterdam seemed imminent, director general and council decided that in addition to strengthening other fortifications, “the City Tavern is to be ensconced with a small rampart and breastworks, upon which 2 or 3 light artillery pieces are to be placed.” As news of the Treaty of Westminster, agreed upon in Europe on 15 April 1654, reached New Amsterdam on June 16, it is not likely that plans for such a fortification were implemented straightaway. The Castello Plan shows only five trees and two fences at the location, although that may be the result of Vingboons adding detail to the original map that was sent over. The 1661 English description of New Amsterdam, however, mentions “the Stat-house, before wch is built a half moon of stone, where are mounted 3 smal bras guns, tho it be large enough to mount 8 guns on it.” In 1671, a fortification was still in place at this location, as one of the magistrates was charged to supervise “the Managemt in Repairing of the half moon before the state house.” The construction is depicted on the so-called Labadist General View of circa 1679. Presumably the last remnants were removed once landfill and new buildings obstructed the line of sight to the East River and made a fortification at this location obsolete.

Sources and literature

Jacobs, J., Dutch Colonial Fortifications in North America 1614-1676 (2015)