Manhattan wasn’t always the most coveted address in the world. In fact, the island currently known as Manhattan wasn’t the first choice of the Dutch for New Amsterdam. Even the Lenape didn’t live there. Manhattan comes from Manahachtanienk, meaning roughly “place where we all got drunk,”* so-called because of an early encounter with the Dutch.* In general, they only visited occasionally to fish or pick up oysters. No one actually wanted the future island of Manhattan. If you strip away what’s been built on the island since that period—the banking and financial and commercial industries, the arts, and everything else we emotionally associate with New York—that little 23 square miles of land isn’t great real estate. OK, it has a bay, but such an extensive one with such weak, soft shoals that for the last three hundred years Manhattan has had to be shored up by trash. Quite literally. No less than 15 percent of its landmass, including large parts of the financial district, is made of centuries of deliberate landfill. The island is also full of granite deposits left by the glaciers receding at the end of the last Ice Age. The huge boulders you see in Central Park are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Those granite deposits are ubiquitous, they go all the way down, and they make the land completely unfarmable.* Manhattan is freezing in the winter and blistering in the summer. It’s subject to hurricanes and flooding. It’s tiny and surrounded by frigid, choppy water. There weren’t even many natural resources except a tiny bit of wood and, of course, the oysters.And yet for a while, New York was the capital of our country. When it surpassed London as the largest city in the world in 1925, it became the unofficial capital of the world. Ironically, it’s now among the most desired real estate on the planet. Raden, Aja (2015-11-30T22:58:59). Stoned . Ecco. Kindle Edition. Raden, Aja (2015-11-30T22:58:59). Stoned . Ecco. Kindle Edition. Raden, Aja (2015-11-30T22:58:59). Stoned . Ecco. Kindle Edition.

— No one wanted Manhattan  

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