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New York Historical Society Construction The cornerstone of the NYHS building at 170 Central Park West was laid on Nov 17th 1903 Members and guest of the society gathered at the American Museum of Natural History and proceeded to the NYHS building site a temporary scaffold and viewing stand had been erected for the days events After an invocation by the Rev Charles E Brugler Pres Samuel Verplank Hoffman reviewed the societys history and listed the articles and publications sealed in a copper box in the corner stone Hon Seth Low Mayor of New York City then put the cornerstone into place Manhattan Purchase Legend has it that Manhattan Island was purchased from Lenape by Peter Minuit for 24 This account implies that the Dutch shrewdly got the best of the Indians who did not realize the potential value of their land But it neglects the fact that the Dutch intended to perform a legitimate land deal Their trading partners the Lenape could hardly participate in a real estate deal of the type described as the very concept of land ownership was alien to them The Great Migration In one of the largest population transfers of the modern era millions of southern ans eastern Europeans poured into NY from 1880-1920 Alone the first were Italian men who traded poverty stricken villages for promises of labor recruiters known as padroniFamily and friends came eventually through intricate networks of village paesani making an ardous journey to relocate to NY neighborhoods that would become Little Italies of the roughly 5 million Italians who arrived at Ellis Island by the early 20th century more than 1 million remained in NY Today passports immigration papers and wooden trunks have passed through their families are a silent testimony to that immense human drama Bibliography Visit to NYHS
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