Were there once windmills on the Upper East Side? Why are there iron reliefs of a windmill on the railings?
At the end of east 84th street (at the river), I was surprised to find a sign that looked like a windmill on top of a flag. My first thought was that it must be a symbol for something dangerous as it was at the beginning of a flight of stairs going down to the FDR Drive.
I took a picture and went on my way going north on the esplanade. Because the windmill image was in my mind, I noticed that the southern path fence, along the river, had an iron windmill in one of its sections. Further along I came to two other ones.
I know that Carl Schurz was German so why would he be associated with windmills?
An original native of Cologne, Germany. Schurz made his reputation as a skilled orator and proved to be instrumental to Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election campaign. During these days Schurz was characterized as Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.
An added note: The first known Dutch owner of the land was Sybout Claessen who was granted the property in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company. Claessen, dubbed the jutting riverbank “Horn’s Hook” in honor of his native village of Hoorn in Holland.
So why do we have windmills at Schurz park?
FACTS: Sybout Claessen,was born in Holland in Hoorn
Carl Schurz was depicted fighting windmills
The first sign has a flag of the Netherlands. The city of Hoorn is in the Netherlands. Also, Holland is a region in the Netherlands and has windmills.
Guess One: The symbols honor Claessen the first owner of the property
Guess Two: They honor Schurz because of the windmill reference
Guess Three: The symbols honor both men.
I think some person put the history of Schurz and Claessen together and created an intriguing symbol for the park?
Any ideas? Send me a comment.