If you were walking along the East River and noticed that there were images of windmills on the railings and then came across a painted flag with a windmill at the center – What might you think?
Well, when I wrote Mystery of the Dutch windmill in 2012, I was trying to discover why there were images of Dutch Windmills in the park. Later, I found another image on a pedestrian bridge at East 23rd Street
Why are there iron reliefs of a windmill on the railings? And why was there a flag with a windmill on it at the end of East 84th Street.(since removed)
Did I solve the Mystery of Dutch Windmills in Schurz Park?
I am not quite sure but the answer may be in front of me or should I say in front of Gracie Mansion. I noticed that the city flag was close to looking like the flag on the wall…um! Later I looked up the city flag on Google and there in the center of the flag was the seal of NYC. It had a Dutch Windmill in the center..
The Official City Flag
A flag combining the colors orange, white and blue arranged in perpendicular bars of equal dimensions (the blue being nearest to the flagstaff) with the standard design of the seal of the city in blue upon the middle, or white bar, bearing the number 1625, which colors shall be the same as those of the flag of the United Netherlands in use in the year sixteen hundred twenty-five.
Windmill: Remembers the Dutch history of the city and the prosperous industry of milling flour.
The windmill’s connection to the Dutch is not necessarily a given; when it first appears on the seal we were under English rule, and windmills were popular there, too. But the 1686 seal, when it first appears, was the first seal created by New Yorkers themselves. And since there were many Dutch in positions of authority, and many of them had windmills on their coats-of-arms, it probably does symbolize Dutch heritage. But the best argument can be found in the position of the windmill’s arms, they mimic the saltire, or St. Andrew’s Cross, and three saltires arranged vertically was the official Dutch emblem.
Date: Beneath the horizontal laurel branch the date 1625, being the year of the establishment of New Amsterdam.The City Seal
The colors are chosen to commemorate the Dutch who brought the love of civil liberty and the ideals of democratic government with them. The shade of blue back than was indigo blue. The stripes are not arranged horizontal but vertical to not make it an imitation of the early Dutch flags but a new flag, and for better displaying the seal.(source:http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-nyc.html)
OK, so here goes my leap-of-faith –My latest hypothesis – Somewhere in the history of creating parks and over-passes in the city, a decision was made to use the more recognizable Dutch flag and a more realistic-looking Dutch windmill.
What do you think?
Couple of notes that I found while searching for clues.
“Maiden Lane was clogged with carts transporting grain from ships on the East River to a windmill near the Hudson.” The windmill was New York’s first skyline element, and today the centerpiece of the New York City seal.
Under Dutch rule in the 17th Century, the tallest structure in New York was a two–story windmill.