Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dutch Customs and Coney Island Sand - 1836

I knew there were excellent old newspapers at The Library of Congress' website, but had failed to notice just how early the articles started (1836!). So I'm hopping back for a while. This one notes the Dutch influence in America in the 1790s. Coney Island reference boled.


The NEW YORK MIRROR, a periodical, which we never fail to open without finding something both amusing and instructing, contains an article under the above title purporting to be a letter from LAURIE TODD, to the editors, on a very interesting subject, as will be seen, to the present rising generation--from which we make the following extract.--ED. HERALD>

…………..I have been feasting on "Harrison's New York Museum" for 1795-6-7, etc. ; it brings up actors and scenes long shifted from time to eternity ; it also recalls the scenes of youth, and it appears to me, that Providence has so constituted our nature, that the mind retains more of the pleasures than of the pains, in life's journey.

The poems, sonnets, acrostics and anecdotes, with the association of ideas therewith connected ; the deaths, marriages, and weekly occurrences which these old volumes contain, make me live again "the days o'langsyne." When Dutch manners, Dutch fashions, Dutch ships prevailed, we had more arrivals from Amsterdam then than London and Liverpool put together. Then the floors were scrubbed on Saturday, and sprinkled over with white sand from Coney Island or Rockaway Beach; a rug carpet and green Windsor chair was a luxury…..

--Rutland Herald, Vermont, Tuesday, April 5, 1836

If you search for "sand" in this story on The Legend of the Wooden Shoe you can read about an example of sand on Dutch floors.

It sounds like Washington Irving corroborates, but he says they did this in the parlor and then didn't use the room all week!

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