Perhaps Pieter Caesar Alberti was justified to think early New Amsterdam should have at least one or two canals like his native Venice. After all, hadn’t the Dutch considered the advantages of commerce in his native city when they laid out the ‘grachtengordel’ of Old Amsterdam? Or how wide moat-like canals could serve as protection against enemy attacks? Certainly the original planners of New Amsterdam envisioned that, he had heard more than once. So it was with a mixture of hope and foresight that he built his first house off the two main ditches of lower Manhattan called ‘Breedegraft’ and ‘Beavergraft.’ Alas it was not to be that this indeed happened only after he had sold his house and lot after moving to the Wallabout on Long Island. Read in my chapter ‘Catalyn Tricault’ about the pleasant situation for the Governors of early New York who lived on Alberti’s former property off these tide-water ditches the English turned into working canals crossed with stone bridges.
Click here to read about the traditional prize-fighting off the bridges spanning the canals of Venice. And stay tuned for my upcoming book ‘Pugni di Ponte,’ my second book of the trilogy ‘Este/Oeste.’ Discover the fighting culture of Venice as Piero Alberti represents the ‘army’ of his Castellani (sailors) against the ‘army’ of the Nicoletti (fishermen). Through the eyes of one of the fighters, see the very beginnings of the Italian ‘Mafia.’ Listen to the encouragement of the respected ‘reverendissimi’ and ‘generalissimi’ who both organized and directed this intermittent staged ‘warfare’ and kept the peace as the unofficial police force of Venice.