Streams

February 09, 2012 11:08:38 PM
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PAUL ASCHER

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QUEENS

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Peter Stuyvesant's peg leg

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Who better symbolizes New York's Dutch heritage - which is surely an essential part of the City's story - than Peter Stuyvesant, with his ominous peg leg, said to have been used by him to clobber troublesome drunkards in a Wild-West Neuwe Amsterdam he was determined to tame? (Come to think of it, how could he have used that wooden leg as a blodgeon and stay upright?) The peg leg, evocative of those outlaw pirates and battle-wounded military officers of yore, aptly symbolizes Stuyvesant's time, which, as we learned in the elementary school version, also becomes part of a tidy historical narrative in which an autocratic tyranny will inevitably give way to democracy.

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