"The large oysters are proper for roasting and stewing. Each of these will fill a spoon, and make a good bite. I have seen many in the shell a foot long."
-- Adriaen van der Donck in A Description of New Netherland, 1655.
The Dutch arriving on the Hudson River found one of the great oyster beds of the world, by some estimates containing half the world's supply. The Indians had long enjoyed the delicacy, piling great mounds of oyster shells along the Manhattan waterfront. And so the lane running along the shore eventually became known as Pearl Street. Landfill has since extended the island, but originally the shore ran from a jut of land below the fort known as Schuyler's Hook up the East River along today's Pearl.Along Pearl is where Griet Reyniers, a prostitute known for measuring manliness with a broomstick, lifted her skirt at sailors shouting "Whore, whore!," slapped her rump and shouted back, Blaes my daer achterin!" - no translation needed.The gallows stood on Pearl, and in 1641, a crowd gathered for the hanging of Manuel the Giant, one of eight Africans present when a ninth was murdered. While the court could not determine which of the Africans wielded the murder weapon, no such crime could go unpunished. Manuel had the bad luck to draw the odd lot determining who would be hung, but his luck changed on the gallows. The two ropes looped around his neck broke, the crowd pleaded for mercy and Manuel went free.