I've always found it amusing and improbable that this great City was founded by the Dutch. The English Empire is easy enough a one-time reality to grasp for anyone who grew up in the 20th century; it held on until just after World War II. But the Dutch? That puny, waterlogged country was once a world power? How the fuck did they pull that off, with their canals and wooden shoes and neck ruffs?
Proof that the mighty Netherlands was not a joke back in the 1600s can be found in Flatbush, in the graveyard surrounding the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church. The church is 211 years old, and it is actually the third house of worship to be built on this spot. The first was erected in 1654 by mandate of Peter-freaking-Stuyvesant.
Many of the headstones are so old that their chiseled messages are in Dutch. No English, my Yankee friend, but Dutch, the bygone mother tongue. The one below begins "Here Lies Buried..."