Good day my favorite readers, it’s THE RIDE, here to take it back. Today we are going back to the beginning, where it all began. Giovanni da Verrazano is most well known for the bridge that is named after him, which connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. Also the “da” in his name became widely used as an informal way to say “the” in the 1990’s. But even before that, he was known as the first European explorer after the Norse expeditions to explore the Atlantic coast. His voyage in 1524 lead to discovering the beautiful New York Harbor.
Back then, there was no Times Square, no RIDE, and no Broadway. There were just a few Lenape Native Americans waving from the shoreline. Giovanni da Verrazano also discovered a “lake” in the ocean which turned out to be the entrance to the Hudson River. He continued to sail north, passing Long Island and eventually Narragansett. While Ralph Lauren did not exist as a person or a company back then, Giovanni did spot a few Natives with popped collars on the Long Island shore fiddling with their blackberries.
Giovanni da Verrazano’s death was rather abrupt and sad. After encountering the wonderful people who initially inhabited the shores of what would eventually become New York and Rhode Island, his next voyage took him to the Caribbean. He anchored out at sea and rowed to the shoreline of what is probably known as the island of Guadeloupe today. The natives barbequed and ate him upon his arrival.
Well, Giovanni da Verrazano certainly left his mark on New York City, but I really just love to imagine what he must have seen from deck of his ship as he sailed past what would eventually become an immense hub of trade, travel, and immigration. Could he hear the birds chirping or leaves shimmying in the wind? Did he imagine a bustling city with lights or was the solitude of the forest the only thing on his mind? Here I am getting all deep on you, man. The least we could have done for the guy is spell his name correctly on the bridge! When you experience the city through my windows on your RIDE, take a second to imagine what this place looked like before it all began, way back when.