White Man Outsmarts Indian Monument
New York, New York
The monument is carved into the stone base of a flagpole. Its gilded inscription reads that it was a gift from the Dutch people to the city of New York in 1926, and marks the 300th anniversary of "the purchase of the Island of Manhattan."
Carved into the stone are life-size figures that reenact the legendary transaction. A shrewd Dutchman, wearing knee breeches and a big ruffed collar, hands over some beads and trinkets to an Indian. As with many older monuments in the Northeast, the Indian seems recklessly under-dressed. Both men wear expressions of smug satisfaction. Does the Indian know something that the White Man doesn't?
"Hope you enjoy this island with its limited real estate and impossible road access, Dutchy!"
Unlike the Wall Street Bull just up the street, this monument to deal-making is not rubbed for luck by today's brokers and financial czars -- another sign that its transaction may be viewed as a bad bargain.