Jack Stanley, a tour guide and historian who works with Uncle Sams, writes a great piece on the Bowling Green issue.
Who was it read for? George Washington's troops that were located where New York's City Hall is now located. It has always been my belief that George Washington's troops were celebrating the release of the document. I would not be surprised if they had been drinking.
They came down full of revolutionary excitement to the Bowling Green Park. Tore off all the crowns on the fencing around the park. Then they came into the park and toppled the gilded lead statue of King George the 3rd.
The statue was chopped up and shipped to Connecticut. It was there that King George's statue was made into over 42,000 bullets. Therefore the King's lead would be fired at his own troops.
It was the beginnings of a revolution. But what is not usually known in our history of New York is that New York City during the entire American Revolution was occupied by the British. In fact the British flag flew over New York City as the battle for Independence was fought on many fronts.
Today we always talk of our independence taking place on July 4, 1776. That is the common day we have claimed as the date we wished to get it, but to be honest, independence was declared on July 2, 1776. The paperwork was signed on the 4th.
This of course did not mean we were independent at all. In fact the United States was not truly independent till November 25, 1783. That date was called "Evacuation Day". This was the day the British Flags went down over New York City and the American Flag went up for the first time in the city as well.
That in many ways is our true Independence Day. For that is the day we truly got it!
Today as you walk by Bowling Green Park, you can feel the history and see the original fence that surrounds the park, minus it crowns of course. That is where it all began in the American Revolution in New York City. Look around and feel the history, it is all around you.
For New York is also a city in which the history never sleeps as well.