The New Republic
After a series of battles around New York, their last stronghold, the English finally gave up in 1783, recognizing the independence of the American colonies. Washington returned triumphantly to New York and bade farewell to his troops at Fraunces Tavern (see p. 42). He came back again on another auspiciouskpccasion: to take the oath of office as the first president of the new United States on the balcony of Federal Hall. At that time, New York was the national capital.
In the early 19th century, New York was much richer culturally than any other American city. The political capital had moved to Philadelphia in 1790 but New York developed as the country’s shipping and commercial centre. In 1800, the population was 60,000 twice what it had been ten years earlier. Already the city had problems that persist today: housing shortages, too few policemen and firemen, not enough water and inadequate public transportation facilities. Epidemics were frequent, sometimes forcing people to escape to Greenwich Village for the summer.
In 1811 the legislature decided that further growth of New York must be regulated. A special commission submitted a revolutionary plan: all new streets should henceforth cross each other at right angles with avenues running north-south and streets east-west. The plan was immediately adopted, heralding the birth of Manhattan as we know it today.
Follow the signed path through a gate, bearing left to New York Map Tourist Attractions climb briefly to reach a T-junction with a wider track. Turn right onto the track New York Map Tourist Attractions – you are now on the South Downs Way for a brief period – and follow it to a T-junction with a road. Turn left onto the road. You are left with a walk of about a mile back into Steyning, passing through the little village of Annington. To begin with there is a fairly rural feel to this road walk, but as you climb and pass the junction with Maudlin Lane that leads off to your right, the road takes on a distinctly suburban feel and you long to be back in Steyning. In due course you reach a T-junction – an old signpost proclaims the road you are about to reach to be the A283, whereas the A283 now bypasses the town – and you turn left at the T-junction to proceed into the town centre.