NEW YORK -- Dutch royalty and U.S. luminaries last week kicked off a yearlong birthday party of sorts for the Big Apple.
Dubbed NY400Week, last week's commemorative activities marked Henry Hudson's arrival in New York Harbor 400 years ago this month and his exploration of the river that bears his name.
Hudson led a Dutch expedition, and so the site became a settlement called New Amsterdam.
During NY400Week's opening event at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Netherlands Crown Prince Willem-Alexander told an audience of about 350 people, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "the better you know the Big Apple, the more you love it."
The Netherlands government has invested about $9 million in the commemoration of its 400-year connection to New York, including funding much of the NY400Week calendar of events.
Its contributions also paid for the New Amsterdam Pavilion, which the crown prince and Netherlands Princess Maxima presented Sept. 9.
The partially completed pavilion stands in Peter Minuit Plaza in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. The pavilion and the redesigned space around it, to be renamed the New Amsterdam Plein (Plaza), are slated to open in the spring.
The week's events also leave the Big Apple with another fixture: an annual Harbor Day meant to celebrate the city's revitalized waterfront. NY400Week was set to conclude with the first Harbor Day on Sept. 13. It was produced by NYC & Company, the city's tourism marketing organization.
Other events include a Vermeer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through Nov. 29; the "New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World" exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum, through Jan. 3; and "Mapping New York's Shoreline, 1609-2009" at the New York Public Library, Sept. 25 to June 26.
Communities along the Hudson as far north as Albany have marked Hudson's visit, as well, with events throughout the year. In one event to come, the 1888 Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge will reopen as a pedestrian park 212 feet above the Hudson River.
For information about the remainder of the anniversary year events, see www.nycgo.com/ny400