July 9, 1832
9 July: Very early in the morning we came on deck. The sky was dreary and cloudy, the water somewhat rough. Ships were sailing close to us. To the left one no longer saw the sea but, instead, the coast of Long Island, on the whole not very high but with individual, higher capes. Here sand and woods alternate. We sailed closer to Long Island where, in places, we noticed much dark forest. A lighthouse in a picturesque location. Farther on, very beautiful dark coniferous forests and steep sandy banks appeared. Several wide, picturesque, and quite varied bays extend into wooded Long Island. At seven o’clock we had breakfast at the common table. Afterward we found the channel already narrower, but at every step the charm of its landscapes increased; its diversity is truly very great and splendid. A narrow place is called Hellgate. It has several small rocky islets on which the thickets consist mostly of so-called staghorn sumac (Rhus typhinum). We rounded a cape to the right. Splendid bushes, tall tree clusters, all of them a most vivid green, full of the most beautiful trees. Very many poplars, weeping willows, tulip trees, Platanus, and a thousand other plants shelter in their shade the most manifold, splendid, and elegant country homes. Inviting green lawns in front of them and under the trees; in short, a harbor entrance so splendid that no other one ever seemed more beautiful to me.
At the end of the waterway called East River, not very wide here, one already catches sight of a section of the considerable mass of houses in the city of New York. To the left the tip of Long Island appears, also the navy yard, and thus we approach closer and closer to this big, imposing city. ⟨[We]⟩ catch a glimpse of its large, extensive mass of houses, with an endless multitude of ships, which form a forest of masts for a great distance along the shore such as I have never seen before. The steamship Boston docked at a place where a throng of people had gathered despite the heavy rain. Many porters and black day laborers offered to take care of the baggage. Hackney coachmen offered their carriages. I took one of them, and we drove to the American Hotel, which is situated on a pretty green square in the city, at the end of which is located the impressive city hall. I took lodging at this hotel.
New York is a very large, imposing commercial city like the largest cities of Europe. It has 220,000 inhabitants, including ⟨[——]⟩ Germans and very many foreigners, generally. The streets of the city are for the most part sightly, broad, and long, of which the finest, Broadway, is several miles long and very impressive. The houses are made of brick, very elegant, tall, decorated in English fashion, and furnished with all kinds of inscriptions, signs, and labels, usually in very bright colors, [Page 1:34] with thousands of notes and announcements pasted on them. There are row after row of shops, all of them decorated in the most elegant manner and furnished with displays. The shops of the pharmacists, druggists or apothecaries, especially, all have large, colorful glass containers with blue, red, yellow, orange, and green colored liquids, which present a pretty sight in the evening when they are illuminated. In the evening gas lighting is seen in all the shops. Here one finds all the luxury and fashionable goods from Europe and the entire world. But copper engraving shops are very poor and deficient; people here do not seem to have much appreciation for this field.
Many streets are lined with trees: Platanus and the like, as well as elms. One notices many beautiful green squares in the city, including the so-called park in front of the American Hotel, where we stayed. It is enclosed by iron railings; ⟨[there is]⟩ a lawn of triangular shape with pathways; and at the head of it is the impressive city hall, an important building. There are several parks like this one. Other sections of the city have narrow, sometimes crooked streets, and there are some like these, particularly in the vicinity of the harbor, where certain trades or branches of commerce are exclusively housed. New York has many very stately buildings and a large number of churches. There is freedom for all religions; accordingly, there are also a synagogue here and a German church, which, however, is said to have a poor preacher at present. For information on all these matters, see the description of this city.