Category Archives: Travels

Faces of New York, ©2013 Walter Judy Photography

Faces of Old Amsterdam, Weeks 13-14

Faces of New York, ©2013 Walter Judy Photography

Welkom! En bedankt voor het langskomen. Je zult dingen te vinden erg gezellig deze week!

It seems an appropriate greeting in the first (European) tongue of my fine metropolis for this second multi-week post here on The Faces of New York, more properly this time The Faces of Old Amsterdam. I made a little departure from the standard format this week to accommodate the fact that I’ve been on the road most of the past two weeks and have spent more time off Manhattan Island than on. To celebrate this short liberation (I still love you, o’ bustling city) I grabbed my camera gear and jumped at the chance to show some similarities between my fine home and her original namesake, Amsterdam. A serendipitous work trip provided the means and my friend, fellow board gamer and filmmaker Susie Oosting provided the sneakers-on-the-ground guidance around that fair city. She was as surprised as I originally was to see the faces in the architecture that, once you know to look for them, are seemingly ever-present around Amsterdam and New Amsterdam/New York.

Faces of New York, ©2013 Walter Judy Photography
2-3″ bust of a queen flanked by dolphins

The similarities in architecture between Old Amsterdam and New- are pretty striking… sometimes. New York is, of course, a city that likes to rewrite its history every few minutes, with this revisionism echoed in our disappearing classically designed structures. Sure, the Brooklyn Bridge et al will probably survive the demolition man’s shaped-charges or wrecking ball, but I feel that a lot of the old will eventually make way for the new; likely without a record or nod toward the past. Old Amsterdam doesn’t seem to have this problem, with many structures dating back to the 1600’s or earlier still standing, still habitable, and just as expensive, cramped and narrow as ever. Like I said, the similarities between our two cities are striking.

Quick bit of trivia: Ever wonder why the buildings in Amsterdam are so narrow? It dates back to an ancient tax based on the width of the front of the building. As a result, folks built narrow, tall and skinny. The narrowest house in the world is here, and is supposedly only 1 meter (roughly 40 inches) wide. And I thought my 3 meter-wide apartment was small!

I hope you enjoy this week’s installment. There are some travel-log photos mixed in for spice, to make things more, as the Dutch would say, gezellig.