Walking Tours NYC : Discovery Of Manhattan – The first individual known to sail into New York Harbor and set foot on these lands was Giovanni DA Verrazano in 1524. He landed near an area off of Staten Island, where a bridge bearing his name now stands, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. In his journals, he described his encounters with the Lenape Indians who resided there. “The people are almost like unto the others, and clad with feathers of fowls of diverse colors. They came towards us very cheerfully, making great shouts of admiration, showing us where we might come to land most safely with our boat.”
Unfortunately for Verrazano, a secondary tribe, he met in 1528 whilst exploring an area near the Bahamas was not so friendly. After landing his ship and going ashore to greet the apparently friendly tribesmen here he promptly discovered they were in fact cannibals who murdered and ate him.
Now, while Verrazano may have been the first to sail New York Harbor, a Dutch explorer named Henry Hudson is generally more recognized for his explorations. This may be due to the fact that subsequent to Hudson’s voyages the Dutch actually began to establish settlements within this area. Hudson’s journey into the harbor actually occurred on September 11 on 1609.