Tag Archives: manhattan

New York was Purchased for $24


The island of Manhattan was purchased from the Native Americans who inhabited the land for twenty-four dollars worth of goods. When the Dutch came across the Atlantic and into the Americas, land was so cheap they were able to purchase the land in exchange for some goods. 


The informant grew up in the city of Manhattan and remembers talking about this myth inside of their elementary school classroom. They talk of how everyone who tells this story chopped the low price to inflation. The informant believed that twenty-four dollars was a lot back then. He believed that the craziest part of the story is how crazy inflation is rather than the abuse of power that took place. I then pulled out an inflation calculator, and $24 dollars when the Dutch first landed in New York is worth about $2,000 now. Pennies in comparison to the vast amounts of wealth the Dutch had at the time. The informant now views this myth in a different light. Before, they saw the story had a connotation of “wow, the dollar used to go so far”. Now they see the story as exposing how “Native Americans were totally robbed”. 


This myth is really interesting given how time can really affect the impact it will have on people who hear it. Because the informant heard this story as a child, it carried with it a sense of innocence. As he has gotten older and Americans have begun to recognize the brutality of colonization, the story very quickly changes tone. What was once a fun little tidbit about the city is now a scar that has been passed down generations. This is a story that could be about the abuse of power on the colonizers part, native Americans being gullible and stupid, or that both parties had the best intentions in mind and everyone was happy after the exchange. The implications of this founding myth can vary widely from person to person. This is also a wonderful example of how the lines between myth and legend are often blurred. Although this is a founding story for the island of Manhattan, it is likely untrue.

Lucky Items in Investment Banking


Daniel is a first year analyst at a prominent Manhattan based investment bank. He grew up in Northern California from a predominantly irish background


“So whenever a huge deal goes through, the company that is acquiring another will give a little gift to everyone on the group that helped. Like we helped MLB buy this streaming service and they gave MLB baseball bats to the 10 guys who worked on that deal. And it’s considered lucky to hold onto a gift from a past deal when you’re on the phone with someone from a new deal. So if you look around the office people are always fiddling with little trinkets and shit that they got for completing deals as like a good luck charm.”


Collector’s thoughts:

I find the dichotomy between the the extremely analytic, numbers based aspect of being a banker with the dependence on items of luck to be very interesting. The trinkets seem to remain not merely as good luck charms, but also as visible trophies of past success signaling one’s competence to those around them. In such a quantitative profession, the presence of lucky items suggests that often times the quantitative isn’t enough, even for professionals