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Manhattan, New York (U.S.)

New York County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: manhattan | new york | new york county |
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[Flag of Manhattan, New York] image by Dave Martucci, 18 July 2010

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Description of the flag

It appears the Borough now has a flag instead of using the Borough President's flag. The date at the bottom is probably November 10, 1674, the date on which new York City was created by Royal Charter, Manhattan being the only part of New York City until 1898. I think the color of the seal is very dark blue.
Dave Martucci, 18 July 2010

A very clear close-up at Flickr reveals that the Manhattan borough flag has 2 stars, and the ring seems dark blue to me. The seal also seems dark blue, but very thin lines; so thin that it may explain why the stars seem to be missing in some photos. See and
Ned Smith, 19 July 2010

You see city flags with both [colored in and empty] varieties all the time. Also, by law, the legend "Sigillum..." shouldn't be on the version of the seal on the flag, but often is. In fact, I think the colored in version often doesn't have it, and the white version does. So maybe it's the same for Manhattan - the version of the seal on the flag shouldn't have a date, etc., but sometimes does? I do know the City Charter is not really followed here (e.g. no Council flag so far as I know), and there are lots of varieties (Bronx too - do the stripes appear behind the seal etc.).
Nachum Lamm, 19 July 2010

I've received the following reply from Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian. He himself was not aware of a separate borough flag, and believed the Borough President's flag was used instead. He will look into the question and get back to us. In the meantime, he has explained why the year 1625 was replaced by the 2 stars in the Manhattan seal:

The Manhattan Borough flag I am familiar with is the one shown in your linked [below - the "President flag"]. If I recall correctly, the two stars in the Manhattan flag that replace the date found in the city flag represent the two votes the Manhattan Borough President had on the old Board of Estimate.) If that flag is wrong or has been replaced, I don't know about it. I am going to forward your note to some colleagues at the Borough President's Office and the New York County Clerk's Office. Perhaps they can shed some light on the question.
Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian

Ned Smith, 19 July 2010

President of the Borough of Manhattan flag (former city flag)

[Flag of Manhatten, New York] image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

The Borough of Manhattan did not [in 2002] have an official Borough flag. However, by order of the Borough President, a variant of the City flag, with the seal of the Borough President in place of the City Seal was used for "ceremonial" occasions. This seal, besides being circular, bears the inscription "President of the Borough of Manhattan N.Y.C." around the perimeter instead of the wreath on the City Seal and replaces the date with two stars and omits the Latin inscription found on the City Seal. The shield is also a different shape but all the other elements of the NYC Seal are the same.
Dave Martucci, 30 November 2002

The orange, white and blue stripes recall New York City's Dutch heritage (orange, blue and white). The seal's symbolism is as follows: The sailor represents the Dutch and the Brave the Lenni Lenape who originally lived here. The English are represented by the fishing plum on the left side of the scroll. The windmill, beavers and barrels represent New York's raison d'être, trade and commerce. The crest bears an eagle over the northern hemisphere. This represents sovereignty and independence. It replaced the royal crown in 1783. New York County (also known as Manhattan) was organised on 1 November 1683 along with 11 other counties when the Royal Colony of New York was created by King Charles II.
Daniel S. Padovano, 20 November 2002

The sailor is English, I think, and also has a star sighting device behind him, coming from the scroll with the legend. (As there's no scroll on the Manhattan Borough flag, this doesn't appear). The Dutch are symbolized with the windmill. The crown was also on the arms of the colony as a whole, now (on the state flag) it lies upside down under the foot of "Liberty." The eagle, on the Western Hemisphere, replaces it there too.
Nathan Lamm, 21 November 2002