Wallabout Bay is small body of water in Upper New York
Bay along the northwest shore of the New York City
borough of Brooklyn
, between the present Williamsburg and Manhattan
bridges, opposite Corlear's Hook on Manhattan to the west, across the East River
. Wallabout Bay now abuts the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The Wallabout became the first spot on Long Island
settled by Europeans when several families of French-speaking Walloons opted to Purchase
land there in the early 1630s. Settlement of the area began in the mid-1630s when Joris Jansen Rapelje exchanged trade goods with the Canarsee Indians for some 335 acres (1.36 km sq) of land at Wallabout Bay, but Rapelje, like other early Wallabout settlers, waited at least a decade before relocating fulltime to the area, until conflicts with the tribes had been resolved.
Most historical accounts put Rapelje's house as the first house built at Wallabout Bay. His daughter Sarah was the first child born of European parentage in New Netherland, and Rapelje later served as a Brooklyn magistrate as well as a member of the Council of Twelve Men. Rapelje's son-in-law Hans Hansen Bergen owned a large tract adjoining Rapelje's. Nearby were tobacco plantations belonging to Jan and Peter Montfort, Peter Caesar Alberto, and other farmers.
Starting in 1637, the Wallabout served as the landing site of the first ferry across the East River from Lower Manhattan
. Cornelis Dircksen, the lone ferryman, farmed plots on both sides -near to where the Brooklyn Bridge
now spans -to best employ his time on either bank of the river.