Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Q 7 Which venues of social interactions in the Hudson Valley arose out of the Dutch practice of making elevated buildings as protection from North Sea?

Answer: The urban stoop - a small staircase that leads to a small porch outside an apartment housing from the street. The stoop has been thought to play a large role in social interaction between neighbors, as well as in crime watch by locals.

Background trivia : The word stoop originates from the Dutch word "stoep" - which means pavement. The word "stoep" as stoop can be found in British literature, as in :

1926: To my surprise there was a house close beside me, a fairly large house with a broad stoep and many windows. — Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier’

Additional Trivia: Specific words have been derived from the word "stoop" in American English. These include "stoop ball" - a street sport mimicking baseball without the role of a batter. Another such word is the derogatory "stoopid" - used to refer to people who sit and while away time on stoops. (Interestingly, in Kolkata, people who frequent stairs or porches facing the street - which are known as "rock"s or "rowack"s - are referred to as "rockbaaj" - also in derogatory usage)

References :

The wikipedia article on stoops

Mario Maffi, New York City: An Outsider's Inside View

The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs

Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier’

BOY KILLED BY AUTOMOBILE.; Walter Purdy Was Bouncing "Stoop" Ball and Backed in Front of the Car. May 12, 1909, Wednesday. New York Times.


Anonymous Serenity said...

Good post.

7:08 PM  

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