Departing British troops nailed their flag to a pole downtown and greased it. Every November, a descendant would re-enact the legendary feat of John Van Arsdale, a sailor, who donned cleats and shimmied up the flagpole to replace the British colors with the Stars and Stripes. As George Washington triumphantly proceeded Downtown, jeering Americans on Staten Island were fired upon by a British ship in what has been described as the last shot fired in the war.All that nonsense happened on this day in 1783, and New York used to celebrate with parades. The Irish were really into it. The celebrations leveled off when World War I came along, and we had to like the British again, but you can still head down to Battery Park today and see some nerds dressed in funny costumes reenacting the goofiest end to the goofiest insurrection in history. Some goofily dressed nerds won't be participating, of course:
On Monday, a spokeswoman for the British consul-general in New York said he had no plans to commemorate Evacuation Day.Sore losers!