The author of Sam Ellis's Island returns to New York to relate the seldom-told story of the first 16 months of Washington's administration, when the city was the nation's first capital. Siegel combines biographical data with the social and economic history of post-revolutionary New York to draw a picture of both people and place. The Washingtons' reaction to the urban environment--with their southern-plantation background--is especially interesting. A quick sketch of the problems faced during these first months includes a description of how the plan for paying off the national debt incurred by the war led to the eventual relocation of the capital to Washington. Siegel concludes with a look at what has become of the places mentioned (most have vanished), rounding out a satisfactory portrait of a city and era that held challenges still faced today. List of sources and books for further reading; no index.