York Almanac ->
York City in JANUARY
Crazed with avarice, lust and rum, New
thy name's delirium. - Byron Newton
Happy New Year!
This Month: ....Average monthly temperature
for January in NYC: 32°.... This month, check out the
York National Boat Show at the Jacob Javits Center....and
Winter Antiques Show opening at the Seventh Regiment
January 1 - New Years Day
....In 1673, the first regular mail service in the U.S.
is inaugurated between New York and Boston....in 1892, Ellis
Island opens....also on this day, Manhattan and The
Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens join to form the
City of New York in 1898....David Dinkins is sworn in as
New York City's first black mayor, January 1, 1990....
.....New York surpasses its old rival, Philadelphia, as
the nation's largest city today in 1820 with a whopping
population of 123,706...this day in 1965, Joe Namath signs
with the New York Jets. Four years later, the team goes
on to become the first AFL team to win the Super Bowl this
day in 1969.
....The Daily Advertiser prints a public notice addressed
to Battery Park area residents this day in 1786....Those
persons who have Goats that keep about the fort garden,
are desired to take notice that unless they are taken care
of, and prevented from destroying the fruit trees, disagreeable
consequences will attend them. ... and have a nice day.
a loose caboose.
....on this day in 1863, four-wheeled roller skates are
patented by James
Plimpton. It's called a "rocking" skate -
the first one that really lets people skate curves and turns.
Plimpton soon opens a skating club in New York where gentlemen
and ladies enjoy hours of 'rocking and rolling'.
....in 1877 a messy scandal hits the papers today following
the death of New York railroad tycoon Cornelius
Vanderbilt, who has bequeathed the bulk of his $100,000,000
estate to his eldest son, William. Three other siblings,
claiming their father was insane, contest the will. At the
trial, Vanderbilt is revealed to have had "supernatural"
visions and kept salt under his bed to scare away evil spirits.
The old man's belief in the occult does not conclusively
prove insanity, however, and William goes on to win the
two-year court fight.
...strap hangers are raving mad this day in 1970 as subway
and bus fares jump another dime, from 20 to 30 cents....
....The year: 1863. The place: Cooper Institute. The city's
black population turns out for a jubilee celebrating the
Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln two
days ago....horse drawn trolleys begin their cross-town
run on 34th street in 1895....and in 1920, the Yankees purchase
Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. Ruth already holds several
World Series pitching records; however, the Yankees want
him to play the outfield....
....Two dead, 172 injured in a subway accident on the IRT
this day in 1915... New Yorker and United States president,
Roosevelt dies in Oyster Bay, Long Island this day in
1919 at age 60. He is the first president to ride in an
airplane, drive a car, and ride in a submarine. He also
inspires the Teddy bear....
....This day in 1924, composer George
Gershwin, age 26, completes the piano score for Rhapsody
in Blue.... the first transatlantic telephone service from
New York to London (cost: $75 for 5 minutes) begins today
in 1927.....and this night in 1955 the staid old Metropolitan
Opera House makes room for its first black singer, contralto
Anderson, who plays the fortune teller Ulrica in Verdi's
Un Ballo un Maschera (The Masked Ball)....the
Blizzard of '96 drops 20 inches of snow on the region
followed by another foot of the white stuff on February
....The New York Fishing Company is the first corporation
in America, chartered in 1675....crooked and crafty Mayor
Fernando Wood calls for the city to secede from the
United States this day in 1861 in pre-Civil War New York.
When dissension has become a fixed and certain fact,
why may not New York disrupt the bonds which bind her to
a corrupt and venal master? says Wood, who promises
a free and independent Tri-Insula, his name for the new
nation. Nothing much comes of the plan
for NYC to secede from the Union which is viewed as
simply an election year ruse to keep voters close to home
and away from the Civil War....
a Bowery flophouse, he falls
in a drunken stupor and cuts his
throat on a porcelain wash basin.
Songwrite Stephen Foster's last
composition is Beautiful Dreamer.
....His popularity having crested and ebbed, defrauded of
most of his royalties, living on turnips, apples and copious
amounts of cheap whiskey, songwriter Stephen
Foster is ailing and alone in New York City this day
1864. Arriving in his rented room in a Bowery flophouse,
he falls down in a drunken stupor and cuts his throat on
a porcelain washbowl. He is later found lying in a pool
of blood and rushed to Bellevue Hospital where an intern
sews up the horrible gash with ordinary cotton thread.
The composer of Oh, Susanna!, I Dream of Jeannie with
the Light Brown Hair, My Old Kentucky Home and other
popular favorites dies four days later with 38 cents in
his pocket, having penned two weeks earlier his last popular
hit, Beautiful Dreamer....
& Taylor department store opens its doors today
in 1826....and the reviews are in for Oscar
Wilde's first U.S. speaking engagement at New York's
Chickering Hall this day in 1882....long black hair hanging
to his shoulders, brown eyes, a huge white face like a pale
moon...white waistcoat, black coat and knee breeches, black
silk stockings and shoes with buckles. Until he speaks,
you think him as uncanny as a vampire....
....This day in 1675 a Notice to Citizens establishes the
ground rules for civilized New York behavior: The Night
Watch begins patrolling at eight, the city's gates to be
locked promptly at nine. In the event of an attack, every
citizen will have "musket powder and ball" in
constant readiness. Those who keep public houses shall "sell
bere as well as wyne and other liquors" and "keep
lodging for strangers." Cursing and swearing is, of
course, strictly prohibited.
....and up until now it has been ladled out from milk cans,
but bottled milk is available in America for the first time
this day in 1878 thanks to enterprising milkman Alexander
Campbell of New York City....
A grave diggers' strike begins this day in 1970 against
the city's 44 cemeteries. There's a backlog of 15,000 unburied
bodies before the strike finally ends three months later....
Alger grows up to write
Ragged Dick, or Street Life in New York.
Alger, Jr. is born today in 1832 in Revere, Massachusetts
and moves to the big city to write the quintessential New
York rags-to-riches story. He authors a body of work that
is lampooned by Mark Twain and others as "a monument
to bad taste".
Alger's opus includes the wildly popular Luck and Pluck,
Tattered Tom, and Ragged Dick, or Street Life in New York
A snippet from Ragged Dick: the snob says to the hero "I
think I've seen you before." "Oh have you?"
says Dick, "Then p'r'haps you'd like to see me behind"...
....today in 1877 the Times critic finds Mark Twain's The
Adventures of Tom Sawyer to be "unnecessarily sinister"
and not fit reading for children.
Caruso gets top billing tonight in 1910 in the first
public radio broadcast in New York City history, starring
singers from the Metropolitan Opera....
....In 1747, the city's first commendations for bravery
to firemen are awarded this day to Duncan Brown and James
Evetts "for their activity and exertions" in extinguishing
a fire that erupts at City Hall. The duo also receive an
extra £4 a piece for their efforts.
....in 1871, Thomas
Nast begins lampooning a very corrupt Tammany Hall when
his "nasty" cartoons first appearing in Harper's
Weekly exposing the infamous Tweed Ring
....also uncovered this day in 1940 is an incredible plot
that calls for the seizing of all of New York's federal
gold deposits, the overthrow of the New York City police
department, and a massacre of the city's entire Jewish population.
The FBI breaks up the New York based pro-facist "Christian
Front" and arrests 18 Nazi sympathizers...
....A certain Samuel Francis acquires the property bordering
Broad and Pearl Streets today in 1762, later known as Fraunces
Tavern....The Minute Book of Eagle Engine Company No.
13 at Maiden Lane is updated this day in 1807: Harris
Sage's excuse is received. He says at time of the fire he
was locked in someone's arms and could not hear the alarm....
....1938. Jazz band leader Benny
Goodman plays Carnegie Hall and finally gives Swing
music respectability. When asked how long an intermission
he wants, Goodman replies, I don't know...how much does
Toscanini get?....Hello Dolly, starring Carol Channing,
opens tonight in 1965 with one critic hailing it "a
possible hit." The musical goes on to play for 2,844
....Miss Ettie Morgan, of the Berger Family's Ladies Orchestra,
introduces at the Olympic Theatre in 1876 the musical strains
of the saxophone....
....Born today in 1899, Al
"Scarface" Capone grows up to become one of
Brooklyn's most infamous sons - who later claims that the
scars on his face are the result of his heroic service with
the "Lost Battalion" in France. Actually, they
are the result of fight with a knife-wielding Frank Gallucio
who slashes Capone for talking dirty to his sister....
1896. The first x-ray machine in the U.S. is exhibited
in New York City. Admission: 25 cents....plans are announced
the World Trade Center in New York this day in 1964....
....The Boston Massacre notwithstanding, the very first
bloodshed of the Revolutionary War occurs this day in 1770
near the fish market at Golden Hill, so named for it's carpet
of yellow wildflowers (now downtown Gold Street). Local
citizenry converge on the spot after a Liberty Pole is blown
up by British Redcoats, driven back to their barracks by
an enraged mob. After the dust settles, several New Yorkers
are injured and one dies from a bayonet wound in one of
the first struggles for American liberty.
The Battle of Golden Hill happens weeks before the Boston
Massacre and several months prior to the Battle of Bunker
....On this day in 1884 the
first American roller coaster is patented by LaMarcus
Thompson and built (where else?) in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
It's 5 cents a ride, and by June the inventor is grossing
$600 a week from his Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway....
....This day in 1908 woman are banned from smoking in public
by city ordinance. (The measure is quickly vetoed by the
mayor)....The New York Daily News commences a war time campaign
to save paper this day in 1943 and reduces its 1,850,000
daily and 3,900,000 Sunday circulation by urging readers
"Don't Buy A News, Borrow One"....Alger Hiss is
convicted for perjury by a New York federal jury, 1950....in
1971, the first U.S Representative of Puerto Rican descent
is Herman Badillo of New York....
The Mad Bomber,
finally behind bars.
Bomber" George P. Metesky, accused of planting
more than 30 explosive devices in the New York City area,
is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut this day in 1957.
Says Mr. Metesky, One thing I can't understand is why
the newspapers labeled me the Mad Bomber. That was unkind.
He's declared a homicidal maniac and committed to Matteawan
Hospital for the Criminally Insane....
....An all-time record low temperature of -16° is recorded
this day in 1780. The harbor freezes solid for five weeks.
Later, the East River freezes over during the harsh winter
of 1867 - allowing some 5,000 New Yorkers to travel between
Manhattan and Brooklyn on foot. The ease with which New
Yorkers and Brooklynites travel back and forth leads to
demands for a bridge spanning the river, later known as
the Brooklyn Bridge.
...New Yorker Humphrey
Bogart ("The trouble with the world is that everybody's
a few drinks behind") is born today in 1899....also
on this day, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats
Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis
and Elvis Presley are honored as the first inductees at
the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony held in New
York this day in 1986....
....On this day in 1794 the minute keeper of the Common
Council writes that Great
George Street was ordered to take the name Broadway in its
whole extent, and the continuous streets called Little Dock
Street, Pearl Street, Hanover Square and Queen Street were
ordered to be called Pearl Street.... And days later....King
Street was named Pine, Little Queen Street called Cedar,
Crown Street called Liberty...Prince Street called Rose,
and Beaver and Princess Street called Beaver. The main objective:
to rid the new nation of any reference to former British
royalty, while driving New Yorkers up blind alleys and slowly
out of their minds....
stars are born
and legends are made."
Apollo Amateur Night is
introduced five years later.
....1821. The Hudson River is frozen solid during the coldest
winter in 41 years. Thousands of people crossed the ice
from New York City to New Jersey, and refreshment taverns
are set up in the middle of the river to warm pedestrians.
....in 1890, reporter Nellie
Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) of the New York World receives
a tumultuous welcome home after she completes a round-the-world
journey in 72 days, six hours and 11 minutes.
....In his journal this day in 1939, Columbia University
R. Dunning writes, Believed we have observed a new
phenomenon of far reaching consequences. Dunning and
his assistants have managed to split the atom in their laboratory
on West 120th Street....
....It's show time at the Apollo
this night in 1930 as the famous venue for great black entertainers
opens as a 'Negro vaudeville theatre'....
Price makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House
tonight in 1961. She sings the role of Leonora in "Il
Trovatore". Price is only the seventh black singer
to make a debut at the Met. Marian Anderson is the first
....For the first time on any New York stage: Romeo and
Juliet opens this night in 1754 at the New Theatre on Nassau
Street, ditto The Merchant of Venice which makes its New
York debut at the John Street Theatre, 1768....
...Nothing further then he uttered -
not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends
have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven appears in the New York
Evening Mirror, 1845.
The 1,200 ton iron-clad ship Monitor
is launched from Greenpoint, Brooklyn this day in 1862.
The hope of the Union Navy later founders in a storm and
sinks off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
...this afternoon in 1979 an earthquake measuring 3 on
the Richter scale rocks parts of Brooklyn, Staten Island
...more than a million New Yorkers line the parade route
for 22 returned American hostages from Iran who are showered
with ticker tape on lower Broadway today in 1991
...today in in 1995, the
trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rachman and eleven of his
followers gets under way in New York City's Federal Court.
The group of Muslim extremists stands accused of plotting
a reign of terror around New York City along with the successful
bombing of the World Trade Center garage in lower Manhattan....
crew aboard the ironclad USS Monitor, the summer
it was launched in the East River at Greenpoint,
....New Yorkers are lapping up the gory details of a particularly
brutal murder this day in 1857 after a prominent dentist,
Harvey Burdell, is found strangled and repeatedly stabbed
in a boarding house on Bond Street. No suspects.
... also on this day in 1894, the Lexow
Committee begins uncovering evidence that the police
are on every payroll in town. Evidence uncovers shake downs
of everyone from green grocers to house madams, netting
the department $7,000,000 annually. Wholesale convictions