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    New York Almanac -> MAY

    New York City in MAY

    New York street fair, University Place
    Ahh, spring : street fairs and green markets.

    This Month: ....Average monthly temperature in MAY : 62°

    ...the mother of all street fairs, the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival stretches through Hell's Kitchen from 37th to 57th Street featuring foods from every corner of the earth as well as local fare. Bring the kids....

    ...and if you even if you don't know much about art, you'll take a liking to the annual Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit held on Memorial Day weekend, featuring more than 200 local and international artists exhibiting their work around Washington Square Park...

    May 1

    ...after a one year and 45 days under construction, the Empire State Buildiing officially opens in 1931. It is the world's tallest building with 6,500 windows, 73 elevators and 1,860 steps to the top floor....

    MAY 2

    ...with his coordination and speed deteriorated in recent weeks, "Iron Horse" Lou Gehrig benches himself after playing 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees this day in 1939. He watches from the bullpen for several weeks, but never again returns to the game after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the deadly disease later named for him ...

    Two Gun Crowley
    MAY 7

    Two Gun Crowley in
    his hospital bed after
    his dramatic arrest.


    MAY 3

    ...in the little village of Fordham north of Manhattan, a Jesuit college (total enrollment: 6) opens today in 1841 to eventually become Fordham University ...

    MAY 4

    ...Peter Minuit arrives at Manhattan this day in 1626 to oversee the governing of New Amsterdam and famously buys the island from the Algonquin Indians for beads & trinkets worth about $24. (with real estate prices having since climbed somewhat) ...

    MAY 5

    ... this day in 1891 the Music Hall is a new building for the performing arts on West 57th Street. The hall is later renamed for industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and is now the place where everyone asks how to get to (hint: practice) ...

    MAY 6

    ...oh, the humanity. Flammable hydrogen ignites within the dirigible Hindenburg which immediately explodes in flames over Lakehurst, New Jersey this day in 1937 killing 36 passengers and crew ...

    MAY 7

    ..."Give up and come out with your hands up. We have the building surrounded!.." Cops try to coax cop killer and bank robber Francis "Two Gun" Crowley from his 90th Street hideout this day in 1930 when the 19-year-old suddenly straps two pistols to his waist and two to his legs, goes to the window and starts firing.

    Cops return fire with a thousand rounds of bullets blasting the apartment to shreds. When the smoke clears, Crowley is found alive with four gun shot wounds and months later faces the electric chair at Sing Sing . Final words? "Give my love to my ma..." Crowley's life later forms the basis for the film "White Heat" starring Jimmy Cagney...

    MAY 8

    ...New Amsterdam's first Italian settler is a crew member aboard the wrecked Dutch ship King David this day in 1635. Pietro Cesare Alberto swims ashore to meet and marry a local Dutch girl, later raising seven children on a farm in Brooklyn ...

    MAY 9

    ...the Hard Hat Riot breaks out on Wall Street this day in 1970 as hundreds of construction workers arrived on Wall Street to disrupt a student protest against the Vietnam war. Workers continue on to City Hall before the rampage ends two hours later. More than 70 people are injured, including four policemen. Six arrests....

    Astor Place Riot
    MAY 10


    MAY 10

    ....the Astor Place Riot erupts this night between fans of popular actors Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready. As Macready walks on stage in the role of Macbeth, an unruly bunch of Forrest fans pelt the actor with rotten eggs, potatoes and old shoes. The melee eventually spills out onto the streets where militia shoot right into the crowd. 22 are killed and almost 40 injured in one of New York's deadliest riots to date ...

    MAY 11

    Suffragist Virginia Woodhull lets loose this day at New York's Apollo Hall:

    "If the very next Congress refuses women al the legimate results of citizenship, we shall proceed to call another convention expressly to frame a new constitution and a erect a new government ...WE MEAN TREASON!...WE ARE PLOTTING REVOLUTION!. We will overthrow this bogus republic and plant a government of righeousness in its stead!

    MAY 12

    ...the Third Avenue El, Manhattan's last elevated line closes this day in 1955....and to the dismay of New York graffiti artists the transit authority introduces graffiti-proof subway trains this day in 1989 ....

    MAY 13

    ...founder of New York City's Yiddish Art Theater and author of many humorous works adapted for the stage, (most notably, the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" ) Sholem Aleichem is mourned by thousands at the news of his passing this day in 1916 ...

    MAY 14

    ... Mayor Jimmy Walker shows his support for the repeal of Prohibition when he organizes a day-long Beer Parade this day in 1932. An estimated 100,000 people turn out to cheer the legalization of beer with one toddler holding a sign reading "My daddy had beer, why can't I?" ...

    MAY 15

    ...condemning the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments as blatant injustices to women, in 1869 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association this day in New York City...

    MAY 16

    ...America has its first revolutionary in Captain Jacob Leisler after he defies King William III's harsh colonial policies and seizes control of Manhattan. Following an armed skirmish with British troops, Leisler and followers are tried for treason and are hanged and beheaded this day in 1691 ...

    MAY 17

    ...this day in 1792 at the Merchants' Coffee House at the corner of Wall and Water Streets, two dozen stockbrokers sign the Buttonwood Agreement named after a buttonwood tree under which business has been transacted in the streets for lo these many years. The agreement lists rules for securities transactions which lays the foundation for the New York Stock Exchange ...

    first Norman Rockwell cover, "Boy with Baby Carriage"
    MAY 20


    MAY 18

    ...America has its first commuter aerial tramway this day when the Roosevelt Island Tramway opens in 1976 connecting Roosevelt Island with Manhattan...

    MAY 19

    ... Alan Freed, popular DJ at New York's WABC radio station and the man responsible for inventing the phrase "rock 'n roll" is arrested for bribery in the radio payola scandal this day in 1960. Freed says payments he received from record companies were for "consultation," not as an inducement to play their records. He's later found guilty of two counts of bribery and fined $300...

    MAY 20

    ...New York illustrator Norman Rockwell has the first of one of many successful cover paintings published in the Saturday Evening Post this day in 1916, "Boy with Baby Carriage"...

    MAY 21

    ...I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions says New York screenwriter and playwright Lillian Hellman who is being forced to testify at the The House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings in Washington DC this day in 1952 ....

    MAY 22

    ...Samuel Wood publishes "The Cries of New York" a children's picture book with a variety of popular ditties this day in 1814.. A sample from a clam vendor:

    Here's clams, here's clams, here's clams today
    They lately came from Rockaway,
    They're good to eat, they're good to fry.
    They're good to make a clam pot pie!

    MAY 23

    ...the New York Public Library opens on Fifth Avenue today in 1911. One of the first New Yorkers to arrive files a request slip at 9:08 a.m., and receives his book six minutes later. The title? N. I. Grot's Nravstvennye idealy nashego vremeni, (Ethical Ideas of Our Time) a study of Nietzsche and Leo Tolstoi ...

    MAY 24

    ...Spanning the East River at a cost of $18 million, the Brooklyn Bridge is the world's longest suspension bridge when it opens this day in 1883. Almost 2,000 vehicles and more than 150,000 people make the inaugural crossing ...

    Brooklyn Bridge
    MAY 24

    Early photo of the Brooklyn Bridge
    under construction, 1881.


    MAY 25

    ... with 330-foot spires dwarfing neighborhood FIfth Avenue mansions and boasting a gleaming white Pieta three times larger than Michelangelo's, St. Patrick's Cathedral is formerly dedicated this day in 1879 ...

    MAY 26

    ...New Yorker George Willig (aka "the human fly") makes headlines this day in 1977 when he takes 3 1/2 hours to climb the south tower of the World Trade Center. He's promptly arrested, but a popular outcry fo his release prompts Mayor Abraham Beame to fine him $1.10, one cent for each of the skyscraper's 110 stories ...

    MAY 27

    ...according to local lore, he will stomp his wooden leg on the floor and roar at the New Amsterdam assembly whenever it opposes him. The notorious peg-leg Peter Stuyvesant is inaugurated as Director-General of New Netherland this day in 1647....

    MAY 28

    The first all-color talking feature is Warner Bros.' On With The Show! starring Betty Compson and Joe E. Brown which premieres at the NYC's Winter Garden Theatre this day in 1929 ...

    MAY 29

    ...The New York World newspaper puts on a promotion stunt this day in 1910 involving a train and an airplane racing between Albany and New York City. Pilot Glenn Curtiss takes the $10,000 prize ...

    MAY 30

    ...the first ever auto accident is documented this day in 1896 when a Duryea Motor Wagon driven by Henry Wells collides with a bicycle ridden by Evylyn Thomas of NYC.

    MAY 31

    ...considered the top hotel in the country when it opens its doors today in 1836, the behemoth Astor House Hotel on Vesey and Barclay Streets introduces new innovations to the industry including a gas-lit ballroom, individual room keys - and free soap ....

    --> June


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