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New York, Year by Year

New York, Year by Year: A Chronology of the Great Metropolis

Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 367
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    New York, Year by Year
    Book Description:

    Winner, The New York Public Library, Best of Reference Award, 2002 If any city deserves a complete chronology, it is surely New York. New York, Year by Year is a cornucopia of the familiar and the forgotten, the historic and the ephemeral, the heroic and the banal. In this handy reference work, Jeffrey A. Kroessler takes us from Verrazano's arrival in 1524 into the new millennium, highlighting the strikes and strikeouts, tunnels and towers, personalities and parades which not only made history in New York, but also proved to be defining moments for the nation. New York, Year by Year features events such as Mark Twain's first lecture at Cooper Union, and the letter he later wrote when the Brooklyn Public Library tried to restrict access to Huckleberry Finn. In contrast, we are reminded of the publication in the 1950s of Eloise, A Book for Precocious Grown-Ups, Kay Thompson's fanciful tale of a little girl's adventures in the Plaza Hotel, the appearance of the Beat Generation, and the flight (literally) of the Dodgers and Giants to California. New York, Year by Year chronicles the opening of Shea Stadium in April 1964 and the performance by the Beatles there that August. The Sixties also saw the opening of The Fantastiks, which is still running on Sullivan Street, and the closing of Steeplechase, the last of the great amusement parks at Coney Island. And this chronology makes sure we don't forget when Kitty Genovese was murdered in Kew Gardens and her cries for help were left unanswered because her neighbors 'didn't want to get involved.' Kroessler leads us on a tour of the city from its first settlers until the November 2001 election of a new mayor for the new millennium. From the colonial era and the Revolution through the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties, Kroessler has compiled a record of cultural, economic, political, and social events. Some are of transient importance, others of lasting significance, but all illuminate the city's fascinating history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6393-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. A Note on Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    What Elbert Hubbard said about life surely applies to history. History, our interpretation of the past, is necessarily replete with names, places, and dates—especially dates. So relentless is the march of events that the historical record finally blurs into “one damn thing after another.” Perhaps Hubbard (who detested the city) pondered his epigram as he sailed from New York on May 1, 1915, aboard theLusitania.

    Events by themselves signify little. It is for us to imbue them with meaning. The Greek historian Herodotus understood that. He wrote his history of the Persian Wars

    in the hope of thereby...

  6. 1524–1649
    (pp. 7-16)

    Giovanni da Verrazano, a Tuscan sailing for France, anchored in the Narrows on April 17. In his journal he wrote: “We found a pleasant place below steep little hills. And from among those hills a mighty deep-mouthed river ran into the sea. … We rode at anchor in a spot well-guarded from the wind, and we passed into the river with theDauphin’s one small boat.” He mentioned natives “clad in feathers of fowls of divers hues.”

    Esteban Gomez, a black Portuguese captain, sailed up what he named Deer River, taking 57 Indians as slaves.

    Sailing for the Dutch East...

  7. 1650–1699
    (pp. 17-32)

    On September 29, Peter Stuyvesant and the New England colonies signed the Treaty of Hartford, setting the boundary between the English and Dutch on Long Island at the western edge of Oyster Bay; in Connecticut the line ran north from Greenwich Bay.

    Cornelius van Werckhoven acquired what is now Bensonhurst from the Indians for six shirts, two pairs of shoes, six pairs of socks, six hatchets, six knives, two scissors, and six combs.

    The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown was established.

    Midwout (Flatbush) was founded. Jan de la Montagne established the first Latin school; it lasted two years.

    On February...

  8. 1700–1749
    (pp. 33-40)

    Because masters could not prevent their slaves from gathering “on the holy Sabbath in time of Divine Service to the great scandal of the Christian Profession and Religion,” on April 9 the Common Council prohibited groupings of more than three slaves on Sundays.

    On August 9, the provincial assembly passed “An Act against Jesuits and popish priests,” ordering all “ordained by any Authority, power or Jurisdiction derived or pretended from the Pope or See of Rome” to depart before November 1 or face imprisonment or death.

    On November 2, the assembly passed “An Act for Incouraging the brewing of Beer...

  9. 1750–1799
    (pp. 41-62)

    The first Moravian church was dedicated.

    The Merchant’s Exchange was built at the foot of Broad Street.

    The Beekman Street home of St. George’s Chapel, founded in 1749 as the first chapel of Trinity Church, was dedicated on July 1. In 1811 it became independent; a fire in 1814 consumed the original chapel. The congregation later moved to Stuyvesant Square.

    Trinity Church was damaged by fire. All records of marriages, baptisms, and burials were lost.

    On October 12, five days after becoming governor, Sir Danvers Osborn committed-suicide; Lieutenant Governor De Lancy succeeded him.

    Pennsylvania merchant Robert Murray built a farmhouse...

  10. 1800–1849
    (pp. 63-94)

    On February 15, the state ceded Governors Island to the federal government for a military base and harbor fortifications.

    Alexander Hamilton purchased thirty acres uptown (143rd Street and Convent Avenue) for the estate he called The Grange. Designed by John McComb Jr. (architect of City Hall), it was completed in 1802. Hamilton transplanted 13 gumtree saplings from Mount Vernon in Washington’s memory.

    The city’s population was 60,515, including 3,333 free blacks and 2,534 slaves.

    The body of Juliana Elmore Sands was found in a Spring Street well on New Year’s Eve. Levi Weeks, her fiancé, was charged with her murder....

  11. 1850–1899
    (pp. 95-156)

    Bishop John Joseph Hughes purchased land at Fifth Avenue and 50th Street for St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Hughes was elevated to archbishop, making New York an archdiocese.

    Harper’s New Monthly Magazinebegan as a general-interest magazine, promoting books published by Harper’s.

    The Long Island Railroad went into receivership on March 4.

    The Brooklyn and Jamaica Plank Road Company was formed on May 21.

    On June 9, Henry Steinway, his wife, and their five sons arrived from Germany aboard theHelene Sloman. Their son Charles had earlier emigrated after the failed German revolution of 1848.

    Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived on August 2. He...

  12. 1900–1949
    (pp. 157-260)

    On January 2, the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court moved into a $650,000 courthouse at Madison Avenue and 25th Street. A third of the cost went for decorative work and sculpture by Daniel Chester French, Karl Bitter, and Frederick Ruckstul.

    Groundbreaking for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company subway (IRT) took place at City Hall on March 24. Construction began two days later under Chief Engineer William Barclay Parsons. Excavation debris was dumped on Governors Island, doubling its size.

    Newtown High School, designed by Charles B. J. Snyder, opened on May 4.

    In Hell’s Kitchen on August 12,...

  13. 1950–1999
    (pp. 261-350)

    TheSun, founded in 1833, ceased publishing on January 4.

    In one of the most controversial trials of the McCarthy era, Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury on January 21.

    On February 17, two LIRR trains collided head-on near Rockville Centre, killing 32. On November 22, trains collided near Richmond Hill, killing 78; it was the railroad’s worst disaster.

    The Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement opened in the community center of the Queensbridge Houses on March 2.

    In his last bank job, Willie “The Actor” Sutton and two accomplices robbed the Manufacturer’s Trust Company at 47–11 Queens Boulevard, making...

  14. 2000–
    (pp. 351-354)

    On March 16, undercover officer Anthony Vasquez shot and killed Haitian immigrant Patrick Dorismond. They scuffled after Dorismond objected to being asked about buying drugs. At his funeral in Flatbush on March 25, thousands of mourners confronted police in riot gear; 27 were arrested, and 23 officers and seven civilians were injured.

    On April 27, Mayor Giuliani revealed that he had prostate cancer. On May 3, he admitted that Judith Nathan was his “very good friend.”At a May 10 press conference, he announced his separation from his wife, Donna Hanover (before he told her). All agreed that, given his medical...

  15. Index
    (pp. 355-366)
  16. About the Author
    (pp. 367-368)