CHRONOLOGY OF NEW YORK CITY'S FACTUAL "FIRST" 1524-1999
Researched and Compiled by Miriam Medina

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*Please note this is a work in progress. New researched information will be added periodically.

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1) The first "big time" vaudeville show in New York City is presented by Tony Pastor.

2) Church Temperance Society a national organization of the Episcopal Church in the United States for the promotion of temperance. It was founded in New York in 1881.The society stands for a policy of high license as opposed to prohibition, and has done
effective work through legislative channels.

3) Mount Sinai Training School for Nurses, organized in 1881 is one of the largest in the country. * (NYS History) Vol: V

4) The Long Beach Construction Company was organized on June 18, 1881.

5) Wallack's Theatre situated at the north-east corner of Broadway and Thirtieth Street. It opened in December, 1881 and was under the sole management of the distinguished actor, Mr. J. Lester Wallack. * (Gaslight)

6) The mechanical production of ice for preservation of food in insulated cold-storage houses, located in large cities was first used by the Pictet Artificial Ice Company in New York City in 1881. * (Concise)

7) Brooklyn Home for Consumptives, 240 Kingston av. Est'd 1881. Capacity, 120. * (Polks)

8) German Evangelical Home, in Brooklyn, N.Y. located at Chauncey and Bushwick av. It was established in 1881. Capacity, 265. Private. * (Polks)

9 ) The Temple Court Building and Annex consists of two connected structures on the designated Landmark Site. The nine-story (ten stories in certain portions) Temple Court Building was commissioned by Eugene Kelly, an Irish-American multi-millionaire merchant-banker, and built in 1881-83 to the design of architects Silliman & Farnsworth * (nyclc)

10) Charles Force Deems, American clergyman and writer. He founded the American Institute of Christian Philosophy in 1881. * (Century)

11) Augustus H. Aikman, from Brooklyn, N.Y., whose invention of the Hydraulic air pump, patent # 237,158 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (Brooklyn Eagle)

12) John Ashcroft from Brooklyn, N.Y., whose invention of Steam heating, patent #237,083 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (Brooklyn Eagle)

13) Thomas Bentiold from Brooklyn, whose invention of ornamenting jewelry, patent # 237,085 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

14 George C. Brown from Brooklyn, whose invention of Oyster tongs, patent # 237,160 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

15) P. Casamajor from Brooklyn, whose invention of a Filter, patent #237, 134 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

16) Edwin S. Drake from Brooklyn, whose invention of a Lamp shade holder, patent # 237,.173 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

17) Edward P. Hall from Brooklyn, whose invention of a razor strap patent # 237,180 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

18) George Hopkins from Brooklyn, whose invention of a telegraph relay patent # 237,185 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

19) John B. King from Brooklyn, whose invention of Glass cutting Patent # 237,112 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

20) Edward H. Minor from Brooklyn, whose invention of a soap holder, patent # 237, 121 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

21) Patrick Reilly from Brooklyn, whose invention of a Grate bar, patent #237, 322 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

22) Henry A. Stone from Brooklyn, whose invention of a Cigar holder, patent # 237, 140 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

23) Abner G. Tisdell from Brooklyn, whose invention of a telephone transmitter, patent #237341 was patented during the week ending February 1, 1881. * (B.Eagle.)

24) The Metropolitan Casino opened as a concert hall by Rudolph Aronson on October 10, 1881. (n.i.e.)

25) The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 115th Street is the first Italian Parish in 1881. * (epic)

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1) The first Jewish services on Staten Island are said to have taken place in the home of Simon Raunes at what was then 7 Richmond Turnpike but is now 49 Victory Boulevard.

2) The first group of Jewish refugees from Russia to arrive in New York in 1882 was received with bands of music and was for a time
sheltered by the City.

3) On September 4, 1882, Thomas Alva Edison opened the first commercial power plant in the United States on Pearl Street. Among the first locations to be powered by the plant's specially designed underground system was South Street -- making it the first commercial area in the country to use electric light. There were 59 customers who had a total of 1284 sockets. * (Concise)

4) The nation's first Labor Day Parade , sponsored by the Knights of Labor, as held in New York City, September 5, 1882. *(afp.com)

5 J.P. Morgan's mansion on Madison Avenue is the first private home to be completely fitted with incandescent lights. *nyca

6) Peter Tilyou built Coney Island's first theater, the Surf Theater along an alley that was soon to be dubbed "The Bowery."

7) The American Linoleum Manufacturing Company first introduces electricity to Staten Island in Travis when they install electric lighting. Telephone service is also introduced to the Island this same year.

8) Two graduate schools of medicine came into existence in 1882, the New York Polyclinic and the New York Post-Graduate. Both claim to have been the first. * (NYS History) Vol: V

9 The first Inwood Fire Department was established about 1882 and was know as the Electric Hook and Ladder Company of Westville.  Nassau

10) A dozen yachtsmen gathered aboard the sloop Glance___W. L. Swan, owner___anchored in Oyster Bay and organized the Seawanhaka Yacht Club in 1882, and was incorporated under the latter name on February 1, 1887. * ( L.I. Sound)

11) May 8, 1882 Peter J. McGuire Carpenter's union founder proposed to the New York City Central Labor Union the designation of an annual labor day.

12) Brooklyn Methodist Episcopal Church Home, corner New York avenue and Park pl. Est'd 1882. Capacity, 70. Private. * (Polk)

13) Greenpoint Home for Aged, in Brooklyn, located at 137 Oak was established in 1882. Capacity. 15. Private. * (Polk)

14) Hospital of the Holy Family located in Brooklyn at 155 Dean was established in 1882. Capacity, 50. * (Polk)

15) Beginning in the 1880s, rooftop restaurants and cabarets emerged as New York's version of the summer entertainment gardens found in the inexpensive outskirts of European cities. Probably the earliest was opened in 1882 on the roof of the Casino Theatre, at Broadway and 39th Street, by the theater's resourceful manager. It featured light refreshments, lively musical entertainment, and a few tables and chairs for lounging. * (mcny.org)

16) St. Mary's Hospital, St. Mark's av. in Brooklyn was established in 1882. Capacity, 260. Private. Med Staff. Conducted by Sisters of Charity. * (Polk's)

17) The Casino, at the southeast corner of Thirty-ninth Street, was opened October 21, 1882, with "The Queen's Lace Hankerchief." * (Bwy)

18) AMITYVILLE: Brunswick Home, Broadway. a New York Sanitarium was established in 1882. Capacity, 300. Private. * (Polk's)

19) AMITYVILLE: Long Island Home. a sanitarium was established in 1882. Capacity, 114. Private. * (Polk's)

20 ) WALL STREET JOURNAL: It was founded in 1882 by two newspaper men from Providence, Charles H. Dow and Edward D. Jones. Thomas F. Woodlock and Charles M. Bergstresser soon joined them, and William P. Hamilton became editor-in-chief. They had received their training in the pioneer financial news agency of New York, which had been established by John J. Kiernan. * (NYS History)

21) The Charity Organization Society of New York City was established in 1882.

22) The Calvary Presbyterian Church, not to be confused with the one on Staten island, was organized January 12, 1882, meeting first on 111th Street East of Lexington Avenue, and later at Madison Avenue and 113th Street. Its only church building was on 116th Street West of Fifth Avenue. In 1889 the church was dissolved.* (presby)

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1) Brooklyn Bridge, stretching from Brooklyn to lower Manhattan is completed. At the time the world's largest suspension bridge, designed by John Roebling.

2) The New York Metropolitan Opera gives its first performance, Charles Gounod's Faust.

3) The Huguenot Society of America, a hereditary patriotic society, organized in New York City on April 12,1883, and incorporated on June 12, 1885.

4) William LeBaron Jenney introduces steel frame construction in Home Life Insurance Bldg.

5) The White Cross Society having for its object the cultivation of social purity and the practice of Christian morality. The movement was introduced into New York City during the winter of 1883 in connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church of Saint John the Evangelist by the rector, B.F. De Costa.( N.I.E.*)

6) Woman's Relief Corps. A woman's patriotic society organized in July, 1883, and known as an auxiliary to the Grand Army. The society is composed chiefly of the mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of Union soldiers of the Civil War. * (N.I.E.)

7) The first specific mention of a ""Medal of Honor of the Department" is the honorable mention of Captain John Sanders, 23rd Precinct, who on September 22, 1883, rescued several individuals from drowning. *NYPD

8) Flagler Farm at 1688 Park avenue, New York was established in 1883. * (Blue)

9) In 1883 New York adopted the first State Civil Service Act, the principles of which were incorporated in the State Constitution in 1894. * (Concise)

10) The Ladies Home Journal was founded in 1883.

11) Emma Lazarus, American poet and translator is remembered for her sonnet "The New Colossus" 1883 which is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

12) Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess' Home and Hospital. in Brooklyn at the cor 4th av and 46th. was established in 1883. Capacity, 96. Private. * (Polk's)

13) Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. was founded in 1883. (4 years)

14) The American Columbian Society of Brooklyn which was organized December, 1883, began its first exhibition February 9, 1884 in Mozart Hall at No. 89 Montrose avenue.

15) The foundation of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedlow's Island following the designs presented by the architect Richard M. Hunt. * (NYS History)

16) John Bach McMaster born in Brooklyn, N.Y. An American historian. He published "A History of the People of the United States" in 1883. * (Century)

17) Felix Adler, founded the first child study society in the U.S. (1883) *(C.E.)

18) 1883 New York--first surviving street railway labor organization (Knights of Labor Local 2878)

19) The Brooklyn Base Ball Association was organized in the Spring of 1883, and that year the club joined the Inter State Association, which included the Merritt Club, of Camden, N.J.; the Harrisburg, of Harrisburg, Pa.; the Active, of Reading, P a.; the Quickstep, of Wilmington, Del.; the Anthracite, of Pottsville, Pa., and the Trenton, of Trenton, N.J. * (b.d.e. 11/4/1888)

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1) The Carnegie Laboratory, the first facility in the United States devoted to teaching and research in bacteriology and pathology, is
established at NYU. *(NYU)

2) The first practical fountain pen is invented by Lewis Waterman in NewYork City. *(tt.net)

3) The American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) is organized.*nyca

4) 1884 - World's first roller coaster debuts in Coney Island. It was built in Coney Island by LaMarcus Adna Thompson.
E) Lamarcus Thompson built the first amusement railroad in the world, his Switchback Railroad at W. 10th Street at Coney Island.

5) 1884 Tompkinsville's Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, becomes Staten Island's first Jewish congregation.

6) The Staten Island Academy was founded in 1884, and the course of study extends from the kindergarten to college entrance. * (NYS History) Vol. I

7) HIAS (The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society) 425 Lafayette Street, which was founded in 1884. * EOJK

8 ) In 1884 Felix Adler helped to establish the first Tenement House Commission. He arranged for trained nurses to visit the poor, and lobbied for park and playgrounds in depressed urban areas. * (Benet)

9) The first existing civil Service Systems for a municipality (those of New York City and Buffalo) were created in 1884. * (Concise)

10) Henry Marcus Leipziger, Supervisor of lectures in New York City. He organized the Hebrew Technical Institute in New York in 1884. * (EOJK)

11) The American Kennel Club, 51 Madison Ave., New York was founded in 1884. *(t.a.)

12) Fire Engine Company 39 and Ladder Company 16 Station House is an outstanding example of late nineteenth century civic architecture. Built in 1884-86, the six-story Romanesque Revival structure was designed by N. LeBrun & Son for the headquarters of the New York Fire Department and to provide fire protection in a neighborhood that was experiencing considerable growth and change. * (nyclc)

13) FIRE ENGINE COMPANY 39 and LADDER COMPANY 16 STATION HOUSE, 157-159 East 67th Street, Manhattan. Built 1884-86; architects N. LeBrun & Son. * (nyclc)

14) The Montifiore Home was founded in 1884 and is supported by the voluntary subscriptions from people of Jewish Faith. *Bwy

15) American Academy of Dramatic Arts, A training school for the stage, established by Franklin Sargent in New York City in 1884, and chartered by the regents of the State of New York in 1889. It offers a two years' course of systematic instruction, and aims to harmonize the psychologic with the technical side of the stage. * (n.i.e.)

16) Irving Bacheller, American novelist from New York. In 1884 he founded the first newspaper syndicate in the United States. * (c.e.)

17) Willard Parker, American surgeon, a noted N.Y. surgeon he was first in the United States to operate for inflammation and rupture of the bladder and for abscessed appendix. The Willard Parker hospital opened in 1884 in New York City was named for him. * (c.e.)

18) Madison Avenue Bridge was built under the direction of the Commissioners of Public Parks, and was completed in 1884. It connects 138th Street on the east with Madison Avenue on the west, and has a total length, including the approaches, of 1163 feet. The draw, when open, gives a clear channel, on each side, of 132 feet, and is 28 feet above high water line. The roadway is 22 feet wide, and the sidewalks each 8 feet wide. The flooring of the draw is of plank, and the roadway of the approaches of granite block pavement. The grades of the approaches are about 5 feet in 100 feet. It is crossed by the cars of the Union Electric Railway Company, and the Madison Avenue horse line, and is of great importance as a connecting link with Manhattan Island. The total cost was $492,295.*(borobx)


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1) Judge Hooper C. Van Vorst, Aaron J. Vanderpoel, Lucas L. Van Allen, George W. Van Slyck and George M. Van Hoesen met in the home of George West Van Siclen in New York City on February 21, 1885, and founded The Holland Society of New York. * (Heritage)

2) 1885 Brooklyn's first elevated railroad is completed. It runs from the Brooklyn Bridge to Broadway. * (BTL)

3) The first U.S. patent for automobile seat beats was issued to Edward J. Claghorn of New York, New York on February 10, 1885. * (inventors)

4) The Exchange buffet, a self service restaurant was opened on September 4, 1885 at 7 New Street in New York City opposite the New York Stock Exchange. * (fff)

5) Holland Society A patriotic society, founded in New York City on April 6, 1885. * (n.i.e.)

6) The Huguenot Society of America: An hereditary patriotic society, organized in New York City on April 12, 1883, and incorporated on June 12, 1885. * (n.i.e.)

7) Louis Comfort Tiffany American designer son of Charles Tiffany, proprietor of the famous N.Y. Silver and Jewelry store. In 1885 he formed the prestigious interior design firm, The Tiffany Glass Co. * (Benet)

8) The first law is passed regulating the height of buildings in New York.* (berea)

9) The Second Avenue Bridge was built in 1885 by the Suburban Rapid Transit Company as a railroad bridge. it is 28.5 feet above high water, and gives a clear opening on each side of the draw of 103.7 feet. In 1887, by arrangement with the Park Board, a foot path was opened across it for the free use of the public. It is now used by the Manhattan Railway Company, and also the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company, which has a station at 129th Street. The total cost was $203,053.* (borobx)

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