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) Society of American Authors. A society incorporated in May, 1892, in New York City, for the purpose of assisting authors in their
dealings with publishers and generally improving the condition of the craft.

2) American Jewish Historical Society. Organized in New York in 1892 by a group of distinguished Jews, among whom were Cyrus Adler, Sabato Morais, Alexander Kohut, Kaufmann Kohler, Prof. Charles Gross, Simon W. Rosendale, and Henrietta Szold. * (n.i.e.)

3) 1892 New York Harbor's Ellis Island opens as an immigration depot.

4) The American Society of Scenic Painters was founded in 1892. * (NYS History) Vol: V

5) The Freeport Bank, at 23-25 Main Street, the pioneer bank in Freeport, was chartered by the Sate Banking Department on February 18, 1892. The bank opened for business on March 5, 1892, at 24 South Main Street.

6) Mayorkas Bros., Importers of Ancient and Modern Oriental Rugs. located at 679 Madison ave. at 62nd Street, New York was established in 1892.* (Blue)

7) The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New York. The first society organized was instituted August 18, 1892.

8) The first General Court and dinner of the Society of Colonial Wars was held at Delmonico's December 19, 1892. * (Concise)

9) Judson Memorial Church at Washington Square South at Thompson Street was built in 1892. * (Museums)

10) BROOKLYN: Muncie Sanitarium, 117-119 Macon. Est'd 1892. Capacity, 23. Private. * (Polk's)

11) New York City. Brown's Sanatorium, 220 E. 53d. It was established in 1892. Capacity, 25. Private. * (Polk's)

12) Hermann Michael Biggs, American physician and public health administrator from N.Y. He organized in 1892 and directed the bacteriological laboratories of the NYC health department, the first of their kind in the country. * (c.e.)

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1) Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. moves to #1 Madison Ave. (Madison Square). First building in "Chicago style" of courtyard, palazzo block (LeBrun) * (sky-tl)

2) Nathan Edwin Brill, Diagnostician of "Brill's Disease";. He was born in New York. In 1893 he was appointed attending physician at Mt.Sinai Hospital, and became one of the leading diagnosticians of his day. He was one of the first to introduce into the U.S. the operation of splenectomy for thrombocytopenic purpura.* (E.O.J.K.)


3) At 265 Henry Street is the famous Henry Street Settlement which was founded by Lillian D. Wald, in 1893. *EOJK

4) The village of Rockville Centre was incorporated in the summer of 1893, and the trustees held their first meeting in the house of Edwin W. Wallace on August 26.

5) Nathan Strauss of New York City financed the first distribution of pasteurized milk in 1893, then a new application of Pasteur's technique of killing germs by thermal treatment. * (Concise)

6) Bethany Deaconess Hospital, 237 St. Nicholas av. Est'd 1893.Capacity, 35. Private. Med. Staff..

7) the Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium at Mount Olivet Crescent and 62nd Avenue in Middle Village, erected in 1893, was among a varied roster of buildings so identified by the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. * (mcny.org)

8) Opposite to it on the south side of Fortieth Street is the Empire Theatre, whose entrance is from Broadway. It was opened January 25, 1893, under the management of Charles Frohman, and has been famous, not only for its early stock company, but as the New York home of such actors as John Drew, Maude Adams, and similar stars. * (Bwy)

9) The Wall Street News, first issued in 1893 as the "Wall Street Summary," was developed by James Rascover and Colin Armstrong, assisted by Melvin J Woodworth. * (NYS History)

10) National Council of Jewish Women, 53 W. 23rd Street in New York City was established in 1893.

11) National Sculpture Society, 1177 Avenue of the Americas in New York City was founded in 1893. * (t.a.)

12) After the destruction of his Park Theatre at Twenty-second Street, Henry E. Abbey had no house that he could call his own until 1893, when he opened the theatre at the northeast corner of Thirty-eighth Street, where he introduced Irving, Bernhardt, and other foreign actors of high rank, opening with the first named on November 8, 1893. On September 14, 1897, the house
was opened as the Knickerbocker, a name that it still retains. * (Bwy)

13) Society of Colonial Wars: A patriotic society, organized in New York City in 1893.

14) The Waldorf Astoria 1893: The Opening day was March 14, 1893, built on the site of William Waldorf Astor's mansion at Thirty-third Street and Fifth Avenue.. Although it opened in the financial panic of 1893, the Waldorf was a glittering success from the start. The Astoria Hotel opened with fanfare on November 1, 1897. Colonel Astor consented to a passage linking the two hotels, but with the proviso that it could be shut off if the partnership with George C. Bolt, proprietor of Waldorf did not prove to his liking. Both
hotels were both designed by the same architect, Henry J. Hardenbergh. Even before the Astoria joined it, the Waldorf was the chosen gathering place of New York society. * (Bwy)

15) Frank Huno Damrosch, He organized the Musical Art Society in 1893. His most important work was the founding in 1905 with James Loeb of the Institute of Musical Art. * (c.e.)

16) Charles Frohman, American theatrical manager and producer. In 1893 he organized the Empire Theatre Stock Company. Soon he acquired five other New York theaters and later headed the Theatrical Syndicate. * (c.e.)

17) Seventh Avenue Bridge: In 1886, it was decided to build a viaduct from Washington Heights to connect with a bridge over the Harlem at 155th Street. Work was commenced on the viaduct in 1890, under the direction of the Department of Public Works, and it was opened to the public in 1893. It has a total length of 1500 feet, and crosses over the elevated railroad, with which it is connected by stairways. The roadway, 40 feet wide is paved with granite blocks laid in cement, and the sidewalks on each side, 10 feet wide, are also laid in cement. It was built at a cost of $739,000, one half the expense being borne by the property benefited, and the other by the city at large. *(borobx)

18) The Broadway Bridge over the Harlem ship canal, connecting the old Kingsbridge Road on the south with Broadway on the north, was commenced in April, 1893, and completed in December, 1894. it has a total length of 551 feet, made up of the two approaches and a swing draw. The draw span is 265 feet long, giving a clear channel on each side when open of about 85 feet. The bottom chord of the draw is 26.5 feet above high water. The roadway is 50 feet wide, and the sidewalks 8 feet, both paved with asphalt. The centre piers, abutments, and masonry on the approaches are of granite. The bridge was built at a cost of $450,000. *(borobx)

19) The Empire Theater was opened January 25, 1893, under the management of Charles Frohman, and has been famous, not only for its early stock company, but as the New York home of such actors as John Drew, Maude Adams, and similar stars. * (n.i.e.)


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1) George C. Tilyou introduces the first Ferris wheel to Coney Island. * (BTL)

2) July 18, 1894 - First Brooklyn pilgrimage leaves for Lourdes led by Father Eugene H. Porcile, S.P.M., of St. Francis DeSales parish, Bushwick (name changed to Our Lady of Lourdes in 1897).

3) Former Edison employee Charles E. Chinnock produces the first motion picture of a boxing match in New York, filmed on the rooftop of a building on St. Marks Avenue in Brooklyn. * (nyca)

4) Private Home for Neurasthenics. in Brooklyn at 140 S. Portland avenue. was established in 1894. Capacity, 8. Private.* (Polk's)

5) Bethesda Sanitarium, 952 St. Marks av. in Brooklyn was established in 1894.*(Polks)

6) The American Tract Society Building, at the southeast comer of Nassau and Spruce Streets, was constructed in 1894-95 to the design of architect R. H. Robertson, who was known for his churches and institutional and office buildings in New York. It is one of the earliest, as well as one of the earliest extant, steel skeletal-frame skyscrapers in New York, partially of curtain-wall construction. * (nyclc)

7) On December 23, 1894 the Society of Mayflower descendants was organized in New York by descendants of the Pilgrims. * (epic)

8) In 1894 Hermann Michael Biggs, American physician and public health administrator from N.Y.instituted the production and free distribution of diphtheria anti-toxin.* (c.e.)

9) Walter Johannes Damrosch. In 1894 he organized the Damrosch Opera Company which introduced opera in many American cities. * (c.e.)

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1) American Surety Company (now Bank of Tokyo), 100 Broadway, Bruce Price, architect.

2) Captain Paul Boyton opened Sea Lion Park, in Coney Island the world's first enclosed amusement park charging admission on the east side of Surf Avenue.

3) 1895 Staten Island Chamber of Commerce founded.

4) St. Paul Building, 315 feet above Broadway and Ann Street. Architect and engineer: George B. Post; General contractor: Robinson & Wallace. Constructed 1895-1898.

5) Kuhn, Florist at 1329-1337 Lexington avenue was established in 1895. * (Blue)

6) Church Home for the Blind, in Brooklyn , 550 Washington av. was established in 1895. Capacity, 20. Private. * (Polk)

7) Industrial Home for the Blind, located in Brooklyn at 512-520 Gates avenue was established in 1895. Capacity, 50. Private. * ( Polk)

8) Stephen (Townley) Crane, American novelist, short-story writer and poet, called the first modern American writer. His first novel "Maggie, A Girl of the Streets" a realistic study of New York slum life was published in 1895. The Red Badge of Courage brought him immense international prestige. * (Benet's)

9 ) Russell Sturgis, American architect and writer. He was first president (1895-97) of the Fine Arts Federation and president (1889-93) of the Architectural League of New York. * (Bartleby)

10) Long Island State Hospital. Clarkson and Albany avenue. Est'd 1895. Capacity, 660. State. * (Polk's)

11) The country's oldest municipal golf course, opened in 1895, is in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

12) The Underwood Typewriter Company was incorporated in March 1895. * (fff)

13) Harlem River, a channel separating Manhattan Island from the mainland of the State of New York and communicating with the East River on the east and through Spuyten Duyvil creek with the Hudson on the west. The Harlem canal connecting with the Hudson River was officially opened June 17, 1895. * (Century)

14) (1895) Future President Theodore Roosevelt starts three-year term as Police Commissioner of New York City.

15) The most serious street car strike in the history of Brooklyn was in January, 1895. All the lines of the Brooklyn City Railroad Company, now the B.R.T. System were affected and 6000 men were out.

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1) In New York City, the first moving picture is shown to the public at Koster and Bial's Music Hall.

2) April 11. The Board of Education and The Board of Superintendents are established--Mayor William L. Strong signed into law a bill that centralized control over the New York City schools. The Board of Education, with authority over the business side of the school system, and a Board of Superintendents, in charge of education, established a school system that precedes by one year, the actual reorganization of the five boroughs into one city.

3) The St. Nicholas Rink, at 66th street off Central Park West, opened in1896 with the nation's first indoor ice skating.

4) The American Mutoscope Company, one of the earliest film companies in New York, opens a film studio at 841 Broadway. *nyca

5) Adelphi College. An American college, situated at 66 St. James Place, Brooklyn, New York City. It was incorporated 1896, grants the degrees A.B. and B.S., and maintains subordinate normal, art, and musical departments, besides a preparatory academy. *(N.I.E.)

6) 1896 Pratt Institute Free Library opens. It is Brooklyn's first free library. * (BTL)

7) The company of Philip Suval, a seller of Art Goods at 823-825 Madison avenue was established in 1896. * (Blue)

8) Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York located at Madison Avenue and East 25th Street in Manhattan. This small marble courthouse, a three-story building, was begun in 1896 under the direction of architect James Brown Lord. * (Museums)

9 ) The National Society, Colonial Daughters of the Seventeenth Century was formed in Brooklyn in 1896 and later chartered by the State of New York. The Founder and First President of the Society was Mrs. Harlan P. Halsey.

10) Marien Heim of Brooklyn. 18th av. and 6th. Est'd in 1896. Capacity, 50. Private (Inc. 1898). * (Polk's)

11) St. Christopher's Hospital for Babies, in Brooklyn at 283 Hicks. was established in 1896. Capacity, 50. Private * (Polk's)

12) Manhattan Congregational at Seventy-sixth Street, was organized in 1896; * (Bwy)

13) Astoria: River Crest Sanitarium Wolcott av. Est'd 1896. Capacity, 132.Private. * (Polk's)

14) Long Island City (Astoria): RiverCrest Sanitarium, Wolcott av and Merchant. Est'd 1896. Capacity, 131. Private. * (Polk's)

15) American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, 1501 Broadway, Paramount Bldg, New York was founded 1896. * (t.a.)

16) Park Row Building, 15 Park Row (aka 13-21 Park Row, 3 Theatre Alley, and 13 Ann Street), Manhattan. Built 1896-99; architect R. H. Robertson.

17) Volunteers of America: An organization for religious work in America formed in New York City in 1896. * (n.i.e.)

18) Chop Suey was invented in New York City in 1896 but the dish was slow to win popularity. * (epic)

19) The Nation's first automobile accident occurred in New York City on May 30, 1896 when Henry Wells of Springfield, Mass driving his Duryea motor wagon, collided with a bicycle rider, named Evelyn Thomas. * (epic)

20) Nathaniel Lord Britton American botanist. He was the first director of New York Botanical Gardens in 1896. * (c.e.)

21) John Raines American legislator drafted the unique "Raines Law of 1896, providing for Liquor sales on Sundays in NYS only in hotels paying a high license fee and having at least 10 bedrooms * (c.e.)

22) Catherine Fitzgibbon founded the Seton Hospital for incurable consumptives at Spuyten Duyvil in 1896. *(docb)

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1) Abraham Cahan, he founded the Jewish Daily Forward of which he was editor in chief (1897). He was founder of the Social Democratic Party (1897). * (c.e.)

2) June 4 Small Parks Commission is established -- Mayor Strong appoints a committee to act with him in an advisory capacity for the selection of sites for small parks.

3) The first public high schools are opened -- DeWitt Clinton (for boys), Wadleigh (for girls).

4) Morris High School, the first public high school in The Bronx, opened in 1897.

5) Christmas Day, 1897, was the birthday of the Catholic church in Freeport, L.I., at the home of William Dougherty on Merrick Road.

6) 1897 George Tilyou opens Steeplechase Park in Coney Island. It is the first of Coney Island's great amusement parks. * (BTL)

7) Cooper-Hewitt Museum Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Design at 2 East 91st Street in New York City, founded in 1897 by Peter Cooper's granddaughters Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt. The museum is the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, a 64 room built between 1899 and 1903 by architects Babb Cook and Willard. * (Museums)

8) Bayard-Condict Building at 65-69 Bleecker Street in Manhattan, was built in 1897. This is the only building in New York designed by Louis H. Sullivan, the first American to work in a non-historic, modern architectural style. The First modern skyscraper in New York. * (Museums)

9) the Evangelical Lutheran church at the northeast corner of Ninety-fourth Street, in Manhattan was organized in 1897. *
(Bwy)

10) Built in 1897-99, Public School 166 is one of the few remaining nineteenth-century institutional buildings, and one of the oldest extant public schools, on the Upper West Side. The school was designed by New York's Superintendent of School Buildings, C.B.J. Snyder, who held that position from 1891 to 1923, exerting a tremendous influence on the design and construction of the city's schools. *(nyclc)

11) The station house for Engine Company 67 was constructed in 1897-98 for a newly-formed fire company established to serve the rapidly-growing section of New York City known as Washington Heights. * (nyclc)

12) 1897: The first comic strip appears in the Sunday color supplement of the New York Journal.

13) Zionist Organization of America, 4 E. 34th Street in New York City was founded in 1897.

14) William Russell Grace in 1897 established the Grace Institute for the education of dressmakers, domestic servants and office girls. * (docb)

15) The first ball given in the Louis XVI ballroom at Delmonico's new building 44th Street and Fifth Avenue was a subscription dance the first of a series of 4, November 24, 1897. * (nyt)

16) Andrew Haswell Green, American civic leader. he was chairman of the commission that in 1897 drew up the plan by which Greater New York was established in 1898. * (c.e.)

17) Fourth Avenue (Railroad) Bridge. The new bridge, which is a four-track structure is one of the few bridges in this country with that number of tracks placed side by side. it has a total width of 61 feet. it was opened to traffic over two tracks on January 17, 1897, and on four tracks September 20, 1897. The raising of the tracks at the bridge to the required height involved a vast amount of construction both on the north and south sides. it is estimated that the total cost of the improvement was in the neighborhood of $3,000,000. *(borobx)

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1) May 4 The Charter of Greater New York was signed (to be ratified on January, 1, 1898. During this reform movement, Mayor Strong became (Republican) Mayor. Strong's reform administration inaugurated the modern system of street cleaning and refuse collection, among other things.

2) 1898... The borough of Queens created. Flushing, Newtown, Jamaica, and the Rockaway Peninsula.

3) New York University Professor of Physics Daniel Webster Hering is credited with taking the first human X-Ray in the United States on February 5, 1898 at Bellevue hospital. *nyca

4) National Arts Club: An organization formed in New York City in 1898 "to promote acquaintance among art lovers and art workers in the United States and to stimulate the practical expression of the artistic sense of the American people; to provide proper exhibition facilities for such lines of applied and industrial art as shall be unprovided for; and to encourage the publication and circulation of new suggestions and discussions relating to the fine arts." * (n.i.e.)

5) Kallman Scandinavian Orphanage, in Brooklyn at 18th, cor 67th. was established in 1898. Capacity, 75. Private * (Polks)

6) Cornell University Medical College, First avenue, between 27th and 28th streets, New York City. Wm. M. Polk, M.D., Dean. Organized in 1898. First class graduated 1899. * (Polk's)

7) Flushing: Dr. Combe's Sanitarium for Nervous and mental Diseases, Jackson av. Was established 1898. Capacity, 46. Private. * (Polk's)

8) NEW YORK: Dr. Kellogg's House, W. 253d, cor Albany Post rd. Est'd 1898. Capacity, 7. Private. * (Polk's)

9) Manhattan. Murray Hill Sanitarium 148 E. 35th. Est'd 1898. Capacity, 40 Private.* (Polk's)

10) American Academy of Arts and Letters, 633 W. 155th street, New York , was founded in 1898. * (t.a.)

11) Fire Engine Company 55 is a richly ornamented, mid-block firehouse, erected in 1898-99. It was the prominent New York architect R. H. Robertson's only commission for the New York City Fire Department and one of the first firehouses completed following the consolidation of Greater New York. * (nyclc)

12) In 1898, Richmond County was consolidated into the City of New York, and the first Borough President of Staten Island, George Cromwell, moved the old county center from Richmond town to St. George. * (nyclc)

13) Rose Hawthorne Lathrop established St. Rose's Free Home for Cancer in NYC, 1898. *(docb)

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1) Mrs. Blanche Winham, was the first telephone operator at the Richmond Hill Exchange, way back in 1899.

2) The first children's museum in the world, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, opened in 1899.

3) The Salvation Army at 853 Broadway in New York City was Incorporated 1899. *(Blue)

4) Everybody's Magazine was founded in 1899. The editor was, John O'Hara Cosgrave.

5) Hall of Records, 31 Chambers Street in New York City was designed by John R. Thomas and built in 1899.

6) Sam Schapiro began the Kosher wine industry on New York's Lower East side with their famous extra heavy original concord wine in 1899. *(50s)

7) March 20, 1899. Martha Place, first woman to be electrocuted at Sing Sing for murder of step daughter, Ida, at 598 Hancock street.

8) The Guilmant Organ School in New York City was established in 1899 by Dr. William Crane Carl and Dr. Howard Duffield. * (fff)

9) The 30-story, 391-foot-high Park Row Building was the tallest building in New York City and one of the tallest structures in the world between 1899, the year of its completion, and 1908. Located on Park Row across from City Hall Park, the Park Row Building remains, by virtue of its height and twin cupola-topped towers, one of the most distinctive buildings in lower Manhattan * (nyclc)

10) Al Jolson, The son of a rabbi, Jolson first planned to become a cantor but soon turned to the stage. After his New York City debut in 1899, he worked in circuses, in minstrel shows, and in vaudeville. * (Bartleby)

11) In 1899 America's first auto fatality occurred when a 68 year old real estate broker named Henry H. Bliss was knocked down as he stepped off a southbound streetcar at Central Park West and 74th street. * (epic)

12) Early in 1899 a group of people believing in the need for a new church in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, gathered for worship in the Winghart Hall, at the north-west corner of Webster Avenue and what is now 201st Street. They were known as the Union Chruch of Bedford Park. Shortly thereafter, with encouragement from the Sabbath School Committee of new York Presbytery, the work came under the leadership of the Presbyterian Church.* (presby)

 

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