CHRONOLOGY OF NEW YORK CITY'S FACTUAL "FIRST" 1524-1999
Researched and Compiled by Miriam Medina
S E C T
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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
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. *
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.
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. *
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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.
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. *
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.*
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.
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.
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. *
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
4) The American Mutoscope Company, one of the earliest film
companies in New York, opens a film studio at 841 Broadway.
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 *
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.
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.
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
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. *
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. *
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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