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) On June 17, 1836 Colonel "Nick" Saltus as president formed the Union Club, the first organization of its kind in the city, and quarters were engaged at 343 Broadway as a club-house, which was opened June 1, 1837.

2) The Astor House. It was completed and opened in 1836, the marvel of that age, with its elegant rooms and equipments, and its interior quadrangle, now used for the lunch counter and room, laid out as a garden with a fountain in the centre. The hotel became the stopping-place of many distinguished men. *(Bwy)

3) Morris Levett, who came from England and settled in New York City in 1836 was the first physician in the United States to use atmospheric pressure in connection with Dentistry. * (NYS History) Vol: V

4) 1836 - The American Native Citizen and Brooklyn Evening Advertiser F.G. Fish.

5) It is reported that in 1836 G. William Totten ran the first stage, which also carried the mails, between Hicksville Syosset and Cold Spring Harbor.

6) New York Reformed Medical College (Eclectic), New York City. Organized in 1836. * (Polk's)

7) Dr. J.J. Howe of New York first invented machinery for making pins in 1836. * (Brooklyn Eagle)

8) The Pacific Hotel : On July 1, 1836 a new and spacious building was opened at 162 Greenwich Street, New York. The proprietors were Mr. Benjamin Jessups and Mr. R.C. Nichols.* (FTW)

9) The Ancient Order of Hibernians was organized by the Irish in 1836. * (epic)

10) The L.I.railroad began operations on April 18, 1836. * (epic)

11) Union Theological Seminary in New York City interdenominational co-educational opened 1836 chartered 1839. * (c.e.)

12) John Jacob Astor built his six-story Park Hotel on Broadway in 1836 near his Park Theater and became the nation's richest man from his real estate investments in Manhattan. * (hsd)

13) "Church of the Messiah.": An Episcopal church by this name was organized in 1836, and met for worship in the Hall of the "Lyceum of Natural History" on Broadway, near Houston street.* (hocadnyc)

14) Calvary Church: This church is located on the Fourth avenue near Twentieth street. It was organized with nine members, in the year 1836. During that year a small frame building was erected on the Fourth avenue, near Thirty-fifth street, which was opened for worship on January 1st, 1837. * (hocadnyc)

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1) In this year, there occurred the first great business panic with which the nation has been visited, and New York was as hard hit as the rest of the country. * (epic)

2) Two hundred women attend the Women's Anti-Slavery Convention in New York City, the first national political meeting of women. *(wtv.org)

3) The earliest known Jewish resident who settled in Williamsburg in 1837 was Adolph Baker. *EOJK

4) Stephen's General store in Richmond town, Staten Island, N.Y. was established in 1837.

5) The Colored Orphan Asylum was organized in 1837 Manhattan, fifth avenue between 43rd street and 44th street. * (Bwy)

6) Samuel Hanson Cox, American Presbyterian clergyman. In 1837 he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. * (Century)

7) The Ebenezer M. E. Church in Brooklyn, was organized June 18, 1837, at the Wallabout, by the formation of a class of eight persons, and preaching was held at a school house in that vicinity.

8) In 1837 a nativist named Aaron Clark, became the city's first whig mayor after conducting an anti-Irish, anti-Catholic campaign. * (epic)

9) Tiffany & Young opened their "fancy goods" shop at 259 Broadway in 1837. C.G. Gunther already had been established for nearly 20 years at 74 Maiden Lane.

10) Alexander Jackson Davis, American architect. He was the founder 1837 of the American Institute of Architects. * (c.e.)

11) Godey's Lady's Book was founded in 1837 by Sarah Hale to guide women on fashions and shopping and homemaking, the subjects according to Hale that were most "important for our sex and more proper for our sphere." * (hsd)


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1) The original City Prison opened in 1838 as a court-jail complex with "Halls of Justice" as its official title. But inmates soon gave it the nickname "the Tombs." Built on pilings used in landfilling the city's Collect (pond), the prison sank, cracking its foundations and allowing underground water to seep through the walls. That added a damp and drank atmosphere to what the prisoners already considered a dungeon. Thus the inspiration for the name. *(Nychs)

2) Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, established in 1838.

3) Leonard Maynard, a leading Dental surgeon was the first in 1838 to successfully practice the filling of the nerve cavity with gold foil, including the nerve canals in molar and bicuspid teeth, an operation he demonstrated in Europe in 1845. * (NYS History) Vol: V.

4) The first public highway was opened in Green Point. It connected it with bridges across Newton and Bushwick Creek's to the cities of Astoria to the North, and Williamsburg the South.

5) St. Paul , a Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. at Congress & Court {6th ward} was established in 1838.

6) The New York herald is the first U.S. Newspaper to employ European correspondents. * (toh)

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1) The first Roman Catholic church (St. Monica) in Queens was a small edifice of wood, erected in 1839, in the pastorate of Rev. James O'Donnel at a cost of $1,000.

2) Huntington--"The Long Islander " (newspaper)- established July 12, 1839. Published every Friday morning, George Shepard, editor & proprieter. *(c.e.)

3) St. Peter's, Staten Island's first Catholic parish is established in New Brighton.

4) Beethoven's only opera, "Fidelio" had its first New York City performance in English in 1839. * (NYS History) Vol: V

5) Stephen A. Halsey, a fur trader, and several associates founded Astoria village in 1839.

6) Dean's a catering company at 22 East 57th Street was established in 1839.

7) Stewart & Company, a carpet business was established by J. H. Stewart in 1839 at No. 174 Fulton street in Brooklyn. * (Brooklyn Eagle)

8) Park Benjamin, American journalist a prominent sensational journalist of his day. He is best known as the founder (1839) of the New World a weekly. * (c.e.)

9) John William Draper, American scientist, philosopher and historian. He helped organize the medical school of the University, of the City of New York. He was said to be the first in New York to use Daguerre's process announced in 1839, improving it so much that in 1840 he made the first satisfactory photographic portrait. * (c.e.)

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1) The New York Fire Department's first double-decker, Philadelphia style engine was employed in 1840.

2) The first known mass in what is now Nassau County was said in 1840 at the home of Barney Powers in northern Uniondale by the Rev. James O'Donnell from St. Paul's in Brooklyn. Four adults and three children attended. `

3) St. Vincent de Paul, New York's first French Catholic church, established in 1840.

4) 1840 - The first recorded bowling match in the US, was held at Knickerbocker Alleys, New York City, NY. * (a.com)

5) The American Society of Dental Surgeons came into being on August 18, 1840 with Horace H. Hayden as President. * (NYS History) Vol: V

6) The Bridge of Death was presented on July 4, 1840 at the Bowery Theatre in New York City. * (fff)

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1) Horace Greeley, American newspaper editor. He issued the first number of the New York Tribune on April 10, 1841, which he edited for over 30 years. * (c.e.)

2) The Church of the Ascension (Episcopal) at Tenth Street in Manhattan was consecrated on 1841. * (Fifth)

3) Fordham University was established in 1841. * (Concise)

4) In 1841, the University Medical College was organized, and instruction was begun under the following: Surgery, Anatomy; Chemistry; Theory and Practice of Medicine; Institutes of Medicine and Materia Medica; Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children. * (NYU)

5) 1841 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle begins publishing. *(BTL)

6) Barnum's American Museum, opened in 1841, was a brilliant makeover of a defunct enterprise known as Scudder's Museum. * (mcny.org)

7) King's County Hospital, Brooklyn, at Clarkson. Est'd 1841. Capacity, 645 Public. * (Polk's)

8) FLUSHING: Sanford Hall, Jamaica av, Flushing Hill. Was established in 1841. Capacity, 44. Private. * (Polk's)

9 ) Fordham University in New York City was founded in 1841.

10) The New York Life Insurance was originally called the Nautilus Insurance Company which was organized in 1841.. The original office of the Nautilus Company was at 58 Wall street. The original charter received from the N.Y.S. Legislature in 1841, permitted the company to do a fire, marine, and inland navigation insurance, but in 1849 was limited to Life insurance. * (NYS History)

11) Cardinal John McCloskey, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., was appointed first President of St. John's College, Fordham in 1841. * (docb)

12) Charles Constantine Pise, founded the "Catholic Expositor and Literary Magazine in 1841. * (docb)

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1) The New York Philharmonic Orchestra is founded.

2) New York City pipes water from the Croton watershed to a reservoir on Fifth Avenue on July 4, 1842.. *(Bwy)

3) On February 18, 1842, during the first visit of Charles Dickens to this country he was entertained at dinner at the City
Hotel, with Washington Irving in the chair as toastmaster. *(Bwy)

4) On July 9, 1842, Mr. Pinteaux, a Frenchman, opened the Cafe des Milles Colonnes at the corner of Duane Street, which soon became famous under the management of F. Palmo. The accommodations and appointments of this restaurant were far superior to anything of its kind yet seen in this country. *(Bwy)

5) A noble old aqueduct long known as High Bridge, was erected at the first construction of the Croton Water System in 1842. * (NYS History)

6) The first Tavern in Greenpoint "Perrys Inn" located at Eagle and Franklyn * (Greenpoint)

7) Federal Hall National Memorial at 28 Wall Street in Manhattan, was designed as the New York Custom House by Town & Davis and completed in 1842 by Samuel Thomson and John Frazee. It now houses a museum devoted to the history of New York City. * (Museums)

8) The Philharmonic Society of New York was formed (1842) and gave its first concert that year. Ureli Corelli Hill, its first president, was also its first conductor (1842-47) and a violinist.

9) The Mutual Life Insurance Co. of N.Y. was the first company in America to be organized solely for a Life Insurance business in 1842. Morris Robinson became the first President at the humble salary of $1500 a year. * (NYS History.)

10) The Mutual Life Insurance Company's first home was on Liberty Street, near Nassau, the site in revolutionary times of the Old Sugar House where so many American patriots had endured imprisonment by the English and also of the old Dutch church whose steeple Benjamin Franklin had used for his
electrical experiments.(1842) * (NYS History)

11) Free Union Methodist Church E. D., (African), was organized February 4, 1842, and erected a small building, in 1851, on South Third, near Ninth street.

12) Phineas Taylor Barnum-American showman. In 1842 he opened the American Museum in New York City and immediately became famous for his extravagant advertising and his exhibition of Freaks. Barnum organized his famous circus "The Greatest Show on Earth" which opened in Brooklyn, New York, 1871. * (c.e.)

13) The Philharmonic Society of new York was formed in 1842 and gave its first concert that year. Vreli C. Hill its first president. The first permanent conductor Carl Bergman was appointed in 1865. * (c.e.)

14) The Church of St. Matthew: In the early part of the year 1842, a legacy from the estate of Mr. Charles Morgan, of $15,000, was confided to the disposal of his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Eastburn, but with a suggestion concerning the purchase of a building then known to be for sale, standing on Christopher street, which was built and used by the Eighth Presbyterian Church, with a view to the establishment of a third Mission Church. To this sum there was afterwards added a legacy of $5,000, from the estate of Thomas Otis, Esq. In consequence of these liberal bequests the building was purchased for $15,000, and consecrated as "the Church of St. Matthew," on March 15, 1842. Rev. Jesse Pound, who had previously had charge of the Mission Church in Vandewater street, was transferred to this, and is now its regular Rector. The first communion here was attended in April, 1842, by about fifty communicants, forty of whom expressed a wish to become permanently attached to that station. A Sabbath school was commenced with about seventy children. They have now one hundred and seventy, and in May, 1845, reported one hundred and seventy-seven members in communion.* (hocadnyc)

15) St. Jude's Free Church: In the month of December, 1842, the Rev. R.C. Shimeall commenced preaching in the Chapel of the New York University, with a view to the ultimate gathering of a church. His efforts were successful, and in the spring of 1843 an Episcopal Church was organized, which took the name of "St. Jude's Protestant Free Church." During that summer a small building was purchased, standing on leased ground, on the Sixth avenue, opposite Amity street. This building was enlarged and thoroughly repaired, at a cost of about $4,000, including the purchase money, and has become a very convenient and respectable house of worship, being 67 feet long, and 46 feet wide, and capable of accommodating nearly 800 persons. The building was finished during the year 1844, and the congregation removed thither. Mr. Shimeall is Rector of the Church. It is a flourishing congregation, and bids fair to be very useful in that section of the city.* (hocadnyc)

16) The Board of Education was organized under an act of the Legislature, passed April 18th, 1842, which act extended to the city of New York the common-school system which prevailed in the other portions of the State, the schools under which were managed by officers elected by the people for the purpose. The Board of Education commenced its operations as soon as its measures could be perfected, and proceeded to erect school-houses and gather scholars for instruction. Since the year 1853 and up to the present time, the public schools of new York have been under the control of this organization, called the "Board of Education," the members of which have been elected by the people, and during that period of time our school system has attained to its present great prosperity and usefulness. Under its care and management has been perfected a wise and judicious system of instruction; it has progressed and expanded and adapted itself to the improvements which have taken place in science and arts and the methods of instruction. The cause of education or its administration has not been stationary. It has steadily grown and increased in its means of usefulness. * (histnyc)

17) The South Brooklyn Presbyterian Church (new school) was organized September 18, 1842, with seventy-two members, and the Rev. Samuel T. Spear, pastor, May 14, 1843. Their first place of worship was a school house on Pacific street, which they purchased and occupied until their beautiful edifice on Clinton, corner of Amity street, was completed in August, 1845. Its dimensions were 60 by 115 feet, including a lecture room in the rear, and its whole cost was $28,000. In 1875 it was consolidated with the First Presbyterian Church (old school) and the new society took the name of the Clinton Street Presbyterian Church." (29)

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1) B'nai B'rith Lodge. The Order was founded October 13, 1843, by 12 men in New York who, under the leadership of Henry Jones, organized at Sinsheimer's Cafe in Essex Street. The first name chosen was Bundes Bruder which was later changed to Independent Order of B'nai B'rith.

2) James Renwick, was an American architect born in New York City, who received his first major commission at the age of twenty-five, when he was chosen to design Grace Church in New York City in 1843. Renwick's masterpiece and best known building was Saint Patrick's Cathedral on the corner of New York's Fifth Avenue and 51st street.

3) Mason's at 115 to 121 Myrtle Avenue, corner of Bridge street in Brooklyn was established in 1843. * (Brooklyn Eagle)

4) In 1843 John McCloskey was named bishop of Axiere and Coadjutor of N.Y. *(docb)

5) The first church to bear the name Chelsea was organized October 22, 1843, and a brick house of worship was erected at 353 W. 22nd St. Many of the members came from the recently dissolved Eighth Church. Chelsea was the name given at that time to the whole section of New York west from Sixth Avenue to the North River, and from Fourteenth Street to Thirty-Fourth Street.* (presby)

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1) The Astor House.In 1844, on St. Valentine's Day, was given the first of the "Bachelor's balls," which was long remembered for its
brilliancy. *(Bwy)

2) The Virginia Minstrels first public "black face" appearance in New York City.

3) Samuel Morse's Magnetic Telegraph Co. establishes first telegraph line between New York and Philadelphia. *nyca

4) Horace Wells (d. New York City, 1848) is the first person to use nitrous oxide as an anesthetic in dentistry.

5) The New York Pathological Society was organized. * (NYS History) Vol: V.

6) The New York Yacht Club of New York City was organized on July 30, 1844 and incorporated on February 16, 1865 . John C. Stevens had been elected the first Commodore. * (L.I.Sound)

7) 1844 -The Democratic Advocate was published at Willamsburg by J. G. Wallace.

8) Far Rockaway's first store was opened on Greenwood Avenue in 1844 by William Caffrey.

9 ) In February, 1844, Palmo, who was an Italian and a great lover of the music of his native land, opened Palmo's Opera House at 39 and 41 Chambers Street. * (Bwy)

10) Church of the Saviour: The Floating Chapel for seamen was built by the "young Men's Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church," and was opened for religious worship on Feb. 15, 1844. It was built on a firm platform, of deck, covering two boats, and makes a convenient room, 70 feet long, and 30 feet wide. It is permanently moored in the East River at the foot of Pike street. As soon as the chapel was prepared, a church was organized, called the "Church of the Saviour." Rev. B.C.C. Parker is Rector.* (hocadnyc)

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1) New York City has permanent professional police force..it was finally created in 1845 with an initial staffing of 900 men. George W. Matsell was named the first chief of police.

2) Unitarian Church of the Divine Unity, established 1845 between Prince and Houston Streets.

3) Knickerbocker Baseball Club formed in New York City, 13 September.1845.

4) The Brooklyn City Hospital was incorporated in 1845. * (NYS History) Vol: V

5) Emanu-El Congregation, which later became the greatest Reform congregation in the country, was organized in 1845, under
the rabbinate of Dr. L. Merzbacher, and its first place of worship was at the corner of Grand and Clinton Streets, on the lower east side. * EOJK

F) 1845 -The Daily Long Islander.Started at Williamsburg by Bishop and Kelly.

G) Moses Beach's "Wealthy Citizens of New York" published in 1845. *(Fifth)

H) Brooklyn Hospital, Raymond and DeKalb av. Est'd 1845. Capacity, 175. Private. * (Polks)

I) A.T. Stewart's, the first big department store was opened in 1845 on Broadway between Read and Chamber Streets. * (American)

J) Prison matrons for guarding women prisoners were appointed in 1845 through the efforts of the American Female Guardian Society. * (fff)

K) John Drew, an Irish American comedian. He made his first appearance in 1845 in New York City. *(Century)

L) John Duer, an American Jurist. He published "Law of Representations in Marine Insurance" (1845)

M) Elias Howe, of Brooklyn, N.Y., American inventor. He completed the first sewing machine in 1845 (patented in 1846) * (Century)

N) Smith Gray & Co. in Brooklyn was established in 1845.

O) The (True) Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized in April, - 1845, and consisted of thirty members. It is in connection with the organization formed at Utica, May 31st, 1843. They first held their meetings in an academy hall, corner of Atlantic and Henry street.

P) Grand Street, or Second Methodist Episcopal Church (Gothic Church), located on the corner of Grand and Even streets, in Brooklyn, was organized September 4th, 1845, with ten communicants. The first board of trustees were Lemuel Richardson, Daniel Manjer, John F. Luther, Robert G. Thursby, Isaac Henderson, and Charles Maujer.

Q) Church of the Holy Communion: A very costly and singular building was erected in the year 1845, on the Sixth avenue, at the corner of Twentieth street, taking the above name. It is a free church, having no pews, but is furnished with free seats. Rev. W.A. Muhlenberg is the Rector.* (hocadnyc)

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