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) New York City's first apartment house, The Rutherford-Stuyvesant on East18th Street is built.

2) The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History were founded.

3) 1869, the James Gordon Bennett Medal, the Fire Department's first official award for valor, was endowed, and first awarded in 1870 to Assistant Foreman Minthorne Tompkins for his ladder-top rescue of a woman from a burning building.

4) At the close of 1869, the Board of Education established a Normal and High School for the city of New York. * (Bwy)

5) On September 6, 1869 Greenpoint FDNY Ladder Company 6 was established at 124 Greenpoint Avenue. * (Greenpoint)

6) The first Greenpoint Savings bank customer is "signed up" 1869. * (Greenpoint)

7) The Society changed it's name again,and in 1869 : April 5 . The Brooklyn Dental Society was incorporated.

8) The handsomest theatre in the City is "Booth's" at the south-east corner of Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street. The Theatre was built by Edwin Booth. It was opened in January, 1869. * (Gaslight)

9 ) The Brooklyn Fire Department ( B.F.D.) was organized on September 15, 1869 with 13 Engines and 6 Ladders, which were Engines 1 (Engine 201 today) through 13 and Ladders 1 (Ladder 101 today) through 6.

10) Baptist Home, 665 Greene avenue was established in 1869. Capacity, 60. Private.

11) A snow melting apparatus was patented by Nicholas H. Borgfeldt of New York City on April 6, 1869. * (fff)

12) American Museum of Natural History incorporated in New York City in 1869 to promote the study of natural science and related subjects. * (c.e.)

13) Normal College, An institution for the training of teachers, in New York City, founded in 1869 and having its inception in the growing demand for professionally trained teachers in the public schools of New York. * (n.i.e.)

14) Nostrand Avenue M. E. Chapel, corner of Nostrand avenue and Quincy street, in Brooklyn, was dedicated February 28, 1869.

15) 1869 Mary Mason Jones builds the famous Marble Row of elegant Italianate residences at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.

16) Catherine Fitzgibbon, in 1869 founded a home for abandoned children, which became the New York Foundling Hospital. *(docb)

17) John Loughlin founded St. John's College in Brooklyn in 1869. *(docb)

1 8 7 0

1) The first U.S. elevated railroad opens in New York City.

2) Alfred Ely Beach demonstrates the first "subway" in New York City: a pneumatic subway on 312 feet of track built illegally under Broadway near City Hall in Manhattan. *nyca

3) 1870 First defense of the America's Cup in the waters off Staten Island.

4) Scribner's Monthly was first issued in 1870, but upon a disagreement between the editors and publishers quickly became "The Century". * (NYS History) Vol: V

5) 1870.May 4...Long Island City Incorporated. (Astoria, Ravenswood, Hunters Point, Dutch Kills, Blissville, Middletown, Bowery Bay).

6) Mooney-Boland-Sutherland Secret Service, a Detective agency at 280 Broadway, New York was established in 1870. * (Blue)

7) Hunter College was established in 1870. * (Concise)

8) The New York Cotton Exchange was started in 1870 and chartered in 1871. It deals only in Cotton. * (Concise)

9) The Lotus Club, organized in 1870, is the home of journalists, authors, artists, musicians, and friends of literature.
Resident membership is limited to 500.

10) St. Catherine's Hospital, in Brooklyn at Bushwick av. and Ten Eyck. Est'd 1870. Capacity, 200. Private. Med. Staff. conducted by the Sisters of St. Dominic. * (Polk's)

11) November 1, 1870, Stoves introduced in street cars.

12) FISHKILL-ON-HUDSON: Riverview Sanitarium. Est'd 1870 . Capacity, 12. Private. * (Polk's)

13) St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y. was founded in 1870.

14) Arthur J. Heaney, old and reliable pawnbroker at 214 & 216 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn was established in 1870.

15) 1870 New York--first pneumatic-powered (& first underground) line (Beach Pneumatic Railroad Co.)

16) Long Island City: Formerly a city in Queens County, N.Y. (in the  district bordering East River and north of Newtown Creek), now included in  the Borough of Queens, New York City. Long Island City was formed in 1870 by  uniting the villages of Blissville, Hunter's Point, Astoria, Ravenswood,  Dutch Kills, Steinway, and Middletown under one municipal charter. The first settlement within its limits was made by the Dutch as early as 1640.  Consult: Kelsey, History of Long Island City (Long Island City, 1896). *  (n.i.e.)

17) The Zodiac was founded in the 1870s by the elder J. Pierpont Morgan, a small elite men's club.

18) Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was founded in 1870. The building was designed by Calvert Vaux & J.W. Mould.

19) The New York Bar Association is organized * (berea)

20) In 1870 the South Side Railroad was built from Long island City through Jamaica to Babylon. Previously the Long Island Railroad had laid its line from Jamaica to Long Island City.* (jama)

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1) Polytechnic Institute, a school of science and liberal arts in Brooklyn, N.Y., established in1854. It granted its first degrees in arts and sciences in 1871 by special authority of the Regents of the State University, and in 1890 was reorganized and received a broad college charter. *(N.I.E.)

2) 1871 - The cigar lighter was patented by M. F. Gale of New York City.

3) On October 9, 1871, moreover, the Grand Central station at Forty-second Street was opened. *(NYS History)

4) St. John's Hospital in Brooklyn was founded in 1871. * (NYS History) Vol: V

5) One of the city's most exclusive and prestigious private men's social clubs, the Knickerbocker was founded in 1871 .

6 ) Brooklyn Nursery and Infant's Hospital, 339 Herkimer. Est'd 1871. Capacity, 195. * (Polks)

7) Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity, 775 Washington avenue. Est'd 1871. Capacity, 50. Private. * (Polk's)

8 ) Queens County Jail is built in Long Island City.

9) The American Geographical Society, 120 Wall street, New York was founded 1871.

10) Army and Navy Club was established in New York in 1871. For the association of Commissioned officers of all ranks in either branch of the service.

11) The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, at 345 E. 47th street in New York City was established in 1871. * (t.a.)

12) Ephraim George Squier, an american archaeologist and Traveler. In 1871 he was elected first president of the "American Anthropological Institute. * (Century)

13) 1871 New York--first steam-powered elevated line (New York Elevated Railroad Co.)

14) The Gilsey House opened in New York City in April of 1871, located at Broadway and 29th street. West and North of the Hotel was the notorious district known as Tenderloin. Army and Navy officers liked its proximity to the theaters, while railroad magnates and coal operators met there to eat, drink and hatch schemes of reorganization and development. * (FTW)

15) Charles Goodyear. He was one of the first to see the application of Howe's sewing machine to the making of shoes. He organized in 1871 the Goodyear Boot & Shoe Machinery Company of New York to manufacture machines. * (c.e.)

16) In 1871 Charles Feltman a German Butcher opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business. * (c.e.)

17) Steam trains are first used on the elevated railroad in Greenwich Street.* (berea)


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1) NYU's Stephen Smith, M.D., founds the American Public Health Association. *(NYU)

2) The Baptist Shiloh negro church was organized December 22nd 1872, and the building, valued at $ 1,200,was dedicated in November 1877.

3) In 1872 the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church at Lynbrook was organized.

4) George Ringler & Company Ringler founded his brewery in 1872. Its location was from East Ninetieth to East Ninety-second Street in New York City, in the very heart of Manhattan's once flourishing brewery district.

5) The first organized strike among brewery workers occurred in 1872 in New York City. * (50s)

6) In 1872 the NEW YORK TIMES inaugurated a system of free excursions, and its example was followed in other parts of the country. The first general fresh-air societies were organized in 1874. * (n.i.e.)

7) Long Island City: Formerly a city in Queens County, N.Y. (in the district bordering East River and north of Newtown Creek), now included in the  Borough of Queens, New York City. Long Island City was formed in 1870 by uniting the villages of Blissville, Hunter's Point, Astoria, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Steinway, and Middletown under one municipal charter. The first settlement within its limits was made by the Dutch as early as 1640. Consult: Kelsey, History of Long Island City (Long Island City, 1896). * (n.i.e.)

8) 1872 - Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale opened their first store in 1872 at 938 Third Avenue in New York, one of the first uptown department stores. The construction of the 3rd Avenue elevated railroad connected this uptown district with lower Manhattan, bringing more customers to Bloomingdales. * (hsd)

9) In the spring of 1872 a group of Christian men and women meeting in the home of Mr. William T. Hall, 601 East 141st Street, requested the Presbytery of Westchester to organize them as a church. This organization took place May 12, 1873 in Braun's Hall, with the name First Presbyterian Church of North New York. * (presby)

10) Calvary Church: Residents of the West New Brighton section of Staten Island met on February 22, 1870, at the house of A.W. Sexton and determined to organize a "church and society" but did not designate its denominational connection. A year later, after considerable funds were raised, it was decided that the new church should be Presbyterian. Mrs. Bement donated lots at the corner of Bement and Castleton Avenues for the erection of the church edifice. On November 17, 1872 the Presbytery of Brooklyn organized the Calvary Presbyterian Church, and the dedication of the church edifice took place at the same time.* (presby)

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1) Bellevue Hospital in New York City establishes a school of nursing.

2) Hoffman Boulevard, named after New York City Mayor, then New York State Governor, John Hoffman, developed from Long Island City to Jamaica. The two-lane road would later be called Queens Boulevard.

3) The Oratorio Society, consisting of 300 voices in New York City gave its first performance of the "Messiah." on December 3, 1873. Founded by Leopold Damrosch. * (NYS History) Vol: V

4) Records indicate that a school for the training of Nurses was established in the Brooklyn Homeopathic Lying-in Asylum in 1873. In the next year this school assumed the name of the "New York State School for Training Nurses. * (NYS History) vol: V

5) Retailers Commercial Agency at 1071 6th avenue at 41st street in New York was established in 1873.

6) St. Joseph's Female Orphan Asylum, 723 Willoughby av.in Brooklyn was established in 1873. Capacity, 500. Private. * (Polk's)

7) The Windsor Hotel 1873: The Windsor Hotel occupied the block between Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh streets on Fifth Avenue. * (FTW)

8) Manning's Yacht Agency 45 Beaver Street New York City was established in 1873 * (nyt)
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