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

S    E   C    T    I    O    N

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


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1) Samuel Jesse Battle, the city's first Black patrolman had become its first Black police sergeant on May 21, 1926, and its first Black
police lieutenant on Jan. 7, 1935. *(nychs)

2) China Institute in America at 125 E. 65th Street in N.Y.C. a non-political tax-exempt organization was founded in 1926, to promote better understanding between the American and Chinese peoples and to serve the Chinese ethnic minority in the U.S. * (Museums)

3) For the first time in the history of American music, the Metropolitan Opera produced an American opera in 1926 by Deems Taylor, which achieved a real artistic success. * (NYS History) Vol: V

4) 1926 Martha Graham opens her dance studio.

5) On August 6, 1926, the first sound film (synchronized with music on discs but with no dialogue), "Don Juan," Warner Bros. was presented at the Warner Theater in New York City. * (Concise)

6) The East River Savings Bank, prominently located on the northeast corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 96th Street, was built in 1926-27, and was enlarged in 1931-32. Both phases of the building were designed by the architectural firm of Walker & Gillette *(nyclc)

7) The William and Helen Ziegler, Jr. House was built in 1926-27, at the end of the era of large single-family town houses for the wealthy in Manhattan. It is one of the most distinguished New York City residences by architect William L. Bottomley. * (nyclc)

8) In 1926 the Carnegie Corp of New York founded the American Association for Adult Education. *(c.e.)

9) The National Broadcasting Company is launched with a gala reception at the Waldorf-Astoria.

10) Radio City at Rockefeller Center: NBC was created in 1926 through the acquisition of two early experimental radio stations that had been founded by Westinghouse and AT&T. The network's commercial broadcast operations began in October 1927 at 711 Fifth Avenue in New York. The facilities, then viewed as spacious, were designed by venerated chief engineer O. B. Hanson, who would later go on to design the network's 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters.* (tvhbk)

11) Gertrude Ederle, American swimmer born in NYC. On August 6, 1926 she became the first woman to swim the English Channel which she crossed in a record time of 14 hours and 31 min. * (c.e.)

12) Jimmy Walker, took office on January 1, 1926. He became the first mayor of NYC whose inaugural ceremony was broadcast. * (epic)

13) American Arbitration Assn., 140 W. 51st Street, N.Y., N.Y., was established in 1926.

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1) The Holland Tunnel - the City's first underwater tunnel for motor vehicles - opens, connecting lower Manhattan and New Jersey. *nyca

2) Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight.(3,610 mile ) journey from Garden City, New York to Paris.

3) The Amalgamated Apartments at 80 Van Cortlandt South, near Gouverneur Ave., is a cooperative building venture erected by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. The buildings were the first low-rent apartments built and operated under the New York State Housing Law, trail-blazing legislation in the housing field.

4) Commercial Trans-Atlantic radio telephone service between New York and London is officially opened from the AT&T building at 195 Broadway.*nyca

5) The 85 feet high Cyclone, Coney Island's most famous roller coaster opened on June 26, 1927.

6) A Consumers' Club is founded in New York City and later incorporated in1929 as Consumers' Research incorporated;

7) Duke Ellington debuts at the Cotton Club 1927. * (nyct)

8) In musical theater, Funny Face and Show Boat have their first runs on Broadway.

9) May 23, 1927. The first demonstration of television before a large audience, about 600 members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers, at the Bell Telephone Building in New York.

10) Majestic Theater, at 247 W 44th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues was completed in 1927. Architect Herbert J Krapp.

11) Variety Clubs International, 1560 Broadway in New York City was founded in 1927.

12) The U.S. Court House at 505 Pearl street was completed in 1927. * (t.a.)

13) Yeshiva University is founded in Washington Heights .

14) Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Inc. (1927) 46 W. 83 Street N.Y.C. * (ajyb)

15) Long Island University at Brooklyn, New York, co-educational; chartered in 1926, and then opened in 1927. * (c.e.)

16) The first electric respirator (the Iron Lung) goes into use at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Its inverntors, Drs. Philip Drinker and Louis A. Shaw, say that it can be used in almost any type of respiratory failure. * (t.a.a.)

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1) The first bicoastal bus service, the Pioneer Yelloway Bus Line, begins operating from Los Angeles to New York City.

2) 1928 The first animated electric sign in the United States was mounted by the New York Times around the top of the Times Building, Times Square, New York City. It was used to report the presidential election returns, and was called the "zipper" because of the way it circled the building.*(afp.com)

3) In November, 1928, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Charles W. Chestnutt, the first African-American to receive widespread critical recognition as a novelist. * (charter)

4) Amelia Earhart, American aviator. The first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic ocean in an airplane. (1928)

5) Claude McKay, became the first best-selling author with his "Home to Harlem" ( 1928) * (Benet's)

6) Ethel Barrymore Theater, 243 W 47th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue was completed in 1928. Architect Herbert J Krapp.

7) 1928 John Gielgud makes his Broadway debut in The Patriot.

8) Vladimir Horowitz, Russian American pianist. He made his American debut with the N.Y. Philharmonic in 1928. * (c.e.)

9) Hunter College-city university of New York. * (c.e.)

10) New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, oldest symphony Orchestra. Its present name derives from the merger (1928) of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with the New York Symphony Orchestra. * (c.e.)

11) The Amalgamated Dwellings, co-operative model apartments begun by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in 1928 and completed in 1930, are located on Grand Street, between Columbia and Sheriff Sts. It was the first housing development built in Manhattan under the State Housing Law of 1926. * (ajtg)

12) The Bar Association of New York City declares itself against national Prohibition and the Volstead Act. * (t.a.a.)

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1) Martha Graham, one of the pioneers of modern dance, forms her own dance troupe.

2) In July 1929, the Regents of the University of the State of New York granted a charter for "establishing & maintaining a museum of Modern Art, encouraging and developing the study of modern arts and furnishing popular instruction. The first exhibition opened on November 7, 1929, in the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue. * (Museums)

3) In 1929 Loew's theater syndicate built the Paradise Theater for $4 million on the Grand Concourse immediately south of Fordham Road;

4) Chrysler Building (William Van Alen): stories, 1,048 feet (world's tallest until 1931).

5) Bank of the Manhattan Company Building- 40 Wall (H. Craig Severance).

6) The first New Year's Eve broadcast of Guy Lombardo was made from the Roosevelt Hotel, in 1929.

7) Lee J. Cobb, American actor, b. New York City. He first performed with the Pasadena (Calif.) Playhouse in 1929 and made his Broadway debut in Crime and Punishment (1935). * (Bartleby)

8) Acoustical Society of America at 500 Sunnyside Blvd. in Woodbury, N.Y. was founded 1929. * (t.a.)

9) The Daily News Building, built in 1929-30 to serve as the home and symbol of America's first major tabloid and its largest newspaper, has long been recognized as one of the city's major Art Deco presences, and the first fully modernistic freestanding skyscraper of Raymond Hood. * (nyclc)

10) The Chanin Building at 122 E. 42nd street was completed in 1929. * (t.a.)

11) Gladys Swarthout's debut at the Metropolitan took place on November 15, 1929, when she sang the part of La Cieca in " La Giaconda". In 1930 Miss Swarthout made her first radio appearance on the General Motors Hour. * (Hollanders)

12) The stock market crashes on Tuesday, October 29, ushering in the Great Depression.

13) In 1929 the Department of Sanitation was created, resulting in that the department of cleaning of the five boroughs were consolidated into one.

14) Menorah Association, Inc. (1929) 20 E. 69 Street N.Y.C.* (ajyb)

15) Jose Iturbi, Spanish-American pianist. In New York City in 1929 he made his American debut. * (bartleby)

16) Rex Brasher, American Ornithologist from Brooklyn, N.Y. devoted his life to making life-size paintings of all North American birds in their natural callar. The first edition of his "Birds and Trees of North America" appeared in 1929. * (c.e.)

17) Rachel Field, American novelist and juvenile writer, born in NYC. She first achieved success as a writer of children's stories and plays. "Hitty, her first hundred Years (1929) on the Newbery medal for the most distinguished children's book in 1919.* (c.e.)

18) Museum of Modern Art in NYC established and incorporated in 1929. A. Conger Goodyear served as its first president. Alfred H. Barr Jr. was appointed its first director. * (c.e.)

19) The Waldorf Astoria completed in 1931. The contract to build it was signed the day of the stock market crash of 1929.

(20) 1929  Chanin Building (Sloane and Robertson) Chrysler Building (William Van Alen): stories, 1,048 feet (world’s tallest until 1931)
Bank of the Manhattan Company Building- 40 Wall (H. Craig Severance) * (stl)

(21)Joseph P. Grace established Pan American-Grace Airways in 1929. *(docb)

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1) 1930 Daily News Building (Raymond Hood).

2) the Barbizon-Plaza Hotel at 106 Central Park South, erected in 1930, New York's "first fully equipped music-artist residence center," complete with two concert auditoriums, a library, art studios, and exhibition rooms catering to creative tenants. * (mcny.org)

3) Nella Larsen of New York City, an american novelist and short-story writer was the first African-American woman to win a guggenheim fellowship. * (Benet's)

4) Philip Cortelyou Johnson, American architect, was the first director of the Architecture Department at New York's Museum of Modern Art. 1930-1936.

5) Brooklyn College was founded in 1930, located at Ave. H. and Bedford Ave., in Brooklyn, New York. *(NY Guide)

6) The Trump Building at 40 Wall Street was built in 1930.

7) RCA Victor Building at 570 Lexington Avenue was completed in 1930 * (t.a.)

8) William A. Boylan educator, born in NYC, served as first president of Brooklyn College. 1930-1938. * (docb)

9) Brooklyn College of the City University of New York: Co-educational opened 1930 by merging the Brooklyn branches of City and Hunter Colleges.

10) Moss Hart, American dramatist born in NYC. His first important play "Once in a lifetime" produced (1930) was the first of several written in collaboration with George S. Kaufman.

11) The biggest communist demonstration in the history of NYC was held on March 6, 1930, in Union Square. * (epic)

12) Skyscraper at 500 Fifth avenue Shreve, Lamb & Harmon 1930. NW corner 42nd st. NYC.

3) Thomas E. Malloy founded the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y. 1930.*(docb)

4) In June, 1930, a Sunday School and a vacation school were established at 3046 Eastchester Road in the Bronx, under the leadership of Floyd E. McGuire, a seminary student.* (presby)

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1) The George Washington Bridge, the world's largest suspension bridge is first to connect New York City to New Jersey.

2) Empire State Building opens on April 30, 1931, the 102-storyskyscraper, designed by firm of Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, is the world's tallest building.

3) Floyd Bennett Field (first municipal airport) begin operations.


4) Irving Trust Company (now Bank of New York), 1 Wall Street, Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker [1931].

5) June 23-July 1, 1931. Wiley Post as pilot and Harold Gatty as navigator fly Lockheed monoplane Winnie Mae in around-the-world flight, 15,477 miles, from Long Island, N.Y., in 14 stops, in 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes; flying time, 107 hours, 2 minutes. (Aviation History)

6) The first of many record-breaking flights was in 1931 by Russell Boardman and John Polando. They took off from Floyd Bennett Field and landed in Turkey to set a long distance record.

7) Rockefeller Center construction workers begin a New York tradition by placing a Christmas tree at the construction site. * (nyct)

8) The Whitney Museum of American Art at 945 Madison Ave (at 75th Street) in N.Y.C., was officially opened in 1931. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a wealthy sculptor, founded and endowed the museum. She first showed the work of fellow artists in her MacDugal Alley studio in Greenwich Village. * (Museums)

9) Guinness World Records Exhibit Hall at 350 Fifth Avenue at 34th street, in N.Y.C. The Building was completed in 1931. It has the world's tallest tv tower. * (Museums)

10) The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at Park Avenue and 49th and 50th streets, by Schultze and Weaver was built in 1931.

11) Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y. was founded in 1931. * (t.a.)

12) The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Building, 135th Street Branch, was constructed in 1931-32 according to plans prepared by the Architectural Bureau of the National Council of the YMCA and to the design and under the supervision of architect James C. Mackenzie, Jr.* (nyclc)

13) 1931 Dick Tracy first appears in the New York News.

14) Group Theatre, organization formed in NYC in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg. It was at its height between 1935 and 1937.* (c.e.)

15) Lee Strasberg, American theatrical director, teacher and Actor. He was a co-founder in 1931 of the "Group Theatre" * (c.e.)

16) Nathaniel West, born in NYC. His first novel "The Dream Life of Balso Snell," a garish satire appeared in 1931. * (c.e.)

17) Fox Square, bounded by Flatbush Ave., Nevins St., Fulton St., and Flatbush Ave. Extension, named for the Fox Theatre which opened in 1931 and for William Fox. * (ajtg)

18) American Guild of Authors and Composers 40 W.57th St. N.Y., N.Y. was established in 1931. * (w.a.)

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1) Radio City Music Hall opened on December 27, 1932. It was the first building of the Rockefeller Center complex in New York City and was conceived by theatrical impresario, S.L. "Roxy" Rothafel.


2) Irving Trust Building (Voorhees and Walker): "art deco" setback skyscraper , at 1 Wall street was completed in 1932.

3) 1932 The first department of forensic medicine in the United States is established at NYU.

4) NYU organizes one of the nation's first interdisciplinary research efforts, the Rheumatic Diseases Study Group, helping to usher in the era of modern rheumatology. *(NYU)

5) Radio City Music Hall opened on December 27, 1932. It was the first building of the Rockefeller Center complex in New York City and was conceived by theatrical impresario, S.L. "Roxy" Rothafel

6) College of Aeronautics in Flushing, N.Y. was founded in 1932. * (t.a.)

7) Carl David Anderson, an American physicist born in New York City. For his discovery (1932) of the Positron, he shared with V.F. Hess the 1936 Nobel prize in Physics. * (c.e.)

8) More than one and a half million New Yorkers receive public and private relief . * (nyct)

9) Jewish Information Bureau (1932) 103 Park Avenue N.Y.C. * (ajyb)

10) Jewish Statistical Bureau (1932) 320 Broadway N.Y.C. * (ajyb)

11) Rose Bampton: American operatic soprano. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera house in 1932 in the leading contralto role in Ponchielli's La Gioconda and sang contralto and mezzo-soprano until 1936. She made her soprano debut at the Metropolitan in 1937. *(c.e.)

12) American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1633 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y. was established in 1932. * (t.a.)

Continue on Page: 6  (1933-1940)



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