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


 

Introduction

Suppose I was a reporter in the year 2006, assigned to write an article on the city of New York. My first step would be to interview its residents, getting their opinions on what they think of the Big Apple. After all, New Yorkers are known for telling it exactly as it is, so let's hear what they want to say regarding their home town.

QUESTION:  Hello, Can you tell me what you like about New York City?

RESPONSES:

"Get atta my face!," "Oy Vey!," "It's cool," "eh!," " I hate living here it's very stressful," " The apartments are so expensive unless you live in a rat infested roach hotel," " There are  lots of great theaters especially on Broadway, but watch out for the muggers and the pick-pockets,"  " Those pushcart peddlers will rob you blind and selling hot merchandise no less," " Thank God, my cousin Sheila lives in Queens, at least there's trees there," "There are lots of good ethnic restaurants," " Nobody ever sleeps!," "CLAUSTOPHOBIA!," " I hate the congestion of traffic especially during the rush hour," "I live on the fifth floor and that damn elevator  never works, this  rotten landlord with all the money he makes on us, you'd  think he'd get it fixed!,"  "There's no place to park unless you pile the cars on top of each other," "Freedom of Expression," "Great paying jobs but what a hassle to get there", "Forget the subways, it's like being in a can of sardines," " I love it," " #%!&@ ," " Hic! I'll drink to that, can you spare a buck?," "It always looks dirty,"  " New York City has some real nice parks, you'll just have to deal with the pigeon crap," "Too many immigrants," "Some of the neighborhoods look like a war zone," " It's a great place for bargain hunting", "Those crooked Taxi-cab drivers will ride you around the same block three times and charge you an arm and a leg", " I'm afraid to go out at night," "Ya take ya life in ya hands when you cross the street, these crazy drivers don't believe in red lights or stop signs here!," " Awesome," "It's a marathon, they'll knock ya down if ya don't get atta their way," "Everyone's too hostile," "Oh how I love the annual parades they are such a beautiful sight," "I've got gates on my windows and three locks on my door doesn't that tell you something?," "I hate the summer, smells like last year's garbage is still out there,"--and the list of complaints and applause continues.

Ok! Ok! I get the picture. To my private list of both critical and laudatory responses (if nothing else, New York is a paradox), I would add Richard Swift's article ;"Life in the Shadows, the Underside of New York City," which describes the nervousness, tensions, hostilities, and the frustrations of living in crowded conditions in today's city. You can find this article at:

http://www.newint.org/issue178/keynote.htm  

I would also include Robert Kendall's "I Happen To Love New York."

New York, New York: It's a hellava town. New York City has always had its share of growing pains, complete with political, social and economic upheavals galore. What are some of the recurring issues? Crime; accommodating masses of impoverished immigrants and migrants; the deterioration of neighborhoods; intolerable housing and extortionate rents; high taxes; unemployment; political and racial riots; police brutality and political corruption: and that's just the beginning. Yet, in spite of all the discomforts and miseries, miraculously, most of those who crowd the city streets choose to stay. New York, New York.

Its history of over 350 years deserves attention as one of the world's most magnificent cities, studied for its steady and rapid growth, its material prosperity and its generous representation of diverse ethnic groups and religion.

New York City has unmatched theaters and museums and architecture. It is the financial center of the United States-- some say the world--, as well as the hub of American advertising, fashion, publishing, and radio Television broadcasting. New York is definitely not one of the natural wonders of the world: Millions visit the city each year to see what humans, not nature, can achieve.

Walter Barrett, author of Old Merchants, in his second series Book (1863), captures New York City :

"New York City is the heart_____the seat of vitality. Stop her
beatings, and the prosperity, the liberty, aye, the existence of the United
States is ended. The Nation will die. . . . Her great strength cannot be
destroyed."

*************************

In researching New York City's history I have compiled a list of factual "Firsts", based on these words: established, created, founded, introduced, built, opened, begun, commenced, settled, incorporated--and many more. I mean these search words to provide insight into the growth and development of this magnificent city.

My list encompassing 1600 to the 1900s will , I hope, prove grist for the mill of your curious mind. I have arranged the entries chronologically.


Miriam Medina
Native New Yorker                               
Manhattan

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