May 22, 1895: Teddy Roosevelt is appointed Police Commissioner of NYC. He gains a no-nonsense reputation busting crooked cops and cracking down on Blue Laws. In three years he will be elected Governor. In six years he will be elected President being the only president to date born in New York City.
pic via longstreet.typepad.com
May 8th, 1945: The city erupts into spontaneous celebration as it is announced that the Nazi have been defeated and Europe is liberated. Times Square is completely flooded with revelers long into the night.
image via georgewashingtonwired.org
May 7, 1789: A week after his inauguration, a group of New York’s upper society sponsor a ball in honor of the first president in Manhattan. His wife, Martha, is not able to attend because she is wrapping up the First couple’s affairs in Mount Vernon. It is reported that he danced the night away regardless.
image via kids.brittanica.com
May 6, 1626: Most certainly a defining day in NYC’s history. The Canarsie Indians sell the island of Manhattan to the Dutch East India company. Peter Minuit, governor at the time, is eager to facilitate this transaction because the Dutch are quickly outgrowing their original settlement on Nut Island (Governor’s). Although myth dictates that the island was sold for merely $24 worth of trinkets, the truth of the matter is that it’s closer to 60 guilders which is roughly $2000 dollars in today’s currency. Also, the Canarsie thought they Dutch were merely paying for rights to hunt the island.
Beautiful day selling at greenwood park!
image via Columbia.edu
May 2, 1853: Replacing Madison Cottage which was a popular tavern and cattle exhibition hall, Franconi’s Hippodrome opened on 23rd Street & 5th Avenue. Designed to mimic a Roman-style arena the 10,000 seat space would come to offer chariot races. It would be one of the earliest precursors to Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, in just two years it would go bankrupt and be razed to make way for the Fifth Avenue Hotel.
photo via all-that-is-interesting.com
May 1, 1931: After a mere 17 months from groundbreaking to completion the Empire State Building is opened today. The building was in a highly publicized battle to win the title of “world’s tallest building” along with the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street. Each building enjoyed a year as the tallest until the Empire State Building clearly surpassed them months before it’s completion. The opening ceremony included President Hoover switching on the lights from a button at the White House.
Because of the Depression, most of the floors of the building would remain unrented branding it with the nickname “The Empty State Building.”
April 30, 1789: George Washington is sworn in as the first President of the United States on the balcony of Federal Hall. Located on Wall Street, the site is chosen aptly because it is home to the first United States Congress. After Washington takes his oath of office administered by the Chancellor of New York, Robert Livingston, a passage is quickly chosen at random in the Bible from Genesis 49:13. Livingston then shouts “Long Live George Washington President of the United States!” The people on the street below cheer and a 13-gun salute is fired off. Washington later retires to the Senate Chamber where he delivers the first inaugural address. It is just over 1400 words long.