Mayor Eric Adams
Eric Adams become the 110th Mayor of New York City and moves into Gracie Mansion with only his mattress.
This virtual tour takes us through the nine public rooms of Gracie Mansion as it has evolved along the shore of the East River since its initial construction in 1799.
That year a prosperous Scottish immigrant and New York trans-Atlantic trade merchant named Archibald Gracie built a country house on top of a sleepy, scenic bend overlooking Hellgate—and today the iconic RFK/Triborough Bridge– five miles north of what was then the city limits. The site was sacred to the Lenape tribe, coveted by the Dutch who called it “Horn’s Hook”, and later seized from a Tory household by General Washington as a strategic battery early in the Revolution, soon to be recaptured by the British Navy as an excavated cannonball on display readily testifies.
It was from the ruins of the Revolution that the Gracie family laid the foundation of today’s surviving household.
More than two centuries later, Gracie Mansion is one of the oldest surviving wooden structures in Manhattan, a member of New York’s Historic House Trust. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was among the first wave of city landmarks when designated on Sept. 20, 1966.
Though not really a “mansion” at all, especially if contrasted to the palatial masonry most often associated with such official homes, it is a textbook example of the American Federal-style residential architecture. It has a raised air-circulating ground level, hip roof, symmetrical two-story elevation of simple painted clapboard adorned only by a central entry door with elegant fanlight and side panels surrounded by an open veranda porch supported by thin Doric columns and crowned by a decorative balustrade inflected by Chinese Chippendale tracery.
In the year 1809, Mr. Gracie with his growing brood of six children expanded his county house with two new bedrooms and an enlarged parlor and shifted the entry from the southeast to the northeast as entered today.
And while we cannot say with certainty who served as architect, it could have been the much in demand John McComb Jr, who designed the nearby home of Gracie’s fellow traveler Alexander Hamilton—known still as The Grange—and who went on to win the co-commission to design a new City Hall.
Or it could have been designed by its scandal-plagued builder, Ezra Weeks, who we can attribute with certainty for its construction. We know that Weeks held slaves, whose bondage helped to build the residence still standing today as a place where history is made as well as measured.
We now know that Archibald Gracie also held slaves, whom he manumitted in 1800 and 1801 while evolving to become an ardent abolitionist in sync with the progressive positions held by more and more of his friends and political allies. This was a time in New York City and State history when the cry for freedom gained traction as exemplified in 1799 with Albany’s passage of “An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, a copy of which has been on display since 2015.
Financial hardship caused in part by the trade barriers of the War of 1812 forced Mr. Gracie to sell his house in 1823 to Joseph Foulke and from there, its use evolved in private hands until 1896, when the City appropriated the estate due to the non-payment of taxes.
The property was then incorporated into the 11 acres of East River Park, renamed in 1910 for Carl Schurz in honor of the German-American Civil War general, statesman, and early environmentalist.
After decades of various uses including concession stand and park restrooms, the wood-framed Mansion was restored and became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York from 1924 to 1936.
After that museum left for its present building on Fifth Avenue, the Parks Department’s “power-brokering” Commissioner, Robert Moses, used WPA funds to stabilize and upgrade the structure in the late 1930s and eventually got City Hall to designate the house as the official residence of mayors. In 1942, Fiorello H. La Guardia and his family moved in reluctantly, prompted in part by security precautions mandated by the United States’ entry into World War II.
Following the residences of mayors William O’Dwyer and Vincent Impellittieri, Robert F. Wagner Jr. with his wife Susan and their two children Robert III and Duncan arrived in 1954. After years of sharing their four-bedroom, 4,000 sq. ft. Federal home with its 18th-century acoustics and spatial composition, a constant demand for official gatherings prompted them to establish a path-breaking public private partnership with a mission to enlarge the house with a “public” or “state” wing attached, yet separated inside.
Donations of funds, art, and furnishings with associated provenance were solicited and installed in this seamless 3,000 square feet addition of Federal Revival architecture designed by the septuagenarian classicist, Mott Schmidt.
The wing offers a textbook of the classical Roman tradition with Corinthian capitals with 18th century-style pineapples as markers of welcome placed within the carved acanthus leaves, columns and pilasters surmounted by an entablature adorned by an architrave, frieze, and cornice coves, all arrayed in golden section proportion and perfect symmetry.
After securing all necessary approvals and raising funds, work continued as the First Lady was diagnosed with breast cancer in a battle she lost. Mrs. Wagner never saw her brainchild completed and after the 1966 ribbon cutting by the recently arrived John V. Lindsay, her name was bestowed by the mayor in posthumous memory of a prescient solution that has graced The People’s House ever since: The Susan E. Wagner Wing.
From 1966 to 1977, Mayors John V. Lindsay and Abraham D. Beame resided there with their respective families.
Meanwhile, the original Gracie family landmark itself was suffering years of neglect and the continual erosion of any trace of its origins. To reverse that decline, Mayor Edward I. Koch and founding Chair, Joan K. Davidson, established the Gracie Mansion Conservancy in 1981 as a new public/private partnership. Under its guidance, the first major restoration of the house was undertaken between 1981 and 1984.
Inside the biggest change was a connection cut through a repurposed kitchen, nicknamed “the Hyphen” and providing an accessible bridge between the original Gracie house and the Wagner Wing: The 18th and the 20th centuries. This meant that instead of distinct residential and official zones, there was a multi-purpose hybrid created in its place varying throughout the day.
This is the Jackie Kennedy moment—the impulse to recreate with well-informed authenticity and restore a semblance of historic continuity where it had been eroded.
Details like covered wooden floors, decorated walls, faux bois. faux marbre, Zuber wallpaper, and notably a new exterior palette basing the recorded notes of “yellow” paint matched thanks to the canvas, “The Arrival of the British Queen,” representing the era of the Gracie construction and a Federal-era solution we know existed at the time.
Here is an example of the kind of historic preservation we know and celebrate today—not just decoration but informed intervention reviving with what the best surviving evidence brings to bear. It can be called “speculative authentication.”
In 2002, following the administrations of David N. Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani, the interior and exterior of the “People’s House” were again restored providing increased accessibility to the public and City agencies since the incoming Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg interrupted the tradition of residence by opting to remain in his nearby townhouse and turning Gracie into a historic house museum and special official events venue.
That temporary tear in the historic residential fabric was mended in 2014, when Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray moved in from their home in Brooklyn. Once again Gracie became an active, dynamic residence, where history would again be made.
With the pioneering leadership of First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, an ambitious series of five special art exhibits ensued from 2015 right through 2021, despite the 2020 closures imposed by the COVID 19 pandemic protocols.
The First Lady’s innovative mandate was for adding to the historic narrative of the restored rooms in order to extend the diverse history lessons which the Mansion could impart to the general public and visiting students alike.
In order of installation, they were Windows on the City: Looking Out on Gracie’s New York (1799); New York 1942 marking in 2017 the 75th anniversary of La Guardia’s wartime arrival; New Yorkers at Work and Play; She Persists; A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919-2019, marking centennial passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote; and lastly, CATALYST: Art and Social Justice. This final exhibition featured more than 70 works by New York artists and activists since 1960, celebrating the power of art to spark change and spur progress.
Find their dense, insightful, and inclusive content at graciemansion.org.
This example of inclusive narrative blended with the historic fabric of the mansion itself stands as a model for the future public face of “The People’s House.”
A case in point is a piece commissioned for CATALYST which remains in place as a permanent legacy. Located on the magnificent front lawn, it consists of a greenhouse and farm garden conceived by the artist and galley pioneer, Linda Goode Bryant, along with Project EATS, Active Citizens Project. It provides of a living urban laboratory for plant-based eating by interpreting the foremost language of plants: the healthy vocabulary of organic food.
The tour itinerary is now in place for all those visiting whether in person and virtually moves back through this chronology starting in the Wagner Wing Foyer.
Up a short flight of stairs, there are three principal rooms of the Wagner Wing; The Peach Room; the Ballroom; and the Blue Room.
Then time traveling back through “The Hyphen” from the 20th-century Wagner Wing to the original 18th- century landmark, visitors circulate from the Dining Room to the Library; then across the historic Foyer with its stairs rising to the mansion’s private zone; and lastly into the stately Yellow Parlor, where the interior tour ends.
To learn more about the fine and decorative pieces displayed throughout this interior, please visit the “Permanent Collections” section of the Gracie Mansion website. Find there a beautifully illustrated room by room catalog guide.
And better still, reserve for a free in-person tour in one of the available public slots.
The Conservancy continues to operate as a charitable organization dedicated to enhancing and enlivening its namesake. Its mission is to preserve and honor Gracie Mansion’s Federal Period origins while also making sure it remains as forward-looking and welcoming as the city it serves.
Thanks for stopping by and see you soon in person at 88th Street and East End Avenue in Manhattan at the northern tip of Carl Schurz Park.
Welcome to The People’s House!
Eric Adams become the 110th Mayor of New York City and moves into Gracie Mansion with only his mattress.
Joe Biden becomes the 46th president in the United States. Kamala Harris becomes the first Asian and Black woman to be Vice-President of the United States
New York city become the epicenter to the coronavirus 3 weeks after the first case was discovered.
Gracie Mansion celebrates its 75th Anniversary with an installation titled New York 1942.
New York City introduces 3-K for all early childhood education program for 3-year-olds.
Queens native, Donald J. Trump is elected as 45th president.
Mayor de Blasio unveils a plan to seek public, private, city and state funds to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units, making it mandatory for developers to incorporate inclusionary housing.
Pope Francis becomes the third pontiff to visit New York; his visit includes an address to the General Assembly, Interfaith Services at the 9/11 Memorial, and mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Ticker tape parade along the “Canyon of Heroes” honoring the USA following its historic run at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup win to give the country its third title, becoming the only nation to achieve that feat.
The Gracie Mansion Conservancy marks its 35th anniversary in 2016 with renewed public access and programming.
The New York metropolitan area becomes home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, constituting the largest metropolitan Asian American group in the United States and the largest Asian-national metropolitan diaspora in the Western Hemisphere.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is elected 109th mayor of New York City, he and First Lady Chirlane McCray move into Gracie Mansion with their children Chiara and Dante; they are the first Mansion residents in 13 years.
Mayor de Blasio unveils his ambitious plan to provide free pre-kindergarten classrooms by the 2015-2016 school year.
Hurricane Sandy causes approximately $65 billion in damages in New York and 23 other US states.
The 9/11 Memorial opens 10 years after the attack.
Governor Andrew Cuomo introduces the Marriage Equality Act which passes the Assembly
New York City gain the largest population of American Indians and Alaska Natives of any location within the United States.
After two successful referenda, the period of service by a Mayor and other municipal office holders is limited to two successive four-year terms
Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office.
The Great Recession shakes the global economy.
Citi Field is built as a replacement of Shea Stadium in 2008 and becomes the new home of the New York Mets.
Port Authority reaches a deal to own the One World Trade Center in 2006
Reopening of the Museum of Modern Art after the designs of Yoshio Taniguchi and Kohn Pedersen Fox.
Second major restoration of interior and exterior of Gracie Mansion as “the People’s House;” Mayor Bloomberg opts not to move in.
The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act is passed by the New York State Legislature.
9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon; the 4th plane, likely intended to destroy the White House, is downed by passengers in western Pennsylvania
Michael Bloomberg is elected 108th mayor of New York City
Hillary Rodham Clinton elected Senator for New York
Rudy Giuliani is elected 107th mayor of New York City; takes up residence in Gracie Mansion with wife Donna Hanover and children Andrew and Caroline
Guillermo Linares wins his race for New York City Council becoming the first Dominican elected to municipal government.
David Dinkins is elected 106th mayor of New York City, the first African American to hold the post; takes up residence in Gracie Mansion with wife Joyce
NYSE registers its first 100 million share day.
Local playwright and novelist Larry Kramer helps to establish the Gay Men’s Health Crisis ACT UP.
The epidemic later known as AIDS/HIV is discovered and announced; the New York LGBT community is hit hardest.
Immigration of Dominicans to New York emerges as a major force in New York City demographics in search of greater social and economic opportunities. Within a decade Dominicans constitute New York’s second largest Hispanic population.
Mayor Edward I. Koch and philanthropist Joan K. Davidson create the Grand Central Conservancy as an ongoing public/private stewardship partner for the care of public interpretation of the mayoral residence.
John Lennon is killed while returning home to the landmark Dakota on Central Park West.
MTA workers goes on strike on April 1, 1980 to protest for higher wages.
Ed Koch is elected 105th mayor of New York City; takes up residence at Gracie Mansion.
Blackouts in New York City become symbols of urban decline and the city-wide fiscal crisis.
Origins of hip-hop and punk music in The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
The “Op Sail” celebration of the tall ships for America’s Bicentennial and the Democratic Convention nominating Jimmy Carter signals New York’s resilient revival.
Daily News headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead” as the city prepares for bankruptcy.
Abraham Beame is elected 104th mayor of New York City, the first Jewish mayor; takes up residence in Gracie Mansion with wife Mary.
Hip hop and rap emerge for the first time at African American Block Parties held in or near the 1520 Sedgwick Avenue apartments in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. Here such pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc, Kurtis Blow, Grandmasters Caz and Flash introduced a new vocal style and the percussive breaks of manipulated turntables.
Completion of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center.
Herman Badillo takes the oath as Bronx Borough President to become the first Puerto Rican elected to New York City government
Stonewall Riots in New York spark the modern gay liberation movement; Mayor Lindsay cooperates in getting questions about homosexuality removed from New York City hiring practices. Brooklyn native and educator Shirley Chisholm is elected to the US House of Representatives from New York City’s District 12, becoming the first African American woman ever to serve in Congress. Her resolute motto is “unbought and unbossed.” In 1972, she would become the first African-American to run for a major party’s Presidential nomination, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts completes its campus after seven years of construction
Two hundred thousand students take part in a giant anti-war rally in Central Park
Mayor Lindsay opens the Susan F. Wagner Wing of Gracie Mansion conceived by the former First Lady who fell victim to cancer before completion. Architect Mott B. Schmidt designed the new ceremonial rooms in the Federal-revival style.
Mayor Wagner signs the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission into law.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 caused a revival in Chinese immigration, and the community’s population gradually increased until 1968, when the quota was lifted and the Chinese American population skyrocketed nowhere more so than to New York City.
John Lindsay is elected 103rd mayor of New York City; takes up residence in Gracie Mansion with wife Mary and children John Jr., Anne, Katharine, and Margaret.
Robert F. Wagner initiates a plan for an addition to Gracie Mansion, a simple two-story wing, unobtrusively attached to the main house later named the Susan B. Wagner Wing in memory of her death during its construction; New York architect, Mott B. Schmidt, is hired as lead architect for a federal-style design reflects the original 1799 mansion.
Opening of a second World’s Fair at Flushing Meadow, Queens
Shea Stadiums is built and becomes the home to the Mets
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.
Opening of the Pan Am Building by Emery Roth & Sons, Pietro Belluschi, and Walter Gropius.
Demolition of McKim, Mead & White’s Pennsylvania Rail Road Station gives rise to the Historic Preservation movement
President John F. Kennedy comes to Gracie Mansion to give a speech about medical care for seniors to a group of Mayors across the United States.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum opens on Fifth Avenue.
Large-scale immigration of Haitian to New York City begins amidst the reign of terror unleashed by the dictatorship of Francis Duvalier
The Village Voice is launched by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, John Wilcock, and Norman Mailer on October 26, 1955 from a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village, its initial coverage area.
Subway and bus systems are put under management of the Transit Authority; demolition of 3rd Avenue “el” train.
Robert F. Wagner Jr. is elected 102nd mayor of New York City; moves into Gracie Mansion with first wife Susan and their children Duncan and Robert III.
The first mass-produced token to be put into use was coined in 1953 when the fare was fifteen cents. This version was used until 1970 when the fare rose to twenty cents.
Opening of Lever House on Park Avenue, designed by Gordon Bunshaft – the city’s first “glass box” International Style office building
The Census reports that 56% of the city’s population is foreign-born, or of foreign or mixed parentage
Vincent R. Impelletteri becomes acting mayor upon resignation of William O’Dwyer.; elected the 101st mayor, the first since the consolidation of greater New York in 1898 elected without a major party’s ballot line; election is a populist uprising against the political system; moves into Gracie Mansion with wife Elizabeth
New York native Gore Vidal’s publishes his third novel, The City and the Pillar; it one of the first American novels depicting an opening gay and thriving protagonist.
The Met Gala is founded by Eleanor Lambert.
Jackie Robinson signed by Branch Rickey and his Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American to play Major League baseball.
New York native and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is named by President Truman as a delegate to the nascent United Nations, where as head of its Human Rights Commission she issues the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the core principle of the new world body
Establishment of United Nations on a plot of land purchased by the Rockefeller family at the behest yet again of Robert Moses; first performances of the Ballet Society, formed by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirsten and later called the New York City Ballet
New York City Victory Parade:82nd Airborne Division; chosen as the “All American Division” to represent the Army and the end of WWII
William O’Dwyer is elected 100th mayor of New York City; moves into Gracie Mansion with his first wife Catherine; upon their divorce second wife Sloan moves in
The end of World War II brings Times Square ticker tape on V.E. Day, May 8, and V.J. Day, August 14, following use of the atom bomb in Japan
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected 32nd President of the United States.
New York Fashion Week is established by the Council of Fashion Designs of America (CFDA) founder Eleanor Lambert to promote American designers
Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and his family move in to Gracie Mansion as the first official residents of New York’s “Little White House,” as always sought by regional public servant, Robert Moses, then near the pinnacle of his broad powers; Moses uses war time security as the catalytic imperative for the move.
Construction begins on Idlewild Airport, now known as JFK.
The New York World’s Fair takes place in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, heralding “the world of tomorrow” at the threshold of the greatest cataclysm in global history.
City enacts 2% sales tax for unemployment relief.
City enacts 2% sales tax for unemployment relief. Robert Moses becomes Parks Commissioner for New York City.
Robert Moses becomes Parks Commissioner for New York City.
Fiorello H. LaGuardia is elected 99th mayor of New York City
Dedication of Empire State Building; Whitney Museum of American Art opens; George Washington Bridge connecting Manhattan to the American mainland opens; first television station opens in New York.
The Chrysler Building is completed.
Construction of the Empire State building begins.
Museum of Modern Art is founded.
“Black Tuesday” stock market crash marks onset of the Great Depression in the U.S.
Charles Lindbergh is given an enormous ticker-tape parade to celebrate his solo flight across the Atlantic; opening of the Holland Tunnel; the Bell Telephone Laboratory sends first television pictures from New York to Washington.
The New Yorker magazine is founded by Harold Ross.
Gracie Mansion houses the newly-created Museum of the City of New York.
The first baseball game is played in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The beginning of Prohibition.
The Daily News is founded by Joseph Medill Patterson, the first U.S. daily printed in tabloid format.
The Yankees sign Babe Ruth; nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”, he begins his MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieves his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees.
The United States enters World War I; wartime curfew is set at 1 AM, canceling all-night license for the sale of intoxicating drinks. The American entry into World War I prompts Congress to allow Puerto Ricans to migrate freely to the United States. New York is their primary destination. The Great Migration to New York continues through the 1970s with barrio neighborhoods taking hold in every borough. On November 2, the women of New York gain the right to vote for the first time, three years preceding the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution making universal suffrage the law of the land.
The Apollo Theater opens in Harlem.
World War I breaks out in Europe; the New York Stock Exchange is closed for 42 months.
The RMS Titanic sinks; Colonel Archibald Gracie IV, an American writer, amateur historian, and real estate investor, survives the sinking of the RMS Titanic by climbing aboard an overturned collapsible lifeboat only to die 8 months later from the lasting damage of hypothermia; he is the last survivor to leave the ship and first adult survivor to die.
Completion of Manhattan Bridge linking Manhattan and Brooklyn; National Negro Committee forms; reorganizes at a conference in New York City’s Henry Street Settlement to become the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, aka NAACP.
Motor buses replace the last horse-drawn stage coach; metered Taxi cabs appear; the first of the Ziegfeld Follies is staged on Broadway.
The Julliard School is founded in 1905 and becomes one of the leading schools in the world for performing arts education.
Construction for Penn Station begins (1905)
The General Slocum catches fire and sinks in the East River on a chartered run, carrying members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (German Americans from Little Germany, Manhattan) to a church picnic; an estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board die; the General Slocum disaster is the New York area’s worst in terms of loss of life until the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Stuyvesant High School is founded in 1904 as the first specialized high school in New York City. It started out as an all-boys school but would become co-ed in 1969.
Construction for Grand Central Terminal begins
New York City native Theodore Roosevelt becomes the 26th President of the United states after the assassination of President McKinley
Race riot on Eighth Avenue from 27th to 42nd Streets triggers movement of African Americans to Harlem.
With victory in the Spanish American War, Puerto Rico becomes an American territory.
Opening of the Bronx Zoo by the New York Zoological Society.
Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island become Greater New York City led by the brilliant political tactician Andrew Haswell Green.
The New York City Borough of Queens is authorized on May 4, 1897 by a vote of the New York State Legislature; It is believed that the county is named after Catherine of Braganza, queen of England in 1763 when it was one of twelve counties comprising New York colonies; the county was founded alongside Kings County (Brooklyn,) which is named after her husband, King Charles II, and Richmond County (Staten Island,) named after Charles’s illegitimate son, the 1st Duke of Richmond)
The Brooklyn Museum opens in the former Brooklyn Apprentice’s Library.
The “Dow Jones Industrial Average” is officially launched. It is the first of several indices of stock and bond prices on the New York Stock Exchange.
New York’s municipal government acquires Gracie Mansion from private owners
Formation of New York Public Library; electric street lighting reaches 42nd Street
Ellis Island opens as city’s depot for immigrants.
The New York Botanical Garden opens on the former Lorillard Estate in the Bronx.
Carnegie Hall opens its doors in 1891
Reporters Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser found The Wall Street Journal, which is published for the first time on July 8, 1889, and begins delivery of the Dow Jones News Service via telegraph.
New York’s first ticker tape parade takes place for President Grover Cleveland.
First use of electric streetcars
A newspaper is created in Staten Island by printer John J. Crawford and businessman James C. Kennedy as the Richmond County Advance, later re-named The Staten Island Advance. It remains the only daily newspaper published in the borough, and the only borough to have its own major daily paper.
The U.S. receives the Statue of Liberty as a gift from France; the “el” trains extend to the Bronx.
Brooklyn Bridge opens as an engineering marvel linking Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Metropolitan Opera opens its first dedicated theater on Broadway.
The greatest wave of Italian and Russian-Jewish immigration to New York begins as impelled by hardship and persecution across Europe.
New York City’s first electric street lights installed.
Opening of the first Madison Square Garden.
Opening of the American Museum of Natural History.
Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone in New York City?
Completion of an expanded Central Park to its full present 843 acres.
The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is founded, an institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public.
Manhattan’s first elevated railroad or “el” begins operation; first trans-continental rail car from California reaches New York City.
Metropolitan Museum of Art opens; the American Renaissance gains momentum in order to beautify the built landscape.
Chinese immigrants begin arriving in New York City, coming to Lower Manhattan around 1870, looking for the “gold” America has to offer, however, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, causes an abrupt decline in the number of Chinese who emigrate to the City and the rest of the United States.
Harper’s Bazar is founded in New York; William Randolph Hearst changes it to Harper’s Bazaar in 1929.
The War concludes with a Union Victory and slavery ends eight months later with the passage of the 13th Amendment
Publication of the Report of the Council of Hygiene and Public Health of the Citizens’ Association of New York upon the sanitary condition of the City, the first such sanitary survey of any American city which spawns the creation of the Metropolitan Board of Health.
Archibald Gracie III, dies serving as a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War after moving his family to Mobile, Alabama in 1857 to work for his father’s firm. Looking out at the Union lines through his telescope, an artillery shell explodes in front of him, breaking his neck and killing him instantly, however he is credited with saving General Lee’s life during the Siege of Petersburg.
President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
In the Proclamation’s wake, the Civil War Draft Riots in New York result in the deaths of at least 119 people, as Democratic Party stalwarts incite the white working class to violence against both the Federal Government and black New Yorkers, whose new freedom is distorted as a threat to their livelihoods
Firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina marks of the opening of the Civil War, finding New Yorkers torn in their chosen allegiances
The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents its first public performance.
Abraham Lincoln speaks at Cooper Union.
The blueprint of America’s first landscaped public park, named simply “Greensward” and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is selected by the Board of Commissioners of Central Park from 33 competing entries.
Cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral laid.
Ah Ken arrives in New York City; he is the first Chinese person credited as having permanently immigrated to what becomes known as Chinatown.
Gang feud between the Bowery Boys and the Dead Rabbits is quelled by militia in the notorious Five Points neighborhood.
To accommodate the growing number of immigrants to the United States who use New York as their first port of call, an official immigration center is established at Castle Garden.
Great Irish Famine leads to the first major influx of Irish immigrants to New York.
Henry Jarvis Raymond, an American journalist and politician co-founds with George Jones The New York Times, initially published as the New-York Daily Times.
The Astor Library opens as New York’s first free public library in the building now home to the Joseph Papp Public Theater on Lafayette Street.
City College, later known as City University of New York (CUNY) is founded in Harlem as the Free Academy of the City of New York by wealthy businessman and president of the Board of Education, Townsend Harris.
Opening of Croton Aqueduct supplies the city with fresh water.
The Great Western, the first regular transatlantic steamship service, sails from the Battery.
New York native Martin Van Buren becomes the 8th President of the United States.
December 16-17: fire destroys much of the property between South Street, Coenties Slip, Broad and Wall Streets; the loss of 700 buildings and property worth $22 million plunges most of the City’s insurance industry into bankruptcy.
The first recorded U.S. bank robbery occurs at the City Bank in New York $245,000 is stolen. This amount in 2017 would be approximately $4,200,000,000!
Archibald Gracie dies from the skin disease still known as St. Anthony’s Fire.
Abolition of slavery in New York State; the first black newspaper in the United States, Freedom’s Journal, is founded in New York.
Coney Island remains isolated until the Coney Island Road and Bridge Company constructs a bridge and toll house on Coney Island Creek; horse-drawn carriages soon speed south to the beach; Coney Island is transformed into the “Playground of the World”.
Mercantile Library is founded to discourage young merchants’ clerks from spending their evenings lounging on street corners or frequenting houses of ill repute.
First motorized ferry between New York and Staten Island, commanded by Captain John De Forest, the brother-in-law of Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1838, Vanderbilt, who had grown wealthy in the steamboat business in New York waters, buys control of the company.
Formation of New York Stock and Exchange Board.
Namesake War begins against Great Britain and causes a loss in ship trade that nearly bankrupts Archibald Gracie, forcing the sale of Gracie Mansion in 1823 to his son-in-law Joseph Foulke.
The Mayor approves the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811 for the streets of Manhattan
President Jefferson’s embargo on foreign trade shuts down New York ports.
The cornerstone of City Hall is laid following the design of architects Joseph-François Mangin and John McComb, Jr., the same architect likely responsible for Gracie Mansion as well as Alexander Hamilton’s nearby Grange homestead.
The Gracies move into their new mansion overlooking the waters of “Hell Gate,” where the Hudson River, East River, and Long Island Sound powerfully converge. Alexander Hamilton launches The New-York Evening Post after recruiting investors at an outing at Gracie Mansion with Archibald Gracie as host and business partner.
Alexander Hamilton launches The New-York Evening Post after recruiting investors at an outing at Gracie Mansion with Archibald Gracie as host and business partner.
Work begins on Gracie Mansion
Governor John Jay signs into law an Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, granting eventual freedom to children born of slaves in New York.
George Washington dies at Mount Vernon, VA.
New York City adopts the dollar, dime, and cent for public use.
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the City’s first black church, is founded.
“Yankees” from New England make up the first great wave of domestic migration. Most of the migrants who come to New York City between l790 and 1840 are descendants of the original colonial settlers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
New York City serves the first national capital.
George Washington becomes first President of the United States, sworn in on the upper balcony of the original Federal Hall on New York’s Wall Street.
The African Free School, the City’s first black school, is founded by the Manumission Society.
The devout, enslaved Catholic Pierre Toussaint arrives in New York City, where his owners seek refuge from Haiti’s nascent revolution against it French colonizers. As a successful businessman, who secured his freedom and used a growing fortune to serve New York’s poor, Toussaint was venerated Pope John Paul II in 1996 on the path to Catholic sainthood
Founded. Archibald Gracie sails to America with a cargo of goods; uses the proceedings to invest in a mercantile company in New York City; later moves to Petersburg, Virginia, and engages in the export of tobacco to Great Britain; in 1793, he moves back to New York and becomes a commissary merchant and ship owner (Archibald Gracie and Sons, East India Merchants); Gracie is a business partner of Alexander Hamilton’s and a friend of John Jay’s.
Law of May 12 bars Loyalists from voting or holding office. This law disqualifies more than two-thirds of all of the inhabitants of the City and County of New York.
British occupy New York City during the course of the American Revolution.
November 30, 1782 – John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens and John Adams sign preliminary articles of peace with
Britain. Definitive treaty signed September 3, 1783. Evacuation of British Army and
Loyalists occurs via Staten Island.
July 4th, publication of The Declaration of Independence at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia; five days later on July 9th, 1776, New York’s Provincial Congress joins the other 12 colonies by approving it.
Establishment of the New York Chamber of Commerce to promote the “general interest of the Colony, and the commerce of the city in particular”.
The Continental Congress meets in New York to organize resistance to British
Parliamentary authority after passage of
the Stamp Act.
Monthly packet ship service established
between New York and London.
Last slave market in New York City closes at Clark’s Slip on the East River shoreline at the foot of Wall Street, where business leaders and traders gathering at the nearby Tontine’s Coffee House finally reject its savage blight.
New York City passes first laws requiring medical practitioners to be examined and licensed.
On June 25th Archibald Gracie was born in Dumfries, Scotland, destined for a career in the West Indies shipping trade.
Columbia University is found as Kings
College in New York City.