Mayor Eric Adams
Eric Adams become the 110th Mayor of New York City and moves into Gracie Mansion with only his mattress.
Once the Dutch made a pact with the native people of Mannahatta (“island of many hills”), on August 30th, 1645[i], one of those seeking farmland was Sybolt Claessens (aka “Claesz”), a colonial carpenter. He was granted a tract of land where Gracie Mansion now stands. While the deed states that it was “given” to him by his friend Director-General Willem Kieft of the Dutch West India Company, it was instead a patent, and a patent must be paid for by the newcomer to the original occupants. Who were the original landlords and how much would they want for it?
That was left for Sybolt to sort out.
History tells us Claessens stayed put for quite a while, as he worked out an understanding with the local First People, keeping in mind that these Lenape tribe members had a different understanding of the stewardship and ownership of land.
The Council Minutes of New Netherland show he was financially strapped, struggling to build a clapboard house with a tile roof and running into constant legal problems, with at least seven court appearances in a short span of time. [ii]
Imagine for a moment confronting Sybolt on the slope facing the confluence of rivers called Hellegat,[iii] which he named “Horn’s Hook,”[iv] after his hometown of Hoorn, on the Zuyder Zee in Holland. In all likelihood, someone arrived to resolve matters while still time to do so.
Perhaps, for example, a local sachem came to Claessens to forge an understanding that might be strange by Dutch standards: he asked the new arrival to provide the native people with trade goods worth 200 guilders[v] for the right to hunt, farm, fish and build as long as he lived. In addition, there was a worthy presumption by the Lenape that care would be taken of the environment overall during this lifetime’s use (including access to eagle nests to gather their elegant feathers to indicate rank or ceremonial duty).[vi]
Sybolt in turn might have agreed to bring the trade goods at noon of the next full moon to enter into a treaty of peace or at least co-existence. The sachem would have accepted it as a token of friendship, or another way of saying, “Welcome to Horn’s Hook.”
This beautiful land is the southern end of the Rechawanis (retch-a-WAN-is) territory or “land of small sandy streams/tributaries,” and is the home of the Rechgawawank, (retch-ga-wa-wahnk) “people of the beautiful sandy streams/tributaries,” which flow eastward into the “East River.” It is not a river but a strait they called Muscoota,” (mus-KOO-tah) “marshy place of reeds and duck blinds.” It is fairly shallow (so treacherous to navigate), and flows in many directions at once with whirlpools resulting.
Hellegat might have been the place where, in 1609, an exploratory shallop dropped from the deck of the Half Moon and led by first mate Jon Colman, got delayed and turned around. A fog rolled in at twilight as Colman tried to enter the mouth of a tributary called Aquehung, (AK-we-hong; soon to be called the Bronx River[vii]), at a place called Snakapins (SNAK-a-pinz), which would soon be called Claessens Point.
Wherever this scenario took place, the unfortunate Colman was likely near the riverine “Fort Knox” of the mighty Siwony neighbors who ran a wampum “factory” with nature’s valued quahog shells, carved and strung together for trade, above all, with the Haudenasaunee (HO-din-o-SHON-ee, or Iroquois) upstate, by canoeing along an inland route to reach Snakapins. [viii] The first mate stood up in the rowboat, called out in greeting, yet then took an arrow in the neck, slowly succumbing to the wound on his return to Henry Hudson’s Halve Maen (the Dutch origin of the English translation better known today). While accidental and duly defensive, things stayed tense in the aftermath between the local Confederacy and the New Netherlandish arrivals.
The Canarsie people were cousins living on the Strait’s other side as boat-going defenders of the Muscoota and its many islands. They called the zone Minnehanonck, (min-ee-HAN-onk) meaning “place of tributaries where plums grow in abundance.” This is in reference to the Graves plum and other beach varieties which grow in the area.[ix] Another abundant food here were the oysters, which according to Henry Hudson, were among the finest in the world.[x]
The main tributary that meets the East River right here at Horn’s Hook is the Harlem River, called by the First People the “Elder River,” or “Kickeshika” (kik-eh-SHEE-ka). This was where some of the earliest ancestors settled thousands of winters before.
All those settling showed great respect for this sacred place, above all, living in harmony with it. The Dutch changed the waterway’s name to Harlem (along with the western shore’s land), as the homesick immigrants noticed that it was the same distance from New Amsterdam, as “old” Haarlem was back home to Amsterdam (plus a similar thoroughfare between them).[xi] But to the tribes already there, it remained the Kickeshika.[xii]
The waters of Long Island Sound, which the First People called Manunketesuk (man-nun-KET-ee-suhk, loosely “Where the Water Comes Out at the Great Island”), pour in from the east around a cluster of rocky islands. One of the smaller islands is called Tenkenas[xiii], after the Siwanoy sub-tribe living nearby.[xiv]
The channels on both sides of Hog Island come together at its point, which is also the point of reference for the Horn’s Hook southern boundary. The islands, like several others here, such as Randall’s and Ward’s, were collectively called “Minnehanonck” by the east-shore resident Canarsie.
One island was sold to the Dutch by Seyseys, Chief of the Marechkawik branch of the Canarsie in 1637; only in 1973 did it come to be known as “Roosevelt” in honor of the late namesake president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Horn’s Hook and surrounding land was under the supervision of Chief Willem, leader of the Rechgawawank, who answered to the Weeqaueskeck[xv] of the Wappingers Confederacy to the north. Because of his strong leadership skills, he shared chiefly duties at times with Oritami on behalf of the great “canton,” as the Dutch labeled it. Willem and Chief Oritami served as negotiators for the Lenape natives to forge the Peace Treaty of August 30th, 1645. Along with Minqua Sachemack, a Susquehannock, they formed the triumvirate of a great commonwealth, which came to govern the Hudson Valley from Staten Island north to Bear Mountain in association with the Mohicans. All share the Mohicanituck (mo-hee-KAN-i-tuck) or North River, soon to be called the Hudson, after the Dutch-sponsored Englishman.
There are several small plum bush-lined tributaries around Hell’s Gate most of which were later channeled through underground pipes. One was called Sunkisq, opposite today’s Roosevelt Island, that the Dutch transliterated as Sunswick, “Sunny Encampment.”[xvi] There it meets the East River just 2500 feet away from Horn’s Hook. Another waterway runs right by Gracie Mansion, while to the north (at 108th Street), is a large east-west stream where the Rechewanis lived on both sides with its source known now as Morningside Park at 125th. Just above is a village called Conykeekst (kon-ee-KEEKST).[xvii]
Nieuw Stad Creek is another tributary, which meets the East River at a Canarsie village just below Roosevelt Island, named ultimately after the “new town” of Elmhurst located in Queens. On the south it is fed by English Kill and Whale Creek, and on the north by Maspeth (MAS-peth, Bad Water) Creek and Dutch Kills.
There are also several nearby trails. Just behind Horn’s Hook is “the Path to the Wading Place,” a major trade route. The name derives from a shallow place in the Harlem River at a village called Shorrakin, where it was best to traverse, which one day will become Harlem River Park at 128th Street. The sandy territory between the East River and the Path to the Wading Place (roughly Third Avenue), is that of the Rechgawank sachemdom, part of the Wappingers Confederacy, including the land at Horn’s Hook.
There is a modest shoreside trail too which a grooved stone axe found at 77th Street at the FDR Drive serves to summon the memory of the original “New Yorkers.” Another path led across Manhattan ending at a shoreline landing on the Hudson soon known as Stryker Bay, while a hilly third wound up to today’s 94th Street to the village of Konaandekong village. This village was the home of another Sunkskwa or female sachem, as the Dutch village name means “The King’s Queen,” or perhaps “Queen, then King.”[xviii]
This historically transformational yet rarely explored dislocating contact endures in the place names themselves, offering a glimpse to visitors today, whether digital or live, of the lively and complex culture that thrived at this place for as many as 50,000 years before the Dutch West India Company arrived to colonize.
Descendant of the Mi’kmaq People of the northeastern woodlands
Director of the Center for Algonquian Culture since 1998
[i] On August 30th, 1645, Kieft celebrated the treaty he made with Oratami, leader of the Tappan Commonwealth and sachem of the Hackensack, with a three cannon salute, “in honor of the solemn peace.” The brass six pound cannon exploded and gunman Jacobsen Roy’s arm was permanently injured. Council Minutes, Vol IV, translation, p. 263. Volume_IV_-_Council_Minutes_1638-1649.pdf (newnetherlandinstitute.org)
[ii] Feb 4th, 1644 Sybolt as defendant versus Jochim Kersteede (p. 212); May 25th 1644 Sybolt as plaintiff (p. 218); Jan. 5th, 1645 Sybolt as defendant versus Isaac Allerton (p. 254); June 7th, 1645 Sybolt as defendant versus Nicholas Coorn, asks for more time to pay for tiles (p. 314) Sept. 13. 1646. Sybolt as plaintiff suing Rouloff Jansen, apparently in error (p. 340); Nov. 30th, 1646, Sybolt as plaintiff, suing Jan Haes for damage to clapboards, to pay immediately under threat of imprisonment. (p. 348); Jan. 16th, 1647 Sybolt versus Cornelius Tonissen over money (p.356), at least seven different legal disputes with his fellow Dutchmen over money, etc.
[iii] Various spellings, this one is from the Council Minutes of New Netherlands, vol. IV., translated into English. The Dutch sea captain Adriaen Block it called Helle Gadt, or clear opening, but then changed to Heil Gadt, Gates of Hell, after a few annoying encounters with it. The ship he sailed through Heil Gadt was the Onrust, or “Restless,” an obvious reference to the accursed “Flying Dutchman,” and the first seagoing ship built in North America, with Lenape labor.
[iv] A hook is a point of land; a hoorn is a horn such as played in a band. But there is an obvious bit of word play here; a claxon is another name for a horn in Dutch. (p.198 Berlitz Dutch-English dictionary, 1994 Oxford, UK,) and sounds almost exactly like Claessen, Sybolt’s last name. So that means he really named the point of land after himself, ie “my point of land.” (Not to be confused with Klaxon, a modern brand of electric horn.)
[v] In The Voyages of David Pietersen DeVries, p 176, Kieft is reprimanded for offering only 200 fathoms of wampum as blood money for local chiefs to murder their own people, in 1643. The value was estimated to be 800 guilders, or 4 guilders per fathom, which in this case is a strand of wampum six feet long. No one knows what Sybolt offered the natives for the land, or if he ever paid, but in this fictional account you offer 200 guilders, 50 fathoms of wampum, and it is accepted. A possibly similar tract of land, one with two waterfalls, was sold to a Herr Flodder along the Paponicuck Kill near Renssaelear by Aepjen, grand sachem of the Mohicans in 1648, for a total of 265 guilders in goods. This included ells of duffels at 4 guilders plus 2 pounds of musket powder at 3 guilders 40 guiders for food for the native guests, 40 guilders for beer, and 10 guilders in brandy. The Mohicans and their Land 1609-1730, Shirley W. Dunn Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmann’s NY 1994. P. 181.
[vi] Stiles, Henry Reed; The civil, political, professional and ecclesiastical history, and commercial and industrial record of the county of Kings and the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., from 1683 to 1884, by Henry R. Stiles … assisted by L. B. Proctor … and L. P. Brockett (New York. W.W. Munsell and Co. 1884) p. 22. Stiles describes such exceptions to white ownership as commonplace, at least in Brooklyn.
[vii] After Jonas Bronk who died in 1643.
[viii] Coming from the north, the Mohawk take the Croton (Kitchewan) east then take the Wampus River south, then portage to the Cisco (“muddy”) -or Kisco Creek then portage to the head of the Bronx (Aquehung) River, taking that waterway south to North Yonkers then east to Scarsdale and the west branch of the Hutchinson, now Lake Innisfree. The Hutchinson River (Aqueanounck) runs directly from Lake Innisfree to Pelham Neck or Rodham’s Neck near City Island. Portaging to the Bronx River gave them direct access to Claessens Point at its mouth, the site of the Snakapins village and the wampum factory there, which I wrote about in both Native New Yorkers (p 99) and Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York (pp 107-123) with over sixty long houses, and huge piles of shells being prepared for making wampum belts for “the Algonquin-Iroquois wampum trade.”
However, with one additional portage to what will become Lake Innisfree, the Mohawks travel quickly down the Hutchinson River to an even bigger Siwanoy-run (Algonquin) wampum factory at Pelham Neck, aka Rodman’s Neck at City island, and back. There they would find the Laaphawaching wampum factory, a Munsee word that means “place of stringing beads,” also mentioned in Native New Yorkers. (p.101) It is the women who actually string the beads; it is the men who carve out and drill the shells. (Mark Humpal)The Algonquin wampum factories at the mouth of the Mamaroneck (Manursing Island) are not as famous as the ones at the mouth of the Hutchinson (Aqueanounck) and the mouth of the Bronx River.
[ix] The entire area was known for its wild beach plums, a tasty treat one could just pluck from the bushes. The Dutch called them “Blue Plums,” (Voyages of David DeVries, p. 178) These amazing plants growing ten feet tall, required no tending and no real soil, and could grow right out of beach sand. In one Lenape story the birds were eating all the cherries that the people were planting before the farmers could get to them. In fact there was such a cherry orchard at Cherry Street just to the south of Horn’s Hook, which would have been included. The humans became hungry and made big medicine and prayed to Kiche la mookong (“the one who dreams us into being”) to help them find food. Kiche la mookong made the beach plum for them, which grow right out of the sand, especially on Long Island and especially along the East River. As the plum is too big for the birds to eat, they leave it as a gift for the humans. While most plum species prefer the warm southern climates, such as the Allegheny Plum, the Canadian plum likes the cold; however none have been seen here. The coastal plum is found from Maine to Delaware, but right on the Atlantic itself. So what kind of plum grew vigorously around Hell Gate? It had to have been the Graves Plum, the native species of Long Island and New York City that loves the beach.(source regarding prunis maritima: Henry W Moeller Collection at Stony Brook University cat. # SC432 also Richard Uva.) The Munsee called these fruits PWAH ka-MAASHK.
[x] See Henry Hudson and the Algonquins, entry for September 12th, the day Hudson was first offered oysters on Manhattan, p 139.
[xi] If you take a map of “old” Amsterdam and the pre-existing Netherlands and place it over a map of New Amsterdam (that’s Manhattan) and New Netherland (that’s the Hudson Valley and environs) at the same scale, and turn the Manhattan map so the south (Battery Park) is facing east by southeast, these compulsive cartographers’ geographical artistry will hit you in the face like a portrait by Rembrandt. Old Amsterdam corresponds with Wall Street to Fort Amsterdam, with New York Harbor covered by the Zuider Zee. Broadway heads toward Harlem. Fifth Avenue (some of which was a trail) corresponds with Amsterdam’s N200. Harlem is the same distance, about eleven miles, from New Amsterdam as Old Haarlem is from Old Amsterdam, hence the name. The East River correspond conceptually with the Noordzeekanaal River and the East River’s famous docks (just south of the UN) correspond with Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands. Brooklyn corresponds with Zunderdorf and Queens with Havenbuurt. The financial district of Manhattan stands on the banks of the original “Canal Street” the Dutch called Here Gratch in which the Tamkill once ran. The reason Broad Street is so broad is that the Brits built it to cover a canal with streets on both sides. At that same corresponding spot in Amsterdam is Singel Kanaal with a similar financial district along its west banks, one that was placed there, some time before New Amsterdam was built. The Brooklyn Bridge was not built by the Dutch but it was originally a native American river crossing and aligns somewhat with the crossing of the Noordzeekanaal at what is now s 116. The corresponding spot in Holland to Gracie Mansion’s outdoor green and banquet tent area is therefore The Amsterdam Golf Club. The town of Hoorn (on the Zuyder Zee) is nowhere near any alignment with Horn Hook, closer I think to Staten Island, but it was all part of a game by which the homesick Dutchmen could be reminded of home.
[xii] These early settlements were probably on the Manhattan side, as most of the embankment on the Bronx side consists of high rocky cliffs. Archaeology in Manhattan is problematic due to early building, but the name suggests encampments 9000 years ago.
[xiii] The word has been spelled Tankitekes and Tanditekes but is pronounced tenk-TAH-gees and has been translated various ways, including “people of the deep woods.”
[xiv] After the colossal wreck of the Captain Slocum in 1904 at Hell’s Gate, that island will be made part of Randall’s Island, and rocks rising up from the bottom of Hell’s Gate will be removed.
[xv] The Weequaskeck are people of the western part of Westchester, especially at Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry, and play a strong leadership role in the affairs of what Daniel Nimham will call the Wappingers Confederacy, including the eastern and northern parts of Manhattan. Though spelled dozens of ways, this writer believes it means wee=head+quay=a shallow inlet+us=small+keck=at a prominent place. This perfectly describes Wickers creek at Dobbs Ferry.
[xvi] There is a sign or kiosk at Playground Thirty-five at Hallett’s Point which I helped to write which mentions that Sunswick Creek was named after a forgotten Sunkisq, or Sunkskwa, a female sachem. Sunswick is an example of “Double Dutch,” a common practice of turning an Algonquin word into a similar sounding Dutch phrase, in this case meaning a sunny encampment. Although probably not any more sunny than any other glen, it served as a mnemonic for Sunkisq. This creek is buried now but pours into the East River at Socrates Sculpture Park, in a straight line SE from Gracie Mansion and Roosevelt Island. Playground Thirty-five was named after 35th Avenue, which cuts through nearby Kaufman-Astoria studios, where in 1992 Paul Simon made his own definitive recording of his oft-covered song “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” on his Complete Unplugged CD, perhaps an unconscious reference to the troubled waters of Hell’s Gate, 2000 feet away from the mouth of the Sunkisq, where many sailors have drowned, and others rescued.
[xvii] Konikeestk has long ago disappeared, but it was near where Thomas Jefferson Pool now stands.
[xviii] Konaandekung was a village of 25 wigwams, approximately 90 people. (Manahatta, Sanderson, p. 107) In Algonquin culture, when the sachem (or “King”) passes away, his wife usually becomes sachem, or “sunkskwa,” with full powers, hence she is “the King’s Queen.” In a German dialect it means “Queen, then King.” (Konigin=queen+de=then +konig=king). Koningen is modern Dutch for Queen, and a similar interpretation could be made; (Berlitz Dutch-English Dictionary, p. 100 Berlitz, Oxford, UK.) The trail became Apthorpe Lane in English times, and is now mostly approximated by 94th street, however some foundations still are aligned with the ancient route. The shoreline cuts sharply inland above Horn’s Hook, so the distance to Konaandekung there is not so great, but it is a steep climb.
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.