History About New York City
( Originally Published 1940 )
POPULATION 7,575,339. This is the 1939 estimate of the Department of Health of the city.
BOROUGHS The city is divided into five boroughs, of which only one, the Bronx, is on the main-land. Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island; Manhattan is on Manhattan Island; and Richmond is on Staten Island. The population of the boroughs is (according to the estimate of the Department of Health):
The population of the entire metropolitan area, including the cities in New Jersey and Connecticut naturally treating New York as a center for finance, trade, and amusement, was 10,901,424 according to the census of 1930.
GOVERNMENT The government of the city is a complicated one. At the head is the Mayor and the City Council, the members of which are elected by a proportional representation system by the various boroughs. Each borough has a Borough President. They, along with the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, the Comptroller, and the President of the Council, form the Board of Estimate—more or less the Mayor's cabinet. To make things even more difficult, the city covers five counties of the state, and the old county governments remain, despite numerous attempts to get rid of them. In addition, several boards appointed by the state have been wished on the city government.
AREA 309.89 square miles. The extreme, length is 36 miles, and the extreme width is 12 miles.
ALTITUDES The highest point in Manhattan is 276 feet above sea level; in the Bronx, 284.5; in Brooklyn, 216.5; in Queens, 259; and in Richmond, 409.8.
BUILDINGS The six highest buildings in the United States are on Manhattan Island. They are the Empire State, 102 stories, 1,250 feet; the Chrysler, 77 stories, 1,046 feet; the 6o Wall Street Tower, 66 stories, 950 feet; the Bank of the Manhattan Co., 90 stories, 927 feet; the R.C.A., 70 stories, 85o feet; and the Woolworth, 6o stories, 792 feet. According to the tax department there are 665,681 buildings in New York, large and small.
VALUE The total assessed valuation of New York City for 1940 was $16,640,632,939.00.
POPULATION BY RAcES. Th races represented in the city can be very roughly divided by birth and parent-age and descent, about as follows:
Bohemian (Czecho-Slovakian) 72,000
The great Jewish population is classified under the countries of origin — and consists largely of people of Russian, German, Polish, and Austrian descent.
MANUFACTURES New York is still the greatest manufacturing city in the United States. In 1937 the city's income from manufactured goods was $1,800,000,000 — $400,000,000 above Chicago, its greatest rival.
FOREIGN TRADE About 50% of the foreign trade of the United States passes through the port of New York.
DATES IN NEW YORK HISTORY
1497 Americus Vespucius sails north from Tampico for about 3,200 miles, and describes "the finest harbor in the world." Although some historians claim that he meant New York Bay, the theory seems very tenuous.
1498 Equally thin is the claim that Sebastian Cabot "may" have sighted New York Bay when he sailed along the coast in this year.
1524 It is far better established that one Giovanni da Verrazzano explored New York Bay and the adjacent waters.
1525 A Portugese navigator, Estevam Gomez, is believed to have sighted Sandy Hook at the mouth of the harbor.
1609 The first real exploration of the Bay and the Hudson River as far north as Albany is made by Henry Hudson, who was in the employ of the Dutch.
1613 The Dutch establish a small trading post on Manhattan Island, and even seem to have followed Hudson's route up the river, and to have traded near Albany as well.
1614 A small fort is erected on the south end of Manhattan Island.
1615 The States-General of Holland grant an exclusive charter to the New Netherlands Company for the trade resulting from four voyages to be made within three years.
1621 All lands discovered by Henry Hudson are chartered to the Dutch West Indies Company, under the name of the New Netherlands.
1624 The first party of about thirty families arrives as colonists.
1626 Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island from the Indians for beads, cloth, and trinkets to the value of about $24.
1633 Adam Roelandson establishes the first school, which, except for a period when it was interrupted by the Revolutionary War, has been carried on. Today it is the Collegiate School at 77th Street and West End Avenue.
1635 Fort Amsterdam is completed. The little city at the south-ern end of Manhattan Island is now Nieuw Amsterdam.
1647 The great Petrus (Peter) Stuyvesant becomes Governor. He has a reputation as a warrior, having already lost his right leg during a battle at Curacao.
1653 A palisade is constructed near the present line of Wall
1658 The first street to be paved is appropriately named Stone.
1664 The city is taken by the English, and Nieuw Amsterdam becomes New York.
1673 A mail route is established to Boston. The city is retaken by the Dutch.
1674 The English get it back again.
1683 The first New York Assembly meets.
1697 The streets are lighted, and a night watch is established. 1707 Broadway is paved from Bowling Green to Trinity Church.
1711 A slave market is established in Wall Street.
1725 The first newspaper is established.
1765 The colony issues a "Declaration of Rights." There is rioting.
1776 Washington occupies New York, but is driven out in September.
1783 The Revolution being over, the British troops evacuate the city. Washington bids farewell to his officers.
1789 The first Congress meets in New York, and Washington is inaugurated President.
1797 New York ceases to be the state capital.
1803 The building of the present City Hall is begun.
1808 The system of city streets is plotted as far north as 155th Street, and the city begins to assume its present form. 1812 The present City Hall is completed.
1816 Bellevue Hospital is established.
1825 Perhaps this is the most significant date in the history of New York, for in this year the Erie Canal, linking the Hudson with the Great Lakes, is completed, and the wealth of a continent begins to pour through the city. 1827 Negro slavery is abolished.
1832 Ground is broken for the Harlem Railway.
1842 By one of the great engineering feats of the time, the waters of the Croton watershed are impounded, and are brought to New York through great aqueducts.
1850 Jenny Lind sings at Castle Garden.
1851 The Hudson River Railroad is opened to Albany. This and the Harlem Railroad are now parts of the great New York Central System.
1853 The first World's Fair of America is held in the Crystal Palace, where Bryant Park now stands.
1856 The site of Central Park is purchased by the city.
1867 The first cable car operates over the first elevated railway in the world.
1870 The Brooklyn Bridge is begun.
1871 The first steam trains begin operation on' the Ninth Avenue "L."
1875 First New York-Chicago mail train is established. Steam trains are now in operation on the 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue, and 6th Avenue elevated railroads.
1883 The Brooklyn Bridge is opened. And so is the Metropolitan Opera House.
1886 The Statue of Liberty is unveiled.
1898 Brooklyn and other surrounding cities are all linked under one government with Manhattan, to become the boroughs of "Greater New York."
1904 The subway is opened to travel on October 27.
1910 I C. P. Rogers leaves New York in an airplane on September 17, and lands at Pasadena, California on November 4, thus completing the first transcontinental flight.
1927 Lindbergh is welcomed on his return from his overseas flight with the traditional "Paper Shower" on lower Broadway.
1929 The world's high diving records are broken at the Stock Exchange.
1940 The Department of Health estimates the population of New York to be 7,575,339.