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Category Archives: Almanac

It Happened Today in New York City

On May 18, 2003, Les Misérables closed on Broadway after a staggeringly successful 6,680 performances. It was the second longest-running show in Broadway history at the time and is currently #5 on that list. By the time the original Paris production of the musical had premiered in 1980, Victor Hugo’s novel was already in the …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On May 16, 1903, Luna Park opened at Coney Island. Based on a single ride that had opened at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the amusement park was a huge success featuring rides such as Shoot the Chutes, Canals of Venice, Trip to the North Pole, and Witching Waves. Popular enough to be featured in …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On May 14,1918, New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. died at one of his French estates at age 77. One of the most legendary titans of the Golden Age of Journalism, Bennett’s paper did much to establish modern news reportage. But he may have been even more famous for his bizarre, hedonist lifestyle …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On May 10, 1893, the Empire State Express hit the record speed of 112 miles per hour, more than doubling its initial schedule speed at the time of its 1891 opening. The train, belonging to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, was hauled by “the Queen of Speed”, Locomotive #999, which would not …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On May 1, 1933, The Catholic Worker began publication under the direction of Dorothy Day. Recognizing that many of the working poor were her fellow Catholics, Day sought to use the newspaper to teach about how they could seek a solution to their problems within their own religion, claiming her publication’s mission was “to comfort …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On April 30, 1833, a wind-driven fire beginning at the corner of Hudson and Bank Streets in Greenwich Village destroyed 90 to 100 buildings and left nearly 200 families homeless. At the time, the fire brigades in the city were all volunteer.

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It Happened Today in New York City

On April 27, 1903, the Jamaica Racetrack opened in Queens under the auspices of the Metropolitan Jockey Club with first running of the Excelsior Handicap. For over half a century, at a time when horse racing was still one of the most popular spectator sports in the country, four-footed athletes entertained crowds that could reach …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On April 23, 1933, the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance was founded in protest against discriminatory ordinances. Spearheaded by well-educated Chinese native Lei Zhuofeng, the alliance was made up of former teachers, reporters, minor political figures, low-ranking military officers, and other diverse Chinese who had come to America and found themselves in the hand laundry business. …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On April 18, 1903, The Souls of Black Folk by pillar of Harlem society W.E.B. DuBois was published. A seminal work of both African-American literature and American sociology, DuBois’ collection of essays dealt with issues of racism, politics, history, and education. It helped to pave the way for social movements that would follow, both in …

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It Happened Today in New York City

On April 16, 1633, Wouter Van Twiller arrived in New Amsterdam to take over the governorship. Though ostensibly appointed because he had made two previous voyages to the colony and was familiar with its conditions, it is widely believed that Van Twiller’s appointment was mostly due to the influence of his uncle, Kilian Van Rensselaer, …

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