New York City has always transformed ~ knocking down, rebuilding and rebuilding again. Removing historic remnants or old-fashioned markers of history, dramatically alters Manhattan and constantly thrusts New York City forward into the future. Fascinating tidbits of New York City History remind us that the city has gone thru many lives and is always evolving.

Did you know?

May 1st-Moving Day-   1800s. If one rented a home and did not live in a boarding house or owned a home, this was the annual ritual moving day for New York City. Of course, rent and transportation for moving was expensive. In addition, auction houses were completely stocked selling off household furnishings.

The Last Pear Tree-   In 1867, the last remaining pear tree that was part of Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant’s Bouwerie (farm-hence the street name Bowery) was knocked down from a traffic accident caused by 2 wagons. This tree stood on the N/E corner of 13th and 3rd avenue from the 1600s thru 1867.

The First Electric Street Lights-   December 1880 Brush Electric Light and Power Co. of New York provided arc lamps that were located on Broadway from 14th to 26th Streets. Madison Square was also lit by arc lamps placed on a 160-foot high tower.

Westside Cowboys were in charge of “Death Avenue” also known as 10th Avenue, for 91 years from 1850-1941. The Westside Cowboys rode their horses in front of the oncoming freight trains which were traveling from factories to the meatpacking district. Waving red flags in the day or holding red lanterns at night, the Cowboys warned pedestrians of the trains approach.

Hudson River Railroad-   1st passenger-Feb 19, 1861 Abraham Lincoln was the first person to ride the Hudson River railroad on his trip to Washington DC for his inauguration as President of the USA. April 25, 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train left this location for Springfield Illinois. 414 West 30th St – the former site of the Hudson River Railroad.

NYC first Department Store-   A.T. Stewart Dry Goods Store, built in 1846 and expanded in 1851, was also known as the Marble Palace. This was the grandest shopping store in NY. The Marble Palace is also the first commercial building in the city designed in the Italianate style. The building is now a National Historic Landmark. Located on the east side of Broadway from Chambers to Reade Street.

Everything in the neighbourhood of this city exhibits the appearance of life and cheerfulness. The purity of the air, the brilliancy of the unspotted heavens, the crowd of moving vessels, shooting in various directions, up and down and across the bay and the far-stretching Hudson, and the forest of masts crowded round the quays and wharfs at the entrance of the East River. There is something in all this—in the very air you breathe, and the fair and moving scene that you rest your eye upon—which exhilarates the spirits and makes you in good humour with life and your fellow creatures. We approached these shores under a fervid sun, but the air, though of a higher temperature than I had ever before experienced, was so entirely free of vapor, that I thought it was for the first time in my life that I had drawn a clear breath.

Frances Wright. 
Attribution: Frances Wright (1795–1852), U.S. social reformer and author; born and raised in Scotland. Views of Society and Manners in America, entry for September 18,1818 (1821). This was Frances first excursion to America.