History101.nyc is an ad-free learning resource. Help support our continued development  

Curated by Fine PrintContact

History of NYC - 1850s

By the 1850s, New York City’s ports handled more goods and people than all other American ports combined. In 1855, Fernando Wood was elected as the first mayor.

1855: Washington Square Park Fountain

A group portrait photograph of men, women & children gathered in front of Washington Square Park's famous fountain.

Artist Credit: André Jammes. Reprinted with permission.

1859: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

The Cooper Union was founded in 1859 by entrepreneur/inventor Peter Cooper. Astor Place was named for John Jacob Astor soon after his death in 1848.

Artist Credit: André Jammes. Reprinted with permission.

1855: Saint Paul's Chapel

Photo of Saint Paul’s Chapel - the oldest surviving public building in Manhattan. Also pictured is Astor House - the city's grandest hotel in the mid-1800s.

Artist Credit: Silas A. Holmes. Reprinted with permission.

1850: New York Exchange

Illustration of a busy street in front of the New York Exchange which was founded on May 17, 1792.

Artist Credit: John Bornet. Reprinted with permission.

1853: View of Brooklyn from Trinity Church

Painting of a view from Trinity Church, looking towards Brooklyn and Long Island.

Artist Credit: John Hill. Reprinted with permission.

1850: Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn

Aerial illustration over New York City's harbor, facing Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Artist Credit: Theodore Muller. Reprinted with permission.

1859: Above Central Park

Illustration of an aerial perspective overlooking Central Park in Manhattan.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1860s

The 1860s were a time of reconstruction after the Civil War in 1865. The nation completed its first transcontinental railroad in 1868, the same year NYC completed its the first ... Continue Reading

View All41Images

History of NYC - 10,000+ Years Ago

Learn all about NYC’s fascinating past by exploring the natural forces that shaped the environment and landscape, along with the people who would transform the “Island of Many Hills” into the greatest and most influential city in the world.

History 101 NewsFor License, Media & Press Inquiries Please Contact Us

315 Madison Avenue • art@fineprintnyc.com