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1910-1915 NYC: Rise of The Skyscraper & Impact of Social Change on The City

The period between 1910 and 1915 in New York City was distinguished by an architectural revolution, notably marked by the rise of the skyscraper. The completion of the Woolworth Building in 1913, reaching a then-unprecedented height of 792 feet, stood as a landmark event. This Gothic-style skyscraper reshaped the city’s skyline and symbolized the aspirations and economic prowess of New York City. It was during these years that the city truly began to assume its modern form, with towering structures increasingly dominating the landscape.

Concurrent with the architectural boom, significant strides were made in expanding the city’s infrastructure. The New York City subway system, operational since 1904, continued to extend its reach, connecting more neighborhoods and facilitating the growth of the outer boroughs. This era also witnessed advancements in road and bridge construction, notably the early stages of the iconic Manhattan Bridge, thereby enhancing the city’s physical connectivity.

This era also heralded a time of vibrant cultural and social change. The arts flourished, with Broadway emerging as an epicenter for theater and performance. New York City’s diverse population, bolstered by ongoing immigration, contributed to a rich tapestry of cultural expressions, spanning music, art, and literature. Social reform movements gained traction, tackling issues such as women’s suffrage, labor rights, and the welfare of the rapidly growing working class.

Economically, New York City continued to flourish and expand, reinforcing its status as a financial and industrial center. However, this growth came with its own set of challenges. The Panic of 1910-1911, although less severe than the financial crisis of 1907, still impacted the city’s economy. During this time, there was an increased focus on urban challenges, including housing shortages and the need for improved public services, underscoring the complexities associated with rapid urban development.

1910-1915 Timeline of New York City’s History, USA

Photograph of Minnie Paster, a 10 year old having to work and tend a newspaper stand at Bowery & Bond

1910: Tending a News Stand at Bowery & Bond Street

Photograph of Minnie Paster, a 10 year old having to work and tend a newspaper stand at Bowery & Bond

Young folk selling gum at the exit from the downtown side of the Lexington Avenue subway station

1910: Selling Chewing Gum Near a Subway Station

Young folk selling gum at the exit from the downtown side of the Lexington Avenue subway station

Theodore Roosevelt between Mayor Gaynor and Cornelius Vanderbilt, with hand outstretched to greet Rough Riders at a NYC parade thrown in his honor.

1910: President Roosevelt at NYC Parade

Theodore Roosevelt between Mayor Gaynor and Cornelius Vanderbilt, with hand outstretched to greet Rough Riders at a NYC parade thrown in his honor.

Dramatic image of Manhattan's downtown skyline behind the East River shows steam rising from various smoke stacks. Photographed by Alfred Stieglitz.

1910: The City of Ambition

Dramatic image of Manhattan's downtown skyline behind the East River shows steam rising from various smoke stacks. Photographed by Alfred Stieglitz.

Photograph of the Manhattan Bridge, includes Brooklyn, the East River and downtown Manhattan.

1910: The Manhattan Bridge, New York and Brooklyn

Photograph of the Manhattan Bridge, includes Brooklyn, the East River and downtown Manhattan.

Aerial photograph of the Upper West Side including RIverside Drive north of 74th Street.

1910: Riverside Drive from 74th Street

Aerial photograph of the Upper West Side including RIverside Drive north of 74th Street.

Panoramic vista of the Hudson River  Narrows and its once rural environment. A large cruise ship is seen making its way north along the river.

1910: The Narrows, Hudson River

Panoramic vista of the Hudson River Narrows and its once rural environment. A large cruise ship is seen making its way north along the river.

Photograph of New Yorkers enjoying Bryant Park in front of the New York Public Library.

1910: The New York Public Library and Bryant Park

Photograph of New Yorkers enjoying Bryant Park in front of the New York Public Library.

Aerial photograph of the Herald Square elevated railroad and Sixth Avenue near 34th Street.

1910: Elevated Railroad Through Herald Square

Aerial photograph of the Herald Square elevated railroad and Sixth Avenue near 34th Street.

Overhead photograph shows Sixth Avenue packed with pedestrians and shoppers along the path of the elevated train.

1910: Christmas Shopping on Sixth Avenue

Overhead photograph shows Sixth Avenue packed with pedestrians and shoppers along the path of the elevated train.

Two young messenger boys converse in front of a carriage near Union Square. Most of the messengers worked for telegraph companies or pharmacies.

1910: Messengers at Union Square

Two young messenger boys converse in front of a carriage near Union Square. Most of the messengers worked for telegraph companies or pharmacies.

A citywide heatwave proves to be challenging for all of its inhabitants, especially horses which were still largely responsible for work and transportation.

1910: Horse Overcome by Heat on City Street

A citywide heatwave proves to be challenging for all of its inhabitants, especially horses which were still largely responsible for work and transportation.

Group of men gathered at Union Square helping local horses to stay hydrated during a particularly hot summer.

1911: Watering Horses on a Hot Day

Group of men gathered at Union Square helping local horses to stay hydrated during a particularly hot summer.

Photograph of a charity which provided free shower baths for horses exhausted from heatwaves which are typical of summer in the city.

1911: Free Shower Baths for Horses - Hot Weather Charity

Photograph of a charity which provided free shower baths for horses exhausted from heatwaves which are typical of summer in the city.

Photo shows a horse-drawn garbage wagon with its load dumped in the street during a New York City garbage strike which occurred from November 8-11.

1911: Horse Drawn Garbage Wagon on Strike

Photo shows a horse-drawn garbage wagon with its load dumped in the street during a New York City garbage strike which occurred from November 8-11.

Timeline of New York City: 1910-1915

1910: Gimbels, founded by Adam Gimbel in 1887 and making its mark in NYC's Herald Square in 1910, significantly transformed the city's retail landscape. By positioning itself as a formidable competitor to Macy's, it played a key role in establishing Herald Square as a premier retail hub.

The store's influence went beyond mere commerce, capturing the essence of American retail competition, driving advancements in customer service, and establishing Herald Square as a globally recognized shopping destination. Gimbels' Thanksgiving parades, though eventually eclipsed by Macy's, added to NYC's cultural fabric, underscoring its impact on the city's economic, cultural, and historical tapestry from 1910 until its closure in 1987.

1910: William J. Gaynor initiated crucial reforms in New York City upon taking office in 1910, marking a significant departure from the stagnation of George B. McClellan's tenure. A key move was appointing Charles B. Stover as Manhattan Park Commissioner, a pivotal figure in urban recreation, tasked with expanding the city's playgrounds. Stover's efforts culminated in the creation of the first Bureau of Recreation within the Parks Department, heralding a new era for public recreational facilities.

By 1915, the number of NYC playgrounds had surged from nine to 70 under Stover's direction, reflecting a broader initiative to enhance urban living through accessible recreational spaces. This initiative not only improved the physical health and safety of the city's youth but also fostered community engagement and social well-being. Furthermore, the Parks Department's sponsorship of athletic competitions and leagues significantly enriched NYC's recreational landscape, cementing the city's commitment to nurturing a vibrant, dynamic community.

1911: The New York Public Library Main Branch (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), which opened on May 23, 1911, is a landmark Beaux-Arts structure located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. It houses 75 miles of books and is recognized as a premier research library globally. Funded by philanthropists John Jacob Astor, James Lenox, and Samuel J. Tilden—with Tilden's estate providing substantial support—the institution exemplifies how private initiative can shape public resources.

Celebrated for its contributions to New York City's intellectual and cultural landscape, the library has welcomed literary figures from around the world, solidifying its role as a central educational and social hub. This center of learning highlights the city’s rich historical and educational tapestry, drawing scholars and writers from across the globe.

1911: The Winter Garden Theatre, which opened in 1911 and is located at 1634 Broadway in Manhattan's Theater District, is recognized as a historic performing arts landmark in New York City. This venue has played a crucial role in enhancing the city's reputation as a global center for theater and entertainment, thanks to its wide range of significant productions. Its contribution to the growth and cultural development of Broadway and the broader entertainment industry underscores its importance in New York's rich historical and cultural narrative.

By hosting a variety of performances, from musicals to plays and concerts, the Winter Garden Theatre has significantly enriched NYC's cultural landscape, offering high-quality artistic experiences to both residents and visitors. Its ongoing operation and historical significance underscore its essential role in the development of American theater. The theater underwent a complete remodel in 1922 by Herbert J. Krapp and continues to be operated by the Shubert Organization, further cementing its legacy in the performing arts community.

1911: On March 25, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, near Washington Square Park, became one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the United States, claiming the lives of 146 individuals, mainly young immigrant women. Locked exits and inadequate fire escapes compelled many to leap from the building, leading to numerous preventable fatalities.

This catastrophe catalyzed significant reforms in labor laws and fire safety standards nationwide. Following the disaster, the New York State Legislature formed the Factory Investigating Commission, resulting in the passage of over 30 new laws to bolster worker protection and safety regulations. This pivotal moment in NYC's history underscored its influence on labor reform and the enhancement of worker safety and rights.

1911: The severe heat wave that struck Eastern North America in July 1911, notably impacting New York City with days of temperatures soaring above 90°F (32°C), highlighted the devastating effects of extreme weather, leading to roughly 1,000 heat-related fatalities across the United States, many in NYC. This event underscored the urgent need for enhanced urban resilience and public health strategies to combat such climate challenges.

Prompted by this crisis, New York City took significant steps to improve public health policies and urban infrastructure, aiming to mitigate the impact of extreme temperatures. Measures such as the establishment of public cooling centers and the revision of building codes to enhance ventilation were implemented. These initiatives marked a pivotal move towards bolstering urban resilience from the challenges posed by climate-related extremes.

1911: Founded by John Edward Bruce and Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, the Negro Society for Historical Research emerged in New York City as a pivotal institution for preserving and promoting African American and diaspora histories. It became a key resource for scholars and the public, eager to delve into the multifaceted narratives of Black history. This organization significantly enhanced New York City's cultural and historical fabric, elevating the appreciation and knowledge of African American contributions.

Through its efforts in gathering and sharing the stories of African Americans, it spotlighted their pivotal roles in shaping society. Additionally, it laid the groundwork for future centers of culture and history, notably the Schomburg Center for Research in Harlem, amplifying the city's dedication to diversity and historical inclusivity.

1911: The Sullivan Law, enacted by New York State, emerged as a landmark in gun control legislation in 1911, necessitating permits for the possession or concealment of handguns. Sponsored by Timothy D. Sullivan, a prominent Tammany Hall politician, this law was a direct response to the escalating concerns over crime and violence within New York City. This legislation marked a pioneering effort in the U.S. to legislate firearm possession, significantly influencing public safety measures.

By regulating handgun permits, it sought to decrease firearms in public hands and reduce violence. This law not only transformed New York's approach to gun control but also set a precedent for future state and federal laws, underscoring New York's leadership in initiating legal solutions for crime prevention and public safety enhancement.

1911: Dreamland's fire significantly reshaped Coney Island's entertainment scene and New York City's historical landscape. Opened in 1904, its standout features, including a Panama Canal replica, a miniature railroad, and the Tower of Light, represented the apex of American amusement parks. The destruction of Dreamland not only signaled a shift in urban leisure but also underscored the critical need for improved fire safety measures in entertainment venues.

The catastrophe spurred a revision of safety protocols and public venue regulations, highlighting the importance of stringent fire safety practices. The fall of Dreamland catalyzed Coney Island's evolution from grandiose amusement projects to a broader spectrum of entertainment and leisure offerings, marking an important chapter in New York City's adaptation to changing urban entertainment dynamics and heightened safety standards.

1911: Samuel Parsons, Jr., succeeded Calvert Vaux as the NYC Department of Parks' Landscape Architect, retiring in 1911 due to a clash with Park Commissioner Stover over recreational programs' effects on Central Park's lawns. Advocating for the preservation of the park’s 19th-century design, Parsons opposed the shift towards recreational prioritization, fearing it compromised the park's integrity.

Post-Parsons, Central Park saw a pivotal shift in focus, increasingly catering to the city's recreational demands at the cost of its historic landscape. This change underscored a broader evolution in urban planning and public space utilization, reflecting New York City's adaptation to its residents' evolving needs while highlighting the tension between preservation and contemporary use in urban parks.

1911: The borough of Queens appointed its first park commissioner in 1911, a move that accelerated the expansion of its green spaces to 688 acres following its 1898 integration into New York City, with Forest Park notably receiving about 500 acres. This strategic appointment highlighted the growth of Queens' parklands, focusing on enhancing urban green spaces and public recreational areas. The following year, 1912, saw the Queens Parks Department moving to the newly constructed Overlook Building in Forest Park, signifying a major step forward in park management and development.

During this time, the borough also acquired over 300 additional acres, bringing its total parkland to more than 1,000 acres. This growth not only met the needs of Queens' expanding population but also underscored New York City's commitment to providing accessible, high-quality outdoor spaces for all its residents.

1912: Founded with a bequest from Joseph Pulitzer, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism set a new standard for journalism education in New York City in 1912. It aimed to enhance journalistic standards and professionalism, offering programs focused on ethical reporting, investigative journalism, and media technology adaptation. This institution rapidly became an essential hub for journalism education, contributing significantly to the city's and the global media landscape.

The school's influence extends beyond New York, reinforcing the city's status as a journalism and media innovation leader. Producing distinguished journalists and media professionals, its graduates have made substantial impacts on journalism worldwide. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism exemplifies New York City's pivotal role in journalism's development and evolution, highlighting its commitment to fostering journalistic excellence.

1912: Established in Harlem, Citarella's market transitioned from a simple seafood vendor in 1912 to a distinguished gourmet destination, encapsulating New York City's culinary evolution and its demand for diverse, high-quality offerings. This journey highlights the significant impact of immigrant entrepreneurship and the crucial role small businesses play in shaping NYC's culinary scene.

The journey over a century highlights its influence on New York City's food industry, embodying local business success and the importance of specialty markets in driving culinary innovation. Its expansion not only meets the sophisticated demands of New Yorkers but also reinforces NYC's status as a culinary capital, underscoring the essential role of markets like Citarella in enriching the city's food landscape and community.

1912: Horn & Hardart's Automat, launched in Times Square in 1912, revolutionized New York City's dining scene with its coin-operated, self-service system. This innovation introduced a fast, efficient, and economical dining model, attracting a wide audience and setting the stage for the modern fast-food industry. Its advent marked a significant transformation in how meals were served and consumed, catering to the fast-paced lifestyle of urban dwellers.

Becoming a cultural staple, the Automat epitomized New York's embrace of progress and technology in everyday life. It influenced not just the city's culinary trends but also its social dynamics, reflecting shifts towards greater convenience and efficiency. This iconic establishment led the evolution of dining practices, inspiring the growth of similar fast-food ventures and significantly shaping America's food industry landscape.

1912: Aeolian Hall, inaugurated in 1912 in New York City, swiftly became an architectural and cultural beacon, renowned for its eclectic musical performances that spanned from classical to jazz. This venue significantly propelled NYC's status as a leading arts and culture destination, creating a stage for both emerging and celebrated artists.

A landmark event in its history was hosting George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" premiere on February 12, 1924, with Paul Whiteman's orchestra and Gershwin on the piano. This performance not only highlighted Aeolian Hall's importance in American music but also underscored New York City's pivotal role in the fusion of classical music and jazz, showcasing the city's ongoing influence on musical innovation and cultural richness.

1912: The Audubon Ballroom, nestled in Manhattan's Washington Heights, has significantly influenced New York City's cultural and historical landscape since its 1912 inception. Serving variously as a theater, lecture hall, and social venue, it has become a distinguished landmark. Its most notable moment came on February 21, 1965, with the assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X, marking a critical point in civil rights history and cementing the ballroom's significance as a symbol of struggle and change.

The Audubon Ballroom's legacy extends beyond architecture, embodying a profound piece of America's civil rights story. This venue's transformation from a local gathering place to a site of historical importance highlights its enduring impact on New York City's diverse landscape, offering a space for reflection on justice and equality's ongoing pursuit.

1912: The 48th Street Theatre, emerging as a cornerstone of Manhattan's theater district, opened its doors and began offering a rich assortment of plays and musicals in 1912. This establishment significantly enriched New York City's cultural landscape, asserting itself as a central hub for arts and entertainment. It played a pivotal role in broadening the city's theatrical landscape, attracting a wide audience base and nurturing a deep appreciation for the performing arts.

The theatre's establishment marked a key expansion in New York City's artistic offerings, reinforcing its reputation as a cultural capital. Through its diverse programming, the 48th Street Theatre contributed to New York's dynamic and vibrant cultural milieu, underscoring the essential role of theater in urban life and the city's ongoing influence on global arts and culture.

1912: The RMS Carpathia's arrival in New York City on April 18, 1912, with 705 Titanic survivors, underscored New York's pivotal role in maritime history. The Carpathia's journey to Pier 54, following the Titanic's iceberg collision and subsequent sinking on April 15, which resulted in about 1,517 fatalities, captured global attention. This event not only connected New York to a monumental maritime disaster but also spotlighted its capacity to handle crises, drawing significant public and media focus.

This incident spurred significant maritime safety reforms, influenced by discussions and inquiries in New York, underscoring the city's key contributions to international safety protocols. Notably, The Jane Hotel, which provided shelter to Titanic survivors in 1912, epitomizes New York's crucial involvement in maritime history. The rescue mission by the Carpathia, coupled with The Jane's historical hospitality to the survivors, marks an essential chapter in New York City's heritage.

1913: The International Exhibition of Modern Art, more commonly known as the Armory Show, was a landmark event held from February 17 to March 15, 1913, at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. This exhibition was monumental as it introduced the American public to European avant-garde art, featuring works by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and many others.

This event significantly impacted New York City, transforming it into a key center for artistic innovation and paving its way to becoming a global art capital. By challenging traditional artistic norms and broadening appreciation for modern art, the Armory Show's legacy continues to underscore New York's critical role in shaping modern art history and its enduring influence on cultural and artistic trends worldwide.

1913: Grand Central Terminal, unveiled on February 2, 1913, stands as a testament to New York City's architectural ambition and growth, transforming from Cornelius Vanderbilt's railway hub into the world's largest train station at its completion. Designed as a majestic gateway, its innovative features, including a vast concourse, detailed facade, and electric trains, marked a leap in design and engineering, addressing the era's transportation challenges.

This landmark's introduction reshaped Midtown Manhattan, propelling the city's northward expansion and bolstering its role as a commerce and transport nucleus. Grand Central not only enhanced New York's connectivity but also its urban landscape, driving real estate development and economic growth around its vicinity. Its enduring legacy, beyond facilitating transit, enriches the city's architectural heritage, making it a vibrant focal point for both locals and visitors.

1913: Prentice Hall, established in 1913, quickly became a premier publisher in the American educational landscape, focusing on textbooks and academic materials spanning multiple disciplines. Its dedication to enriching educational content solidified Prentice Hall's role as a foundational force in academic and professional advancement, markedly elevating the dissemination of knowledge and learning.

This pioneering venture enriched New York City's publishing ecosystem, emphasizing the city's critical role in shaping the national publishing industry. Prentice Hall's contributions have bolstered New York’s intellectual and cultural expansion, supporting its academic community and affirming the city's status as a hub for educational innovation and publishing excellence.

1913: Since opening within the iconic Grand Central Terminal in 1913, the Grand Central Oyster Bar has established itself as a landmark dining destination in New York City. Positioned within an architectural marvel, it truly delivers a unique culinary experience, specializing in seafood and a broad selection of oysters.

As a cherished institution, the Grand Central Oyster Bar stands as a testament to New York's rich history. Its sustained appeal highlights New Yorkers' and visitors' fondness for historic locales that bridge the past with the present, enhancing New York's vibrant and storied landscape.

1913: Vanity Fair, launched in 1913, swiftly solidified its status in New York City as a pivotal cultural and literary beacon. Renowned for its discerning coverage of culture, fashion, politics, and society, it drew from a pool of distinguished writers and photographers, shaping public discourse until its merger with Vogue in 1936 under Condé Nast.

Vanity Fair's debut significantly bolstered New York City's standing as a media and culture nexus, mirroring and molding its audience's interests. Its emphasis on literature and the arts greatly enriched the city's cultural fabric, positioning it as a key player in media and cultural analysis. Relaunched in 1983, Vanity Fair continues to influence cultural trends globally, underscoring New York's enduring impact on cultural and literary innovation.

1913: Following the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York became a cornerstone of the Federal Reserve System established in 1914. As one of twelve regional Reserve Banks, it plays a crucial role in U.S. monetary policy, financial supervision, and the overall functionality of the system, significantly influencing the financial and banking structure of the United States. Strategically positioned in a global financial epicenter, the New York Fed ensures the stability and efficiency of financial operations.

Situated in New York City, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is crucial for both domestic and international economies, managing financial institutions in its district. It executes monetary policy, oversees financial entities, and offers services to various institutions, reinforcing New York City's prominence as a worldwide financial hub. The New York Fed not only enhances the city's economic fortitude but also affirms its pivotal position in global finance, marking a substantial contribution to the city's economic and financial landscape.

1913: The "Cathedral of Commerce," or the Woolworth Building, completed in 1913, became the world's tallest at 60 stories and nearly 800 feet, reshaping New York City's skyline for 17 years. Celebrated for its Gothic design and groundbreaking construction, it stood as a beacon of architectural prowess in Lower Manhattan. A century later, it still ranks among the top twenty tallest buildings in the city, a testament to its enduring legacy and impact.

The Woolworth Building's continued prominence underscores its significant role in New York's architectural and economic history. Symbolizing the city's growth and innovation in the early 20th century, its lasting influence on skyscraper design and the urban landscape solidifies its position in New York City's cultural and historical narrative, reflecting a century of architectural evolution and resilience.

1913: The transformation from the New York Highlanders to the Yankees in 1913 heralded a new chapter in baseball history, positioning the "Yankees" as a byword for triumph and distinction in Major League Baseball. This strategic rebranding catalyzed the team's ascent to the pinnacle of sports excellence, laying the groundwork for a legacy of success and influence in the baseball world.

This pivotal shift significantly enriched New York City's sports narrative, establishing the Yankees as a cornerstone of the city's vibrant sports culture. Their storied history of World Series victories and the cultivation of a passionate fanbase have fortified New York's status as a premier sports metropolis. The Yankees' enduring success underscores the city's economic and cultural dynamism, affirming its place on the global stage as a focal point for premier sporting achievements.

1913: Constituted within the New York Army National Guard, the 15th New York Infantry Regiment, later known as the "Harlem Hellfighters," was established on June 2, 1913. Their transformation into a formidable unit came during World War I, where their unmatched bravery and combat prowess earned them their enduring nickname. This regiment's inception was driven by a need for bolstered national defense and quickly became pivotal in demonstrating American valor on the global stage.

The Harlem Hellfighters' storied service in World War I, where they served longer in front-line trenches than any other American unit, set them apart. As one of the first African American regiments to join the American Expeditionary Forces, their valor was internationally recognized, earning them France's Croix de Guerre. Their legacy, deeply ingrained in New York City's history, highlights the city's role in shaping military excellence and advancing the recognition of African American contributions to national defense and global peace.

1914: Bronx County's creation on January 1, 1914, as New York State's 62nd and final county, marked a defining moment in urban organization, transitioning parts of New York County, annexed from Westchester, into a distinct administrative region. This pivotal restructuring underscored the Bronx's unique identity within New York City's extensive metropolitan framework, setting a precedent for urban development and governance.

This reorganization not only clarified the Bronx's administrative role but also optimized governance and services for its residents, symbolizing the completion of New York City's contemporary borough system. Establishing the Bronx as an independent county significantly propelled its growth and facilitated a more manageable, diverse urban population. This event mirrored New York City's capacity for evolution and diversity, showcasing its complex mosaic of neighborhoods and fostering the borough's development and community identity.

1914: Founded by Joel Russ, Russ & Daughters stands as a pioneering food shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, offering Jewish culinary staples like smoked fish, caviar, and bagels. This establishment quickly became integral to New York City's gastronomic landscape, celebrated for its adherence to tradition and quality.

For over a century, Russ & Daughters has exemplified New York City's mosaic of cultures, underscoring the impact of immigrant entrepreneurship on the city's culinary evolution. This family-operated landmark not only showcases the city's dynamic history but also its capacity for innovation, drawing both locals and visitors to experience its enduring legacy and contribution to New York's diverse and vibrant food scene.

1914: Founded in 1870, Hunter College underwent significant transformations, culminating in its 1914 rebranding in honor of Thomas Hunter, its founder and first president. This transition underscored the institution's commitment to education, marked notably by the separation of its high school from college courses in 1903. The high school, designated for the intellectually gifted, began admitting boys in 1974, evolving into a premier educational facility for gifted children.

Hunter College's Elementary School originated in 1940, adapting to the needs of gifted students through innovative programs. By integrating grades seven and eight into the high school and launching a nursery program, Hunter College redefined its educational approach. The relocation of both schools to 94th Street in 1977 from their original campus at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue highlighted their integral role in enriching New York City's educational framework, fostering a legacy of academic excellence and innovation.

1914: Founded by Charles E. Merrill, a bond dealer with a visionary approach, Merrill, Lynch & Company was established on January 6, 1914, quickly specializing in underwriting securities for rapidly growing chain stores. This innovative financial strategy not only marked the firm's foray into investment banking but also set a precedent for financial practices in America.

The partnership between Charles Merrill and Edmund C. Lynch in 1915, renaming the firm Merrill, Lynch & Company, solidified its foundation and propelled its growth. Focusing on a niche market, the firm's early success significantly contributed to the evolution of investment banking and cemented its legacy on Wall Street and in New York City's financial history.

1915: The first transcontinental telephone call on January 25, 1915, marked a pivotal moment in telecommunications, linking San Francisco and New York City. Initiated by Alexander Graham Bell from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco, this technological triumph underscored the potential of nationwide voice communication, setting a new benchmark in the telecommunication industry's evolution.

This historic call emphasized New York City's integral role in spearheading technological and economic advancements in the U.S. Acting as a critical hub in this landmark event, the city enhanced its status as a leader in fostering innovation. The successful cross-country communication not only bridged physical distances but also previewed New York's enduring influence on shaping future global communications, heralding a new era of connectivity that would continue to evolve and expand.

1915: Departing from New York City on May 1, 1915, for Liverpool, the RMS Lusitania's final voyage ended tragically when a German U-boat sank it on May 7, leading to 1,198 casualties. This event not only caused international dismay but also shifted U.S. public opinion, contributing to America's WWI involvement.

New York City's role as the Lusitania's last port underscores its pivotal position in this maritime disaster, highlighting the inherent dangers of civilian sea travel during conflict. The city's communities felt a direct impact, with many losing loved ones. This catastrophe remains a significant chapter in New York's rich maritime history, emphasizing its enduring link to global historical events.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Defines Explore NYC's Historical Journey

Welcome to "History101.NYC," an unparalleled online gallery featuring the beginnings of New York City, exquisitely restored by the experts at Fine Print New York. This exclusive collection vividly resurrects key historical moments, celebrating the city's rich history and diverse cultural heritage. Each meticulously crafted piece in our gallery offers a genuine look into NYC's past, embodying exceptional artistic skill and meticulous attention to detail.

Dive into our archives for a selection of exclusive, premium-quality art prints, encompassing a range of vintage photos, historical images, and rare lithographs unique to our site. These curated artworks narrate the dynamic evolution of the Big Apple, providing history enthusiasts and art collectors with a rare opportunity to own a part of NYC's illustrious legacy. Don't miss the chance to explore and acquire these captivating representations of New York City's historical journey.

Who Are the Founders of Discover the Creators

Joseph Gornail, a printer/photographer and founder of Fine Print New York, grew up in SoHo, Manhattan. Part of a long lineage of NYC printers, he learned the craft of printing as a teenager. Joseph's pivotal role in the New York printing industry began while working for Dolo Records/Stretch Armstrong in 1996. He then founded All City Marketing & Printing, and in 1999, co-founded the iconic streetwear brand "Orchard Street" with Benjamin Holloway and Greig Bennett. In 2004, Joseph established Fine Print NYC, a top-tier commercial printing company in New York. It launched with a major project for Nike, showcasing resilience and innovation in the digital age.

Steven Garcia, esteemed designer/illustrator and creative director at Fine Print New York, hails from Bushwick, Brooklyn. An alumnus of Fashion Industries High School and F.I.T., Steven's impressive career trajectory includes his tenure as a sought-after professional retoucher and storyboard artist at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1995. His entrepreneurial spirit led to the inception of ShinyDesign in 1998, later aligning with Fine Print in 2004 as their primary design partner. Steven's portfolio boasts collaborations with high-profile brands like Snapple, The Waldorf Astoria, and Sony, making him a prominent figure in New York's advertising and design landscape.

Together, Joseph & Steven spearhead the project, a groundbreaking digital archive since 2006. Their longstanding partnership dates back to 2001, when Joseph managed The New York City Urban Experience, an influential art gallery & museum at 85 South Street, and Steven curated, both contributing to New York City's vibrant cultural scene. This venue, owned by Mike Saes of the Nike Bridge Runners and True Yorkers, was a cornerstone for urban art and history enthusiasts.

What Time Periods, Eras, Decades of NYC History are available?

We cover a vast span of New York City's history, from its inception as New Amsterdam to the vibrant late 1980s. Our artists are actively working on expanding our collection to include photos from the 90s up to the present day.

Here's our current coverage list, showcasing the city's evolution:

Dutch Era: When New York Was New Amsterdam

NYC in the 1600s

Georgian Era

NYC in the 1700s • NYC from 1800 to 1840NYC in the 1840s • 

Victorian Era

NYC in the 1850s • NYC in the 1860s • NYC in the 1870s • NYC in the 1880s

Progressive Era

NYC in the 1890s • NYC from 1900 to 1905 • 1905 to 1910 • 1910 to 1915 • 

World War 1

NYC from 1915 to 1920

Art Deco

NYC from 1920 to 1925 • NYC from 1925 to 1930

Depression Era

NYC from 1930 to 1935 • NYC from 1935 to 1940

World War 2

NYC from 1940 to 1945

MidCentury Modern Era

NYC from 1945 to 1950 • 1950 to 1955 • 1955 to 1960 • 1960 to 1965 • 1965 to 1970

Energy Crisis

NYC from 1970 to 1975 • 1975 to 1980

Reagan Era

NYC from 1980 to 1985 • 1985 to 1990

Each period is richly represented through a variety of art mediums, offering a comprehensive and immersive historical journey of NYC. This chronological approach provides enthusiasts and scholars a unique lens into the city's architectural, cultural, and social developments.

How many historical Images are on this site?

There are currently 794 photos, lithographs, illustrations and maps on this site. Each one has been digitally restored and cleaned up by hand, which makes this collection truly unique.

Can I License Any of These Images?

Digital licenses are available for educational institutions (schools, universities, non-profit organizations). Please contact to discuss conditions for licensing.

NOTE: Any form of commercialization or redistribution of these images, either as tangible goods or third party licenses, is expressly forbidden.

Can I purchase prints of the historical images available on the site? is an ad-free and non-profit learning resource. We do not sell prints of these images. All operational costs are covered by Fine Print NYC

Do you accept admissions to this collection?

Absolutely! Feel free to send us an email with a preview of the image and we will let you know if it's a good fit for the archives.

How do you handle feedback or corrections regarding the historical context of images?

We welcome any feedback that you may have. If it proves to be historically accurate the changes will be reflected on the site shortly after our correspondence.

Do you collaborate with other historical societies or archives?

We have collaborated with NYC's Municipal Archives, The Tenemant Museum, Bronx Historical Society and a number of prominent NYC photographers to produce a series of limited edition postcards which free of charge, but only available via street distribution, primarily in Manhattan.

Do you also provide image restoration as a service for personal photos?

Yes, we can repair, restore and cleanup your old family photos, slides and negatives. You can either send us the digital files or the original photos to be professionally scanned.

Can you repair any type of image damage?

We can restore just about any level of damage or signs of aging, within reason. As long as most of the photo is intact we cn work with it. The one flaw we cannot fix is source material that is blurry. A poorly take photo can only be improved so much.


315 Madison Avenue • NYC 10017 • (212)619-5446 •


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History101.NYC is an ad-free learning resource available to the public at no charge.
This project is dedicated to exploring New York’s fascinating heritage through the restoration of vintage photographs and prints.