The 1700s were a remarkable period of growth and transformation for New York City. Throughout the century, the city underwent a series of profound changes that shaped its identity and set the stage for its future development. From the establishment of the city’s first newspaper to the founding of the New York Manumission Society, New York City was at the forefront of many important events and movements that would shape the course of American history.
One of the most significant events of this era was the American Revolution. From the Battle of Long Island to the Continental Army’s retreat from the city, this was a time of great upheaval and change for the city and its residents. New York played a critical role in the war, serving as a key strategic location and center of trade and commerce. The Revolution ultimately led to the establishment of the United States as an independent nation, with New York City as one of its key capitals.
This was also a time of great cultural and intellectual growth for NYC. The founding of the New York Society Library, the Constitutional Convention, and the first private orphanage in the city were all significant events that helped to shape the city’s cultural and social landscape. These events helped to establish NYC as a center of innovation, creativity, and intellectual thought, setting the stage for the city’s continued growth and development in the centuries to come.
The Treaty of Shackamaxon, also called the Great Treaty and Penn's Treaty, was a legendary treaty between William Penn and Tamanend of the Lenape signed in 1682.
Illustration shows British troops marching down the street in New York City.
Engraving of New York's harbor filled with ships and commerce. Etched by the artist Balthasar Friedrich Leizelt in 1775.
A painting of Brooklyn after a snow storm in 1760, rendered by artist Francis Guy. During this time the Kings County was still quite rural.
Artist's rendering of Harlem drawn from the perspective of Morrisania - a rural neighborhood in the southwestern Bronx.
Artist's depiction of a sunset over New Jersey, with the island of Manhattan in the distance with a visible amount of traffic in the harbor.
Artist's sketch of one of the city's oldest post office branches which is no longer standing. Artwork by John Briem, colorized by Fine Print.
A large crowd gather at the corner of Third Avenue and the Bowery to witness George Washington's grand entry into New York on November 25th, 1783.
Illustration by A.R. Waud depicting the very first reading of the Declaration of Independence by George Washington at City Hall Park on July 9, 1776.
Illustration of George Washington arriving at Wall Street in a horse and carriage.
Painting of George Washington delivering his inaugural address in the old City Hall in the Spring of 1789.
Painting by Thomas Barrow Trinity church in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War after it was burned to the ground by clergy loyal to Britain.
A 1778 illustration of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights, NYC's first historic district. Pictured is the current location of the neighborhood's famous Promenade.
The Elgin Botanic Garden was the first public botanical garden in the United States, established in 1801 by New York physician David Hosack.
A painting by Thomas Horner depicting each building from the Hygeian Depot corner of Canal Street to beyond Niblo's Garden in the year 1785
1700: The population of New York City (formerly New Amsterdam) has grown to around 5,000 people. This includes a diverse mix of ethnic and racial groups, including Dutch, English, African, Native American inhabitants, and starts to attract new settlers from across Europe and the Americas. The city's diverse population helps to make it a vibrant and dynamic place, with a rich mix of languages, religions, and customs. The city's location at the mouth of the Hudson River makes it an important center of commerce. By the end of the century, the city's population will number in the hundreds of thousands, and it will be an important center of politics, culture, and innovation.
1701: The Collegiate School, which later becomes Columbia University, is founded by a group of Dutch ministers in the city of New York. The school is originally located in a small building on Garden Street (now Exchange Place) in lower Manhattan, and it initially enrolls just eight students. The curriculum at the Collegiate School is modeled on the classical education system that is popular in Europe at the time. Students study Latin and Greek, as well as mathematics, natural philosophy (what we now call science), and other subjects that are considered essential for a well-rounded education. Although the college was forced to close for a time during the American Revolution, it reopened in 1784 as Columbia College.
1703: The first newspaper in New York City, The New York Gazette, is published by William Bradford, who is credited as the first official printer in New York City. The newspaper was a weekly publication that focused on local news and events, as well as news from around the world. The New York Gazette played an important role in shaping public opinion in the city and would eventually be joined by other publications. Today, New York is one of the most important centers of the newspaper industry in the world.
1712: Enslaved Africans in New York City stage a revolt that has far-reaching consequences for the city and the colony as a whole. The revolt began on the evening of April 6, 1712, when a group of enslaved Africans set fire to a building in the city's downtown area. The event highlighted the deep tensions and divisions that existed between whites and blacks in the colonial period, and it raised difficult questions about the institution of slavery and the treatment of enslaved Africans in the colonies. It helped to lay the groundwork for the abolitionist movement that would eventually end slavery in the United States.
1735: John Peter Zenger, a printer in New York City, publishes critical articles about the colonial governor, William Cosby, in his newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal, and is subsequently arrested and charged with seditious libel. The case goes to trial in August 1735, and Zenger's defense team puts up a spirited defense, arguing that the truth of his statements is a defense against libel. In the end, Zenger is acquitted of the charges against him, in what is seen as a major victory for the cause of freedom of the press in America. This event helped pave the way for the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees these rights.
1736: The Union Club of the City of New York, commonly referred to as the Union Club, is a prestigious private social club established in 1836. As one of the oldest and most exclusive clubs in New York City, the Union Club boasts a rich history and has been a gathering place for many prominent figures in business, politics, and the arts. The Union Club was founded by a group of New York City gentlemen who sought to create a social organization that would foster camaraderie, intellectual pursuits, and cultural activities among its members. Over the years, the Union Club has occupied several locations in Manhattan. Its current clubhouse, situated at 101 East 69th Street on the corner of Park Avenue, was designed by renowned architect William Adams Delano and completed in 1933.
1754: The New York Society, also known as the New York Society Library, is founded and remains in operation today, making it one of the oldest cultural institutions in the United States. The group of six prominent lawyers, politicians, and intellectuals who form the New York Society in 1754 are Alexander Colden, William Livingston, John Morin Scott, William Alexander, James Alexander, William Smith Jr. The New York Society Library effectively serves as the first Library of Congress for two years, and its records show borrowings by George Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton.
1754: The Albany Congress is held in the city of Albany, New York, to discuss the idea of a union of the British colonies in America. The congress is attended by delegates from seven of the thirteen British colonies, including Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, who later becomes one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Although the Albany Plan is not adopted, it is an important moment in the history of American colonial politics. The Albany Congress is remembered as an important moment in the history of the American colonies and a precursor to the American Revolution that follows in the years ahead.
1755: The first public hospital is founded in the United States, The New York Hospital, located on Broadway in lower Manhattan, near what is now City Hall Park. Founded by a group of philanthropists and doctors, including James Alexander, Cadwallader Colden, and Samuel Bard. These individuals are concerned about the lack of medical care available to the city's disadvantaged residents and see the need for a public hospital that can provide high-quality medical care to all New Yorkers, regardless of their social or economic status. Today, the New York Hospital is known as the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and it is one of the largest and most prestigious hospitals in the United States.
1765: The Stamp Act Congress is a significant event in the lead up to the American Revolution. The Congress is held in New York City, with delegates from nine of the British colonies in attendance. The purpose of the Congress is to protest against the new taxes that have been imposed on the colonies by the British government, including the Stamp Act. It demonstrates the strength of colonial opposition to British taxation policies and helps to lay the groundwork for the American Revolution. The Stamp Act Congress is a significant moment in the history of New York City and the United States as a whole.
1770: The Boston Massacre has a significant impact on New York City, as it further inflames tensions and helps to solidify opposition to British rule. The incident occurred on March 5, 1770, when a group of British soldiers open fire on a crowd of Bostonians, killing five people and injuring several others. In response to the Boston Massacre, colonial leaders organize protests and demonstrations throughout the colonies. In the years that follow, New York plays an important role in the fight for independence, with many of its residents joining the revolutionary cause and contributing to the eventual success of the American Revolution.
1774: The First Continental Congress is held from September 5 to October 26, 1774 and is a pivotal event in the lead up to the American Revolution. The Congress is held in Philadelphia, but delegates from all of the colonies, including New York City, are in attendance. The purpose of the Congress is to discuss the colonies' response to the Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures that have been imposed by the British government in response to the Boston Tea Party. Delegates from New York City, including John Jay and James Duane, play an important role in the Congress. They work with other colonial leaders to draft a series of resolutions and petitions, which are sent to the British government demanding that the Intolerable Acts be repealed.
1775: The New York Provincial Congress meets in New York City and authorizes the raising of troops for the Continental Army. The Congress is an important step in the lead up to the American Revolution, as it demonstrates the growing commitment among the colonies to resist British rule and fight for their independence. New York City plays an important role in the Continental Army's efforts during the Revolutionary War. The city is a key strategic location, with control of its harbor and waterways essential for both the British and American forces. The New York Provincial Congress is a significant moment in the history of New York City and the United States as a whole.
1776: On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is read to George Washington's troops in New York City and is a significant moment, as it demonstrates the commitment of the colonies to the fight for independence and helps to build morale among the troops. In August 1776, the British land a large force on Long Island and begin to advance towards New York City. In July 1776, a statue of King George III, which has been erected in Bowling Green, is pulled down and melted into bullets for the American army. This is a symbolic gesture, demonstrating the American colonists' rejection of British rule and their commitment to the fight for independence.
1776: On August 27, 1776, the Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn, is a significant military engagement during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. It is the first major battle of the war, under the command of General George Washington. The Battle of Long Island is fought in Brooklyn, which is then part of the larger city of New York. The British forces, which are under the command of General William Howe, launch a surprise attack on the American forces, catching them off guard and forcing them to retreat. Despite the defeat, the American forces are able to withdraw from Brooklyn and avoid being captured or destroyed by the British.
1776: On September 15, 1776, the Continental Army begins a strategic retreat from New York City, which is under the command of General George Washington, abandoning the City to British forces. The retreat is a significant setback for the American forces, as New York City is a key location and center of trade and commerce. The British now have control of the New York, which gives them an important foothold in the colonies and a strategic advantage in the war. The Continental Army's decision to retreat northward and regroup ultimately leads to their eventual victory and the establishment of the United States as an independent nation.
1783: On November 25, 1783, the last British troops leave New York City, marking the end of the seven-year-long occupation. The departure of the British is a significant moment for the city and the newly formed nation, marking the end of one chapter in American history and the beginning of a new era. The American Revolution comes to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. As part of the treaty, the British agree to withdraw their forces from the newly formed United States. To commemorate the occasion, General George Washington, who has led the Continental Army throughout the war, leads a triumphant procession through New York city. Washington rides on horseback, followed by his officers and soldiers, as well as local officials and dignitaries.
1785: A group of prominent New Yorkers, politicians, businessmen, and religious leaders, as well as some enslaved people who have been able to purchase their freedom, found the New York Manumission Society with the goal of working toward the abolition of slavery in the state. At the time, slavery is still legal in New York and throughout much of the United States, and many enslaved people live and work in the city. Although slavery is not officially abolished in New York until 1827, the Society plays a significant role in raising awareness about the issue and working to bring about change. Many of the Society's founding members are remembered through street names and other landmarks.
1787: A group of delegates from the 13 American colonies gather in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17 for the Constitutional Convention to draft a new constitution for the United States. Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers and a prominent politician from New York, is among the delegates representing the state. The Constitution remains a cornerstone of American democracy, and its drafting and adoption are celebrated as critical moments in the nation's history. Alexander Hamilton's role in the Convention and his contributions to the establishment of the federal system of government are remembered and celebrated to this day.
1789: On April 30, 1789, George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States at Federal Hall in New York City. At the time, New York City is the capital of the United States, and Federal Hall is the site of the first session of Congress and the drafting of the Bill of Rights. The inauguration is attended by a large crowd of New Yorkers, who gather outside Federal Hall to witness the event. Washington takes the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall, and then proceeds to deliver his inaugural address to the assembled crowd. The inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States is a momentous occasion in American and New York City history, and one that is remembered and celebrated to this day. Federal Hall remains a historic site, and visitors can still see the balcony where Washington was inaugurated and learn about the early days of the American Republic.
1790: The first United States Census is conducted, recording a population of 33,131 for New York City. At the time, New York City is the largest city in the United States and is rapidly growing due to its position as a major port and commercial center. The Census provides valuable information about the demographics and characteristics of the city's population, including data on race, gender, age, and occupation. It also helps to inform decisions about public policy and resource allocation, as officials use the data to understand the needs and priorities of the growing city. Today, it remains one of the most populous and influential cities in the world, with a population of over 8 million people and a rich history that spans centuries.
1792: A group of 24 stockbrokers sign the Buttonwood Agreement under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street, creating the New York Stock and Exchange Board. The agreement grows out of the city's thriving financial sector, which has become a hub of commerce and trade in the years following the Revolutionary War. This agreement lays the foundation for organized trading of securities in the United States, and the group eventually becomes known as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The location on Wall Street becomes synonymous with American finance, and the NYSE remains a major institution in the global financial markets today.
1797: The Commercial Advertiser becomes the first daily newspaper to be published in New York City. The newspaper is founded by William Coleman, a prominent lawyer and journalist, and quickly becomes a major force in the city's media landscape. It is known for its high-quality journalism and editorial independence, and is widely read by New Yorkers of all backgrounds. The newspaper plays an important role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy debates, particularly in the years leading up to the War of 1812. It also helps to establish New York City as a center of journalism and media innovation, paving the way for the many newspapers and media outlets that follow in the decades and centuries to come.
1799: Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, founds the first private orphanage in New York City. The orphanage, which is called the Orphan Asylum Society, is established in response to the growing number of children who are left without parents or family support due to illness, poverty, or other circumstances. The Orphan Asylum Society provides a safe and nurturing home for children, with a focus on education, moral instruction, and practical skills training. The Orphan Asylum Society eventually evolves into the Children's Aid Society, which remains active today, providing a range of services and support to children and families in need.
Welcome to the History of New York City - A Unique Online Gallery of NYC's Origins, Curated and Digitally Restored by Fine Print New York.
We're opening our archives to present this Collection of Vintage Photos, Historical Images and Rare Lithographs. This Exclusive Series of High Quality Art Prints are only Available for Purchase Exclusively on this Site.
We cover a great portion of the city's history, ranging from its earliest days as New Amsterdam to the late 1980s. Artists are currently working on photos from the 90s to present day,
Here's a current list of what is covered:
Digital licenses are available for educational institutions (schools, universities, non-profit organizations). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Joseph Gornail, printer/photographer and founder of Fine Print New York. Joseph grew up in SoHo, Manhattan and is part of a long lineage of NYC printers, learning the family trade from his grandfather. While working for Dolo Records/Stretch Armstrong in 1996, Joseph founded All City Marketing & Printing, and in 1999 Co-Founded the legendary street wear company "Orchard Street " with lifelong friends Benjamin Holloway and Greig Bennett. Fine Print NYC was established in 2004 with a Nike project being the launchpad for a commercial printing company that has not only survived, but thrived in the digital age.
Steven Garcia, designer/illustrator and creative director of Fine Print New York. Born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Steven attended Fashion Industries High School and F.I.T. before building a successful career at Saatchi & Saatchi for as a professional retoucher and storyboard artist in 1995. Steven started ShinyDesign in 1998 and partnered with Fine Print in 2004 as the exclusive design firm for the company. Steven has independently worked on major advertising campaigns for many brands over the years, such as Snapple, The Waldorf Astoria and Sony to name a few.
Together, Joseph & Steven are responsible for the curation and direction of the History101.nyc project, which has been under development since 2006. They have a long history of collaborating together, going back as far as 2001 when Joseph was gallery manager and Steven was a curator at The New York City Urban Experience, an art gallery & museum that was located at 85 South Street and owned by Mike Saes of the Nike Bridge Runners and True Yorkers.
315 Madison Avenue • NYC 10017 • (212)619-5446 • email@example.com
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.