New York City

Throughout its history, NYC has served as a main port of entry for many immigrants, and its cultural and economic influences have made it one the most important urban areas in the U.S.

The Big Apple. Take a bite...we know you want to!

Just The Facts

  1. New York City is made up of five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.
  2. First Capital of the United States (1789-1790). George Washington was inaugurated there.
  3. Only 75% of lower Manhattan is "natural land" ...the other 25% is landfill (a.k.a. trash).

"Mannahatta" (or, the "island of many hills" in Lenape), was long inhabited by the Native American Algonquin tribe, known as the Lenape, or "true people."

Then, this guy shows up...

In 1524, an Italian explorer by the name of Giovanni da Verrazano, employed by King Francis I of France, sailed into the lower narrows of what will someday be known to us all as New York Harbor aboard his ship (La Dauphine). Though he did not make it to shore due to the "threat of a squall" (*cough*pussy*cough*), he would later report his meeting with the natives, and seeing what he described as "a beautiful lake, about three leagues in circumference," in the distance (a.k.a. the Hudson River) before he turned around and headed back to France.

Verrazano (afraid of wind...sissy)

Verrazano (afraid of wind...sissy)

85 years later...in1609 (for all you math geniuses)

This year, New York City is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson, an English navigator employed by the Dutch East India Company, who came in search of the "Northwest Passage to the riches of the Orient." His mission was a miserable failure, but he reported back to his employers that he found "a land with riches of a different sort" (basically, so he wouldn't look like an idiot to his boss). The island of Mannahatta (which he famously mapped in detail) had an abundance of animals (namely the beaver and otter, whose pelts were of great value to Europeans at the time.

Yes, she's happy to see you, too!

(Beaver Fur = Money and Money = European Chicks = Even More Beaver Fur)

See the value?

After a short stay on the island, Hudson continued up the river that would later immortalize him by bearing his name. Fitting, since he's rumored to have been killed under mutiny by his crew during the legendary journey.

They say that Hudson was killed by his own crew,

most likely in the very same river that bears his name...

We find the irony here freakin' hilarious!

The Dutch Set Their Sights On Scoring LOTS of Beaver Fur.

In 1622, the Dutch West India Company (descendant of the Dutch East India Company) sent shipments of supplies and settlers to establish outposts of trade in what the Dutch claimed as the province of New Netherland.

In 1624, the town of New Amsterdam was established on lower Manhattan. Peter Minuit was appointed Governor, and he bought the land from the natives for trade goods amounting to 60 guilders (mistakenly reported as $24, it was actually closer to $1000...enough to buy about 2,400 tankards of beer at the time).

Both parties considered it the trade a good deal...except, the Indians thought the foreigners were paying for the right to use the land, not the land itself. They soon found out otherwise.

Minuit...a.k.a."White Devil."

We like to think his name was "Chief Sitting Duck"

The "Other" British Invasion.

Unlike the 17th century settlements in New England, which were predicated on religious freedom and established for the purpose of colonization, the Dutch presence in New Amsterdam staked a more "worldly claim" (meaning, they were just being greedy bastards). The area's mission as "a hub of commerce" has remained largely unchanged, but that's pretty much the only thing...

After letting the Dutch do all the dirty work for a few years, the British decided that New Amsterdam was ripe for the taking in 1664. Stuyvesant saw this coming in advance, so he prepared by asking the Dutch West India Company for money to build a 2,400 foot wall with spikes across the northern end of the populated portion of the island (this part of the island is now known as Wall Street) to keep the Brits out. But, the dumb-ass never prepared for an attack from the sea, so he soon found out the hard way that they were actually on an island, surrounded by water. Realizing they were totally fucked, the Dutch surrendered without a single shot being fired.

Stuyvesant....or, as we like to call him, "Governor Tool."

England seized the city and named the colony New York, after James, the Duke of York. New York City quickly became one of the most important places in North America, due to it's awesome location and fervor for trading.

During the Revolutionary War, British troops fought off any opposition from the colonistson the island and even kept control of the city after the war. That is, of course, until George Washington showed up and kicked their asses out.

You have to admit...that guy is pretty bad-ass!

New York City was chosen as the first Capital of the United States (1789-17 90). George Washington was inaugurated there. Between 1790 and 1830, the city transformed itself from one of many important colonial centers into the largest and wealthiest metropolis in the new republic.

Then, A Shitload of Fucking People Started Showing Up...

a.k.a. "Immigration"

Slummin' it up in the N-Y-C

Soon, everyone wanted in on "the American dream." From 1840-1855 more than 3 million Irish and Germans arrived in New York city. Between 1880 and 1900, a new wave of more than 17 million immigrants (this time mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe and China) swept into New York. Many settled in the Lower East Side, where they worked miserable, low paying jobs (seriously, a lot worse than your shitty job) and overcrowding became a serious problem. The Lower East Side had a population density of 209,000 people per square mile.

Trust us...that's A LOT of fucking people.

Tammany Hall

William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, a tough street fighter (our guess is he got that way from being picked on his whole life for having "Marcy" for a middle name), became America's First "Political Boss" in New York City between 1866 and 1871. He was never "officially" elected mayor, but he controlled the city from behind the scenes through the democratic machine known as Tammany Hall. During Tweed's uber-corrupt reign, he and his henchman pocketed approximately $200 million from padded or fradulent city expenditures and tax improprieties. Tweed was eventually indicted and died in a Ludlow street jail, not far from his birthplace (thus the circle of life was complete).

New York City Comes Into its Full Glory

Houses of the really, REALLY rich and famous

In 1892, 1,265 millionaires either lived in the city or its suburbs. By 1895, New York City housed nearly 300 companies worth more than one million dollars - more than the next six largest cities combined. In 1898, Manhattan annexed Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, increasing New York City's area from 23 to 301 square miles.

Between 1880 and 1890, the city became the nation's cultural capital as well, with the openings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Opera House. 1904 marked the opening of NYC's first successful subway, and the re-location of the New York Times building (the area around which was re-named "Times Square" in its honor), thus creating the landmark of many drunken New Year's celebrations to come.

(Holy shit, that's a lot of people...) The First New Year's Celebration in Times Square - c1904.

After WWI, the U.S. emerged as a world power, and nowhere was this newfound status more evident than in dazzling New York City. It offered the best in entertainment, including; theatre, art, sports, culture, music and nightlife. The Jazz Age arrived and the liquor flowed. Business and manfacturing florished, and the strict new immigration laws of 1921 and 1924 slowed the influx of foreigners. Life was beautiful for most in New York City...

...and Then, The Shit Hit the Fan.

The Great Depression

All the partying, high living, and glamour was brought down to a screeching halt overnight when the stock market crashed in October of 1929, and the "Great Depression" began. By 1932, one out of every four New Yorkers was unemployed, and shantytowns called "Hoovervilles" started popping up throughout Central Park.

They Got Knocked Down, But They Got Up Again....and Again...and Again...

In 1934, Fiorello La Guardia was elected mayor. His main focus was on cleaning up corruption, imposing stiff taxes, and utilizing the crap out of FDR's "New Deal" programs. La Guardia, partnered with Park's Commissioner Robert Moses, literally transformed the city both physically and economically through their various public works programs. The nation's entry into WWII also helped to give New York city the economic jolt they needed to put the city back on top again. New York emerged from the war as the leading city of the world, with Wall Street once again leading America's aspirations.

La Guardia and Moses...Part Civil Servants/Part Evil Geniuses

Like many major U.S. cities, economic shifts created substantial social unrest in NYC. The declining number of manufacturing jobs, along with continued immigration resulted in race riots, gang wars, and an overall rise in crime which frightened the middle class. Between 1950 and 1970, more than one million familes left the city in what was known as the "Great White Flight." Things really came to a head in 1975. Despite the city's continued rise in its cultural status, New York was beyond broke. When the city became desperate and turned to the federal government for assistance, we believe this headline sums up their reply nicely:


The city was temporarily rescued by the Municipal Assistance Corporation, put together by investment banker Felix Rohatyn and Governor Hugh Carey, which happened to impress Washington just enough to get them to finally agree to squeezing out a short term loan in the amount of $2.5 billion. Mayor Ed Koch took office in 1978, and further aided the city's recovery by getting it back on track through buget cuts and austerity programs. Brash, shrewd and outspoken, with a personal tagline of "How'm I doing?" to people he met on the street, Koch managed to play the city's various interest groups off one another, winning the respect of many in the process. The 1980s in New York City saw a huge boom in construction, thanks in part to this man right here:

Oh yeah, that guy!

Unfortunately, the homeless population was also on the rise...and people started to get sick and tired of Koch's ego, neglect of the poor, and insensitivity to racial issues. This led to the election of David Dinkins, the city's first black mayor, in 1990. Although Dinkins was successful in establishing several important anti-crime programs, he was viewed as a weak and indecisive leader, and quickly fell out of favor with New Yorkers. Dinkins lost his 1993 re-election campaign to Rudy Giuliani, who was both loved and hated thoughout his service as mayor from 1994 until 2001.

On September 11, 2001, New York City's World Trade Center was targeted in what is considered by many to be the bloodiest and perhaps most tragic terroritst attack in history, when hijackers piloted two passenger airliners into each of the twin towers, causing their eventual collapse and forever changing the landscape of New York's infamous skyline.

Depsite the horrific events of that day, and the days that followed, there's something to be said about New York City's inner strength...its a city like no other that has endured, somehow continues to flourish, and keeps growing to this day.