Historic New York
Some interesting facts about Old New YorkNew York harbor and Lady Liberty have always welcomed new immigrants to its shores, but many important time periods in historic new york occurred long before the dawn of photographic record. Images of streetcars, the two majestic lions flanking the entrance to the Fifth Avenue Library and the juxtaposition of poverty and the dreary existence of Lower East Side tenement life would not become a part of recorded history until the last two centuries when photography was introduced to the modern world.
The earliest facts concerning historic new york involve the Lenape Indians who were the chief inhabitants of Manhattan Island prior to the arrival of Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524. Over the course of the next century, the Dutch founded New Amsterdam, which became New York City in 1664. The site of many battles during the American Revolutionary War, New York was the nationís first capital until 1790.
Photography's permanent imprint on history
The late 19th and early twentieth centuries heralded visually recorded history in the form of photography. Many different images of historic New York began to appear, one of the earliest concerning the 1904 opening of the New York City Subway system at the City Hall Station. The Inter-borough Rapid Transit (IRT) was the very first subway company to operate in New York City and the series of transportation links operating out of Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station flourished and helped to bind the city together.
Coupled with industrial and economic growth, historic new york experienced rising crime and poverty rates. The Gilded Age in those prosperous years before income tax and World War I sharply incised the indelible gap between the rich and the poor. A working class evolved as the cityís demographics stabilized and labor unions brought new protections to workers. The 1920s and the era of prohibition coincided with the construction of skyscrapers including numerous Art-Deco masterpieces, which would forever symbolize the character and appearance of historic new york. Beginning in 1925, New York City became the most populous city in the world, overtaking London, which had reigned for a century. The Great Depression was one of the cityís most difficult times but a light of hope shone with the election of reformer mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, and the fall of Tammany Hall after eight decades of political dominance.
Both before and after World War II, vast areas of historic New York were reshaped by the rise of the bridges, parks and parkways coordinated by Robert Moses, who was considered the greatest proponent of automobile-centered urbanism in America. New York merged as the leading city of the world, a positioned bolstered by Wall Street and the 1951 relocation of the United Nations to Manhattanís East Side.
During the 1960s, the views of real estate developer and city leader, Robert Moses, began to fall out of favor as the anti-Urban Renewal movement gained popularity. It was a tumultuous time and like other major cities, New York suffered race riots, gang wars and population and industrial decline. By the 1970s historic new york had also gained a reputation as a crime-ridden city.
The 1980s saw a rebirth of Wall Street, and the city reclaimed its role at the center of the worldwide financial industry. Unemployment and crime remained high, but New York did recover, bolstered by the influx of Asians, Latin Americans, and U.S. citizens, and by new crime-fighting techniques on the part of the NYPD. In the late 1990s, the city benefited from the success of the financial sectors, such as Silicon Alley, during the dot com boom, one of the factors in a decade of booming real estate values.
New York is still making history with its recovery from the terrible terrorist attacks of September 2001, which claimed almost 3,000 lives. There will always be a spark of hope in the city that never sleeps, for historic new york never has and never will stop making history.