25 Historical Facts about New York

The first capital of the United States was New York City

In 25 Little-Known Firsts about New Jersey, we looked at how New Jersey has emerged over the past decades. It’s only fitting that we delve into what New York has to offer, since it is just across the water from New Jersey.

New York and More

  • The first American chess tournament was held in New York in 1843;
  • The 641 mile transportation network known as the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway is the longest toll road in the U. S.;
  • A brewer named Matthew Vassar founded Vassar College in Poughkeepsie in 1861;
  • In 1979 Vassar students were the first from a private college to be granted permission to study in the People’s Republic of China;
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan is the only school in the world offering a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing;
  • Union College in Schenectady is regarded as the Mother of Fraternities because Delta Phi is the oldest continually operating fraternity and Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Societies were started on the campus;
  • The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair was actually held in Bethel;
  • In 1807 The Clermont made its maiden voyage from New York City to Albany making the vessel the first successful steamboat;
  • Sam Schapiro began the Kosher wine industry on New York’s Lower East side with their famous extra heavy original concord wine in 1899;
  • New York City has 722 miles of subway track;
  • The first international sports hero, boxer Bill Richmond of Staten Island, was born August 5, 1763;
  • The “New York Post” established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton is the oldest running newspaper in the U. S.;
  •  John Babcock invented both the indoor rowing machine and the sliding seat during the winter of 1869/1870;
  • Dairying is New York’s most important farming activity with over 18,000 cattle and or calves farms;
  • The first railroad in America ran a distance of 11 miles between Albany and Schenectady;
  • The first capital of the United States was New York City;
  • In November for Boy Scouts and in March for Girl Scouts the annual Urban Camp-Outs are hosted at the Empire State Building;
  • The Catskills are the home of the legend of Rip Van Winkle, brown trout and flycasting;
  • The first presentation of 3D films before a paying audience took place at Manhattan’s Astor Theater on June 10, 1915;
  • The Genesee River is one of the few rivers in the world that flows south to north;
  • Rochester is known as both the Flour City and the Flower City. The community is home to the first abolitionist group, bloomers, marshmallows, Jell-O, French’s Mustard, baby shoes, gold teeth and the mail chute;
  • The Big Apple is a term coined by musicians meaning to play the big time;
  • Hartsdale has a pet cemetery established in 1896 and containing 12,000 plots;
  •  Sam Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy who’s caricature Uncle Sam came to personify the United States is buried at Troy’s Oakwood Cemetery. During the War of 1812, he stamped “U.S. Beef” on his products which soldiers interpreted the U.S. abbreviation as meaning Uncle Sam;
  • The first Boy’s Club was established in New York City in 1876.

The City that Never Sleeps

New York is a must-visit spot for throngs of tourists and just a busy place where it is difficult to hail a taxi cab to others. Say what you will about New York, the state brings in tons of cash every year.

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-Kimberly Williams

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