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December 5th in NYC History - Happy St Nicholas' Birthday Eve!

Posted: Dec 5, 2012 | 12:06 AM

1624-1822:  Dutch Nieuw Amsterdamers and New Yorkers Celebrate Sinter Klaas' Eve (St Nicholas Day Eve)

The evening is still the traditional Dutch night of gift-giving and
gifts from Sinter Klaas, who, with Black Peter, goes down the chimney after landing on the roof with a flying horse.

Sinter's gifts go in the good childrens' wooden shoes. Bad children get a switch stick to whip them with. 

To some extent, Sinter Klaas himself is both naughty and nice, leaving a mess behind.

Chirstmastime is not a big gift giving day for the Dutch, more of a quiet church and family time.

1876:  Nearly 300 die and hundreds more injured in Brooklyn Theatre fire.

1933:  Prohibition ends.  

The era shut down the local thriving brewery industry, America's greatest beer city.  It transformed bars from a tavern culture
(in which men practically lived in bars) to more regulated bars that close down. 
In the meantime, some bars under the protection of the Tammany Hall local political machines, including the Police, remained open as speakeasies, and those who wanted booze turned to ethnic mobs which grew in power and organization through prohibition, which glamorized law-breaking and made it mainstream.

1934:  Writer Joan Didion born.

1935:  Writer Calvin Trillin born.

1948:  Last Professional Football League game in Brooklyn
 with Cleveland's Browns beating the Dodgers 31-21 at Ebbets Fild.  The Dodgers will merge with the Football. Yankees.  Pro football in Brooklyn: 1926-1948.

1955:  The AFL/CIO forms in Manhattan, a merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of
Industrial Organizations, headed by George Meany of the Bronx.  With 15 million members it's the world's largest labor federation.     

More about Labor History in New York City towards the bottom.

1957:  NYC becomes first city to ban housing discrimination based on creed or race with passage of the Fair Housing Practices Law.

"Hell, No!  We won't go!" debuted at NYC's four days long Stop the Draft protests.

They sat four deep blocking an induction center.  Traffic was clogged around town.  Protests reached the U.N.  Police outnumbered demonstrators 2:1.  

Manhattan streetscapes are not like this anymore!

1973:  Serpico, starring Al Pacino, opens,
depicting Detective Frank Serpico's struggle exposing NYPD corruption in that era.    

2002:  Broadcasting giant and pioneer Roone Arledge died.

2006:  New York pioneers banning
trans fats at restaurants to improve heart health.  Restauranteurs predict disaster.  They seem fine. 

2012:  Dave Brubeck died.

NYC Labor (Cont)
Around the same year, 1955, the shipping container box is invented, which will reduce the ports' employment and industrial ability, as well as setting the stage for globalization which also shipped jobs away.  
 By the early 1960s, garment and clothing tariffs would be phased out. In 1955, around 95% of American clothes were made in America.  New York City's largest employer for a hundred years or so was garment manufacturing.  Now Americans make less than 1% of their clothes.   

 The decline of labor in NYC lead to the loss of about a million jobs, which hurt the city deeply.  For an illustration of that, check out late 1960s and early 1970s movies, such as 1973's Serpico

An Alwyn Court exterior detail. 58th St and 7th Ave.  It is
frequently overlooked as groups hurry to and from Central Park.  Folks, spends a couple extra days in NYC. It will be memorable. (And tourists think New Yorkers are in a hurry!)  This is Joan Didion's longtime NYC home.

More about today in history:


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