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December 20th in NYC - Outdoor Electric Lighting and other important birthdays

Posted: Dec 19, 2012 | 8:53 PM

1879:  Edison demonstrated incandescent light at Menlo Park (now Edison), NJ.  It will rapidly spread to NYC.

Scientific American cover about urban electric lighting

Edison's company became General Electric.  In 2010 GE stopped making light bulbs.  Edison also founded ConEd.

1880:  Electric lighting comes to NYC
after Cleveland and Wabash. 

"Like stars emerging from darkness," the fancy Broadway shopping district from 14th St. to 26th street is lit first. 
Throngs clog the sidewalks, window shopping, and celebrating just being out during one of the longest nights of the year.  Some New York women complained that the lighting was not flattering.

The new arc street lights are twice as tall as the old gas poles. 

Shop windows are lit.  People are out having fun at night.  Urbanity and retail is revolutionized yet again in NYC. 

1881: Brooklyn's Branch Rickey born.  He was the baseball executive who hired the major league's first black players.

On the left, Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Rickey created the farm team system.  He died in 1965.

I like to show this plaque off on Brooklyn Heights walking tours.

1946:  Happy Birthday, Dick Wolf, "Law and Order" producer.  Thank you, sir, for helping NYC's visibility from 1990-2010.  You've provided jobs in tourism, acting, writing, and for technicians.

1946:  Frank Capra's film "It's A Wonderful Life" previews for charity at New York City's Globe Theater.  Initially it was a flop, but it set the standard for positive Christmas movies as it became a television classic.

1947:  Knicks play their first afternoon game at Madison Square Garden prevailing over Boston 70-58.

1968:  John Steinbeck, author of American classics and Nobel Literature prize winner, dies in his Upper-East Side apartment with 66 years.

1973:  The Bronx' Bobby Darin, pop star, died at 37.

1986:  White
youth from Howard Beach chase Black men having pizza there into traffic, killing one that way, and severely beating another.  The 1980s early 1990s in NYC was very racially charged.

1993:  Donald and "Georgia Peach" Marla Maples marry at
Trump's Plaza Hotel, beginning six years of bliss until they divorced
.   The Broadway starlet met Trump sitting weekly in the front row of his church wearing fetching hats.  This was where Trump married his first wife.  When a reporter asked Trump if he met his second wife during his first wedding 'Trump vehemently denied it.' 

Trump is a rich source of mirth for tour-groups, or at least their Guides. 

One day maybe I'll tell you about my elevator ride with Trump.  It was mortifying for everyone including him.

2005:  NYC Transit Workers strike for three days.


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