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March 1st in NYC History

Posted: Mar 1, 2013 | 12:35 AM

1790:  Congress authorized the first United States census.

1848:  August St. Gaudens, one of the great sculptors, born.

1880:  The Second Avenue El(evated train) opened from South Street to 65th Street, zipping above the horse traffic.  

We see a picture of this on my South Street Seaport tour, and we note how that contrasts with the 1950s when the elevated FDR Drive overpassed South Street, leaving it behind in shadows, separating the Fulton Fish Market from the rest of Downtown.

1904:  Swing band leader Glenn Miller born elsewhere.

1917:  Robert Lowell, poet, born.  He died 1977. 

1922:  Mad Magazine publisher Bill Gaines born.  He died 1992.

1926:  NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle born.  He died 1996.

1927:  Harry Belafonte born in NYC.

1932:  The (Charles) Lindbergh Baby was kidnapped in NJ.  The situation ended badly for all involved, and captivated the nation.

1940:  Richard Wright's "Native Son" was published.

1968:  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)  was created to control one of the world's largest commuter rail systems. This was an era when train and rail companies were going bankrupt as a result of competition with cars, trucking, and jets, which, ironically, the private train companies subsidized (highway taxes and publicly owned airports).  

The use of an "Authority" enabled the MTA to be able to issue publicly backed (by taxes) bonds, while avoiding political accountability.  Politicians from the state and city government appointed a staggered board to dilute responsibility for controversial decisions, such as fare increases, and oversight for inefficiency and waste.  Mad about a fare increase?  It is not the Governor's fault or the Mayor's fault, their appointees made the decision.

We explore the ups and downs and ups of rail travel on my Grand Central tour.

2003:  Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11/01 attacks was captured in Pakistani.

I cover terrorism in my WTC Deep History Tour, and sometimes in my World Trade Center Tours.


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