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September 19th in NYC History: Happy Birthday NYFD, BabyNapper Nabbed, Castro Wants to Fry His Own Chicken, and more good stuff.

Posted: Sep 19, 2012 | 1:50 AM
1738:  The NYC Common Council founds the fire department by appointing thirty "Strong, Able, Discreet, Honest and Sober" volunteers to be the 'Firemen of the City of New York."

1792: William B. Astor, NYC's top Real Estate and Fur Heir and Real Estate Developer born.  After marriage to his old money wife and the death of John Jacob Astor, he became the richest man in America.  The Astors developed a huge amount of low-rent
tenements across Manhattan.  The Astors determined the list of the
elite in town, known as 'the 400,' for the amount of people that could fit in their ballroom. 

The last of the great Astor Heiresses died in the early XXIst Century.  She was known for her fur coats and her generous philanthropy to housing organizations.  She would have her limousine drive her to the Community Based Organizations, step out, meet the organization and its beneficiaries and write a check.  A real beloved NYC character. 

I would not be surprised if some of the beneficiaries lived in buildings that the Astors developed in the 19th Century.


1934: Brooklyn's Bruno Hauptmann was arrested and charged in New York for 'the Crime of the Century,' the kidnapping and murder of "the Lindbergh baby" of the world-famous NYC-based aviator Charles Lindbergh.

1934:  Al Oerter, the New York Athletic Club member who won the shotput gold medal in four consecutive Olympics (1956-1968), born in NY.

1960:  Fidel Castro – in New York City to address the United Nations moves to the Theresa Hotel in Harlem after disputing with the management of the Shelburne Hotel in midtown.

Castro wanted to cook his own chickens in his room.  He was probably trying to avoid poisoning since the CIA was sending him exploding cigars and the mob was not happy about losing their casinos.  The American media portrayed him as a country bumpkin uncivilized campesino who did not know that people don't cook over camp fires in hotel rooms.  Decades later the US public learned that Castro was actually an educated upper-middle class revolutionary.

Castro's stay at Harlem's Theresa Hotel, the Black Waldorf=Astoria, was also a sign of solidarity with the radical part of the civil rights movement.  Indeed, the same building was headquarters for Malcolm X who frequently spoke at rallies outside.

1977:  Ed Koch Manhattan's Greenwich Village Congressman defeated New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo in the Democratic mayoral primary en route to his first of three teams as mayor.  Cuomo would later be a multi-term Governor of NYS during NYC's Koch era.

1995:  The New York Times and The Washington Post published the Unabomber's manifesto, leading to Ted Kaczinski's  capture because his brother recognized his writing style.

2008:  The Bush administration asked Congress for $700 billion to buy troubled mortgage-related assets from U.S. financial institutions.

2008: AMC's "Mad Men," 'the most awarded show that no one watches (but me and 1% of my tour-guuests),' became the first basic-cable show to win the best series' Emmy award.

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