November 16th in NYC's History - Washington's defeat and narrow escape, America's oldest continuing newspaper, the start of the Rangers and The Sound of Music, and some personal notes
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 | 11:41 PM
1776... George Washington narrowly escapes Fort Washington (around today's 183rd St). Tories and Hessian mercenaries took the fort and 3000 Continental troops as prisoners. These Patriot prisoners will suffer or die horribly for the next six years in British brig ships. Their remains appeared on Brooklyn's shores for decades.
It is partly for this reason that New York City sacrificed the most for the Revolution.
These remains were entombed in Trinity Churchyard. They were moved there to prevent Pine Street to cut through their property.
This date was Washington's worst military setback.
Six years later Washington returned to liberate New York City, supervising the British Evacuation, and the effective end of the War.
New York City loves George Washington, and we have two dozen places and things named for him, including the massive George Washington Bridge.
Washington was the first documented to use the phrase "typical New Yorker," describing a man who talked fast.
I am not sure what else Washington thought of New York City, but on several other important, more pleasant occasions, he left as quickly as he could.
1801... Alexander Hamilton debuts what is now NYC's, and America's, oldest continuing newspaper, The New York Evening Post, now The New York Post, presenting the Federalist point of view.
The New York Post reputedly has NYC's best sports section.
1873... The "Father of the Blues," W. C. Handy was born. This is his obituary from 1958. He died in Harlem, and his last public appearance was at the Waldorf=Astoria.
1889... The first Battle of the Bronx: Fordham football defeats NYU, which sold out Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds through the 1920s and 1930s.
1926... The NY Rangers' first hockey game, defeating Montreal 1-0 in front of 13,000 at Madison Square Garden.
1959... Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," starring Mary Martin, debuts on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater.
1962... Wilt Chamberlain takes the Garden's pro-scoring record with 73 points, helping the Warriors defeat the Knicks 127-111. Earlier that year, he scored 100 points against the Knicks in Hershey, PA, the record for points scoring. That game was not taped because of a rule prohibiting away games from being televised if they were on the radio! Four years earlier, the Big Dipper played for the Harlem Globetrotters instead of another amateur college year, due to need for pay, and triple teaming against him.
Big Wilt will eventually buy Small's Paradise renaming it Big Wilt's Small's Paradise in Harlem, where the Harlem Globetrotters were never based.
1977... Happy Birthday to actress and Columbia College alum Maggie Gyllenhaal.
1982... The NFL ends a two-month football strike, leaving only nine regular season games, and expanding the playoffs.
1982... Happy Birthday to the Knicks' power forward Amar'e Stoudemire.
2010... Congressman Charlie Rangel convicted on 11 of 13 charges related to financial misconduct, prompting censure for the longtime Harlem Representative.
We see the building where Rangel's four subsidized luxury rent controlled apartments are
before getting a soul food lunch at Mannah's on Harlem Tours.
In 2003, I got a preview of his character, while I was working on a community technology program his liaison showed up to take the credit among the constituents. When the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee was needed to back the funding for the program, his liaison testily refused because it would take a good deal of effort.
Momentum was building for the Iraq War and Rangel was focused on that.
This particular Al Gore sponsored Technical Opportunity Program that I worked on cost half a cruise missile. It continues to directly benefit tens of thousands of people.
(By the way, Gore never claimed to have built the Internet, but he helped make it much better.)
The entire Technical Opportunities Program (TOP) had projects in 50 states, costing a total of 24 cruise missiles in 2003. The program cost $233 million, and helped diverse populations pioneer uses of the Internet for seniors, rural towns, industry, and farmers to share water, for a few examples.
Once in 2004 an $8 billion delivery of cash, weighing dozens of tons, shipped on pallets filling two Hercules Transport Planes to Iraq was lost. This is 32 times the cost of TOP.
In 2011, $6.6 billion was accounted for but billions more was wasted on fraud. The entire Iraq war is estimated to cost $1 trillion, or a million million dollars.
We didn't find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but we did kick that Saddam statue's ass!!
Even years later, after I became a tour guide, since I was laid off that worthy program due to lack of funding, a good portion of passengers on my WTC tours believed that Iraq was behind the 9/11/01 Attacks. Many had relatives serving. From their body language, I gathered that they would commit violence against me over the controversy and then get me fired (that would be a second time for this war!).
This taught me a valuable lesson: keep politics out of tours. People didn't pay for it. Half of them don't want dots connected. I love being a tourguide, and don't quite know what I'd do without it.
In 2010, I was not surprised about Rangel's indictments of his character, considering his approach to politics. He continues to be re-elected.
This is in the tradition of Harlem's loyalty to Rangel's predecessor to that Congressional seat, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the preacher and civil rights leader.
We see this sculpture, where ACPjr staged a successful store sit-in in the 1930s, and his and his father's church on my Harlem Tours.