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December 7th in NYC History -

Posted: Dec 6, 2012 | 10:21 PM

1842:  The New York Philharmonic gave its first concert at Broadway and Canal Street. 

They performed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony .  The Philharmonic was founded as a musician's cooperative; the musicians bought in and shared the profits.

120 years later, the Philharmonic will get a home of its own at Lincoln Center.  It is the oldest continuing philharmonic in the USA.

1902:  Thomas Nast the icon-making, defining, and influential political cartoonist died

The late 19th Century Cartoonist invented or defined images including: 'Uncle Sam,' the Democrat Jack-ass (Donkey), the Republican Elephant, and Santa Claus as a fat jolly old elf giving presents to children or scurrying down chimneys.

Nast's pen, imagination, originality, wit, boldness, skill and directness was feared by politicians and the corrupt.  NYC's Boss Tweed detested Nast's nasty depictions of him.  When Tweed was on the lamb in Spain, he was recognized apprehended because of Nast's portrayals.

Some oligarchs set up a phony foundation which offered him $100,000 for him to study art in Europe.  Tweed, ever the wag, bid the bribers up to $500,000 and then he declined the fellowship, stating: 

"Well, I don't think I'll do it. I made up my mind not long ago to put some of those fellows behind the bars."

Probably a good idea not to accept the offer.  Bumping him off in Europe would be one way of extending his study abroad.  On the other hand, when Harper's magazine's politics changed, and so did America's tastes, Nast lost his platform and much of his income. 

Here is Santa Claus helping out the Union cause.

Nast promoted the Civil War, and although the outcome was what he desired, his urgency  then waned.

His legacy remains.

Nast's work is a big part of my Santa the New York City Tour.

Santa's Birthday is the day before Nast's deathday.

1941:  Japanese national are rounded up and detained at Ellis Island in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  They will be transferred to other facilities for the remainder of WW2.

1963:  Instant replay used for the first time in a live sports telecast for the Army-Navy football game on CBS.

1964:  LoMEx gets the green light.  The contentious highway development battle lasted through most of the 1960s.  It would have cut through what was to become SoHo and TriBeCa, and one of its exit ramps would go through Washington Square Park.

Margot Gayle used tours as a form of activism to save SoHo sticking magnets on the cast iron columns to make her point.  That's the tour guide story. 

The unofficial story is that the other neighborhood facing demolition, Little Italy, also had some influential constituents who convincingly weighed in against the highway.

It took many other neighborhoods fifty years to recover from elevated highways cutting through them.  What would Manhattan be like without the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, SoHo, and TriBeCa?  On the other hand, Canal Street and Delancey Street's terrible cross-town traffic might be a bit lighter as cars flew from Brooklyn to New Jersey over the dusty abandoned streets below.


: Hamilton Fish, American politician  1888 - 1/18/1991; Tom Waits, Rock singer, and actor, and Eli Wallach.

1993: Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six, wounding dozens

His defense was black rage.  The context of that era was severe identity politics, especially fiery among blacks.

He was later sentenced to hundreds of years in prison.

One of the victim's wives, Carolyn McCarthey, started a movement to counter gun violence, and then became a US Congressperson in 1996.

1994:  Howard Stern talked a radio caller out of suicide.

2002:  Iraq denied it had weapons of mass destruction in a declaration to the United Nations.  It seems that they were more correct than the Bush administration on this point.

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