Today in 1797 The new state prison opens in Greenwich Village; it is considered spacious and airy, with excellent Hudson river views, but somewhat too easy to escape; years later it is replaced by the one at Sing Sing, thirty-five miles up the river.
This Day in History
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Yes. In July 1869, Edward Zane Carroll Judson, of Stamford, or "Ned Buntline," discovered Cody at Fort McPherson, Nebraska. That December, The New York Weekly published Judson's first installment of "Buffalo Bill, Kind of the Border Men." Judson himself was no shrinking violet and has been variously described as a sailor, soldier, drunk, temperance advocate, outdoorsman, marksman, bigamist, con-artist, newspaper editor and showman.
In 1962, Traffic Commissioner Henry Barnes instituted a short-lived traffic management system that required cars to stop at both cross-streets and intersections to allow pedestrians to cross diagonally from corner to corner. The ensuing confusion was called by some critis the "Barnes Dance." Others insisted that the name resulted from the joy felt by newly-safe walkers who danced in the streets.
In the nineteenth century, tenements did not have adequate bathrooms, and commercial bathhouses were out of reach for the city's poor. In 1851 the first public bathhouse opened on Mott Street, and in 1901 the city's first free, year-round bathhouse opened on Rivington Street. Some bathhhouses became meeting places for gay men, and others remain popular for cultural or religious reasons to this day.
The honor goes to Cynthia Leonard, who joined presidential candidate Belva Lockwood's 1888 campaign on the National Equal Rights Party ticket. Leonard wanted to break public utility monopolies, provide free housing for the poor, and disallow "any great poverty or great wealth." The mother of the celebrated theater star Lillian Russell, Leonard also advocated for publicly sponsored performances that would include free meals.
Despite close competition, that distinction belongs to the "Boy Mayor," John Purroy Mitchel. Born in 1879, he was a mere 34-years-old when elected in 1913. Unfortunately, Mitchel's re-election bid failed and he was later killed in a 1918 air corps training accident after neglecting to fasten his seatbelt.
The Doctor's Riot of 1788 began when a curious boy observed a dissecction and then discovered his very recently-deceased mother's body was missing. Rioters destroyed laboratories in the New-York Hospital, chased the doctors into City Jail, and ransacked their homes in search of cadavers they believed had been stolen for dissection. Five of the mob were killed by the militia.