You may know that New York is first in your heart, but did you know that it was first at a number of other accomplishments?
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1. New York City was the first capital of the United States. (1785)
The U.S. Constitution named New York City as the first capital. Congress and the Supreme Court's very first sittings were Federal Hall on Wall Street (then called Old City Hall). George Washington was also inaugurated as President there.
Sadly, NYC's role as a capital was short lived. The honor was transferred to Philadelphia in 1790 due to fears that the high society in New York was too aristocratic and financially-oriented.
2. The Clermont took the first successful steamboat voyage. (1807)
As the world's first steamboat, it's no exaggeration to say that the Clermont changed the course of transportation. The ship operated on the Hudson River (then often called the North River) between New York City and Albany. The first voyage's average speed was around 5 miles per hour.
3. The first American chess tournament was held. (1843)
The first modern chess tournament was held in England in 1841 and shortly thereafter, chess became an international phenomenon. The first American tournament was a local match held in New York in 1843. By 1857, America was hosting American Chess Congress competitions to determine national champions.
4. The first women's rights convention met at Seneca Falls. (1848)
The Seneca Falls Convention was the first women's rights convention. It set off a flurry of other women's rights conventions that occurred in the following years. The meeting discussed the prospect of women gaining the right to vote and discussions of what the role of women in society should be.
5. Belva Lockwood became the first female attorney to practice before the United States Supreme Court. (1879)
Belva Lockwood was a proponent of women's suffrage who was one of the first women to graduate from law school. She was the first female attorney to practice in front of the Supreme Court and was also the first woman to run for President (1884, 1888).
6. Niagara Falls became the first state park. (1885)
Prior to Niagara Falls being obtained by the state, the land's ownership was private and there was little public access to the area. Thankfully, that all changed when the Niagara Reservation was named a state park!
7. Toilet paper was invented in New York City. (1857)
Other substances had been used for bathroom wiping for centuries, but it was not until 1857 that modern, commercially available toilet paper was invented. It was originally sold in sheets with the inventor's name printed on it!
8. The teddy bear was invented in Brooklyn. (1902)
The teddy bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt. He was involved in an incident in which he refused to kill an American black bear that had been captured and tied to a tree. The occurrence was popularized in political cartoons, and a New York candy maker was inspired to create a stuffed bear named after Roosevelt. The bears were immediately popular and the inventor's newly-found toy company ended up being a huge success.
9. The first roller coaster to operate in the United States was at Coney Island. (1884)
The first roller coaster in America was a wooden switchback railway that went about 6 miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.
10. The Brooklyn Children's Museum was the first museum dedicated to children. (1899)
The museum was started in hopes of educating urban children about natural science. Today, children are heavily involved in planning out new exhibits there!
11. The first 3D film shown to a paying audience was played at the Astor Theater. (1915)
The event was a complicated affair involving optical illusions and figures projected from the stage wings.
12. Lombardi's Pizza was the first pizzeria in America. (1905)
The business was started as a grocery store that sold tomato pies wrapped in paper.
13. The first public brewery was opened in Lower Manhattan. (1633)
Peter Minuit Brewery only survived for about five years, but it was said to be the first public brewery in America. It was located in lower Manhattan.
14. The first international sports star, Bill Richmond, was born in Staten Island. (1763)
Bill Richmond was born into slavery in New York. During the Revolutionary War, a British commander was impressed with Richmond's performance in a bar fight and arranged for him to be freed. He was transported to England, where he was educated and began boxing in his 40s. He proved an immense success, winning 17 of his 19 matches.
15. New York was the first state to require license plates on vehicles. (1901)
The first license plates were not made by the state, but instead crafted by the car's owners (typically on leather or iron). They were printed with the owner's initials and designed to notate ownership.
Did you know that New York was the first at accomplishing these things? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!