Early America (1784-1854)

The Doctors Riot

What: Armed protest of doctors who were grave robbing for medical dissection
When: 1788
Where: Trinity Church and then Manhattan-wide


Opium for Mothers at Bellevue

What: Women suffering from infection during childbirth were treated with high doses of opium
When: Mid Nineteenth Century
Where: Bellevue Hospital


Steam-fueled Skirmish

What: The patent act of 1790 and commercial competition led to steamboat innovation in New York City waters
When: 1790s to 1820s
Where: New York Harbor


Minetta Brook

What: The path of an underground creek that still runs today.
When: For much of the island’s history, until early the early 1800s
Where: In the West Village, around New York University


Ginsing in Gotham

What: Elgin, America’s first public botanical garden, cultivated many plants with medical properties. Centuries later, one of those plants would reappear in medical stores in Chinatown.
When: 1801
Where: Fifth Avenue with 50 Street, Manhattan


When Hogs Ruled

What: About 20,000 hogs—one for every five people—roamed the city in the first half of the 19th century. After the outbreak of cholera epidemics in the 1830s, the pigs were persecuted by the police and driven to other boroughs. It was later discovered that they were not to blame for the epidemics.
When: 1820
Where: Everywhere in Manhattan


An Aqueduct for Gotham

What: New York City’s first aqueduct brought Manhattan 75 million gallons of water a day.
When: 1842
Where: It ran 41.5 miles, from Dutchess County to what is now the Great Lawn in Central Park


Black History Unearthed

What: Discovered in 1989, this slave cemetery held an estimated 15,000 individuals, and overturned the widespread notion that slavery in America was largely a Southern phenomenon.
When: 1700s
Where: 290 Broadway


Yellow Fever Fence

What: Repeated yellow fever outbreaks led to quarantines and a fence
When: 1822
Where: Financial District, Manhattan


Telegraph Races

What: Samuel Morse developed the electric telegraph
When: Early 1800s
Where: New York University


First Floor: The Future

First Floor: The Future
What: America’s first world fair, with exhibits of design, art, food as well as many mechanical innovations and inventions—including Elisha Otis’s safety elevator.
When: 1853
Where: New York Crystal Palace, now Bryant Park