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5 Embarrassing Moments in NYC History

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The history of New York, particularly New York City, is a fascinating read, browsing through Wikipedia (where you wanted to go to the fellatio wiki so you could “observe” those images for some further “education”). But as much as this city is packed with many twists, turns, triumphs, and failures, it’s also filled with some very awkward moments. Here are 5 awkward moments that New York City would like to forget.

5. When Bloomberg Wanted a Soda Tax

Photo Credit: Fooducate blog.fooducate.com

Photo Credit: Blog.Fooducate.com

This doesn’t need much explanation. In an effort to curtail costs and to make the city a little healthier, Mayor Bloomberg throughout 2010 attempted to put a tax on soda. His first move was wanting to prevent food stamp users from purchasing the sugary stuff. Later, he urged state legislators to impose a penny-per-ounce tax for sodas. Loads of big soda’s big businesses (like PepsiCo and Dr.Pepper), were pretty much against it from the start. Duh!

However, it does seem like it is making a comeback

4. When the Statue of Liberty Had to Be Crowdsourced

Photo Credit: Wired New York wirednewyork.com

Photo Credit: WiredNewYork.com

Before the statue was actually constructed, in September 1875, the French-American Union (a fundraising committee specifically made for the thing) made a deal that the French would finance the statue, and the Americans would finance the pedestal. The French had paid for the statue itself to the tune of $250,000 US by 1885.

When we had to pay for the pedestal, Congress denied funds and the New York committee for the statue had no money in the bank. The Panic of 1873 had thrown the US into a decade of economic depression.

As a response, the American side of the Union held fund-raising events and urged every American to donate as much as they could to fund the pedestal. Joseph Pulitzer from the New York World started publishing the notes he received from contributors to his fundraising efforts. One donor gave, ‘five cents as a poor office boy’s mite towards the Pedestal Fund.’ While a dollar was from a, ‘lonely and very aged woman.’ By 1898 we eventually had enough money for the pedestal. Look at your roots Kicktarter.

3. When Toll Booths Were Supposed to be Temporary

Robert Moses Photo Credit: The Menden Hall themendenhall.com

Robert Moses Photo Credit: TheMendenHall.com

Our lovely toll booths that are there to fuck with us (and our wallets) were actually suppose to be temporary. In the 1930’s, infamous city planner Robert Moses installed toll booths at the Triborough Bridge in order to raise funds as New York City and the state were always strapped for money.

The Triborough Bridge Authority was skeptical of this tactic, but eventually it turned out that toll revenues exceeded anyone’s expectations. So much so that Moses kept using the toll booths for other bridges in order to fund more projects. Essentially, toll booth bullshit was created from an evil accident.

2. When Central Park Destroyed Community

Photo Credit: Mental Floss mentalfloss.com

Photo Credit: MentalFloss.com

Central Park, a place for promenades and public urination, came at a heavy cost for the African American community. Before Central Park, there was Seneca Village, (located at 82nd through 89th between 7th and 8th are now). This was a safe soace founded by free black people during 1825 to 1857. It was a haven for middle class minorities and included three churches, a school, and several cemeteries.

Unfortunately in 1855, Seneca was at the center of a campaign to construct Central Park. The media devolved the village as a “shantytown” or a “ghetto” as time passed. Two years of protest did not stop the inevitable and then in the summer of 1856, Mayor Fernando Wood claimed the village as part of eminent domain. People were evicted and lives were destroyed. I don’t have much of a finishing sentence on this one, it just sucked.

1.When People Died from a Rumor

Photo Credit: Wikimedia via e-perpustakaan.com

Photo Credit: E-Perpustakaan.com

Rumors kill people, dude. That’s what happened during the infancy of the Brooklyn Bridge. Six days after the bridge was open to the public on May 30, 1883, a rumor surfaced that the bridge was unstable and going to collapse. On opening day, the bridge had 150,300 people crossing it; shit was going to hit the fan somewhere.

The tragedy started when a woman tripped and fell on the descending stairs of the Manhattan side of the bridge. This grabbed the attention of another lady who screamed, which made everyone on the bridge turn and run towards the scene. This caused confusion and panic as 12 people were fatally trampled by the crowd while 35 were left injured.

A year after the incident, P.T Barnum led 21 elephants through the bridge to reassure to the public that it was safe to cross. Well, it was either that or to play some cruel God-damn joke. The kind your uncle would play to reassure you that his virility was still strong when he publicly confessed that he cheated on your aunt. Good times.

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Zack Daniel Schiavetta

Zack Daniel Schiavetta

Zack Daniel Schiavetta is a quiet kid, musician, writer, village idiot, and student. He is currently studying at Baruch College, contributing to the Opinions section of his college's newspaper, The Ticker. He's also a history buff. His music can be found at zackdaniel.bandcamp.com. He can be contacted via zackschiave9085@gmail.com

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