January 1, 1776
Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" was published. It proved to be influential in turning many New Yorkers to seek independence.
January 21, 1785
New York City became the temporary capital of the United States and remained the capital until 1790.
January 16, 1789
Grave robbing for the purpose of dissection by medical students was first prohibited by law in New York State.
January 24, 1862
American author Edith Wharton was born in New York City.
January 15, 1870
Cartoonist Thomas Nast created the donkey as the symbol of the Democratic Party in New York City
January 1, 1892
The Processing Center for immigrants opened on Ellis Island in New York harbor.
January 1, 1898
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island were formally united as New York City.
January 16, 1920
The 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale of liquor went into effect. Speakeasies were started in New York City and jazz musicians came to play at them, calling their engagements "playing the Big Apple."
January 7, 1955
Marian Anderson became the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.
January 1, 1959
Nelson Rockefeller became governor. During his tenure, the New York State University system was greatly expanded.