The first court case is recorded in Newtown Township court records.
Someone stole a wheel of cheese.
An extreme drought makes pastures unable to support livestock in Queens.
Desperate farmers feed cattle the first hay crop. But doing so, only postpones
disaster. It is now inevitable that their herds will starve in the coming winter.
After the disastrous Battle of Long Island, the British Army marches
into and occupies Queens. They stay until war's end.
August 28, 1776
A British regiment near Carpenter’s Tavern in Hollis captured American general Nathaniel Woodhull. When he refused to say “God save the King!” Woodhall was slashed on the head by a British officer and bayoneted through the arm. He was sent to a British prison ship in Wallabout Bay, where he later died of his wounds. Estimates of deaths on those prison ships range as high as 11,000. If so, this would be more than half of all American casualties during that war.
The Steinway Free Circulating Library opens. It is later absorbed into
the Long Island City Public Library, then the Queensborough Public Library.
Today, the portrait of founder William Steinway still watches from the wall
of the main Reading Room of the library's Steinway Branch.
Long Island City, plagued with numerous lawsuits on assessments, defaults
on city bonds. The Mayor is charged with embezzlement.
August 10, 1884
An earthquake, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, one of the largest ever recorded in the city, struck the eastern United States. It was felt in Queens and as far away as Maine and Virginia. Unlike most earthquakes in this area, this one did have enough force to “throw down chimneys.” Although a truly strong earthquake has never struck the immediate area in recorded history, both Boston and Charleston, South Carolina, experienced severe temblors in colonial times that were felt as far away as New York.
The Brooklyn Parks Department purchases the first parcel for what is
today known as Forest Park. The park grows with acquisitions through 1898.
August 3, 1926
Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born in Astoria. Mr. Benedetto,
better known as Tony Bennett, is famous for such musical hits as 1962's "I
Left My Heart In San Francisco." Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole influenced
his easy and natural style. While working with Pearl Bailey, he met Bob Hope,
who suggested he change his name from his then stage name, Joe Bari.
America's first supermarket opens in a vacant garage on Jamaica Avenue
in Queens. King Kullen Grocery Company is an immediate success.
Former Queens resident Will Rogers and his pilot Wiley Post were killed in a plane crash near Point Barrow in Alaska. Rogers, well known cowboy humorist, philosopher, court jester and serious advisor to United States Presidents, was a former resident of both Forest Hills and Kew Gardens. He first came to Queens in 1918, when he leased a house in Forest Hills for a year. While living there he aided a local charity by putting on a cowboy show that was a tremendous neighborhood success. He later rented another house in Kew Gardens. Tragically, his car once accidentally struck and killed a grocery clerk on Northern Boulevard in Flushing. Although, the incident was an accident, Rogers investigated and found that the clerk was struggling to support a wife and twelve children. He became a continuing contributor of clothing and money to the family.
The first "Walk-Don't Walk" traffic lights were installed
at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street in Flushing. First displayed
in green and red, then about 1980 changed to white and red, these ubiquitous
signals on every corner lasted unchanged until the summer of 2001. With astonishing
speed every traffic light in the borough was updated and pedestrian signals
were replaced with the international symbols of a red hand ("Don't Walk)
and a white outline of a walking man ("Walk"). Authorities felt symbols
were easier to understand and cheaper to operate.
August 15, 1964
The British rock group, The Beatles, performed at Shea Stadium
in Flushing. The band had a sell-out crowd of 55,600, a world record for attendance
at an outdoor concert. It was also the Beatles' largest crowd on any tour. Most
tickets were for $5.65 while some in the upper level were as cheap as $4.50.
The band earned a $160,000 share of the $304,000 gross receipts, also a record
at the time.
At the World's Fair, the seventy-two foot Cities Service bandwagon is
a success. Its fifty-member band plays jazz, classics, military marches and
a popular dance craze of the time, the twist. Fair attendees also enjoy fireworks
displays in the evening at the Fountain of Planets.
August 14, 1965
The last ship to be launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard slid down the ways in a shower of champagne, spray and probably tears. Mrs. Bruce Solomonson, daughter of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, christened the USS Duluth, and at the same time sounded the death knell for the 164-year-old shipyard. It was scheduled to be closed by June 30, 1966. Cited as an economy measure by the Defense Department, many New York businessmen criticized the move that was estimated to result in a $1.5 billion loss to the local economy. In its heyday, the shipyard was the largest employer in the city producing, among many others, the battleships Maine, Arizona, and Missouri.
August 8, 1978
The federal government gave New York City $134.5 million in transit grants, most of which was slated for the 63rd Street line and an underground connection between the IND Queens Boulevard line and the new station in Queensbridge (at 21 Street). At the time, it was felt that the line could be open by 1981. In fact, the line to Queensbridge did not open until October 1989. Construction of the connection to the Queens Boulevard line did not begin until 1994 and was completed in 2001, at a cost of $645 million.
Street clocks on Steinway Street and Jamaica Avenue are declared New
York City Landmarks.
Tennis great Arthur Ashe is memorialized with a bronze statue, Soul
in Flight. Sculpted by Eric Fischl, and sponsored by the United States Tennis
Association, it stands in Flushing Meadow Park.
August 14, 2003
At about 4:30 pm, a massive blackout struck the east coast of the United States and part of Canada. Unlike the blackout of 1977, when there was widespread looting, New Yorkers seemed to be primarily interested in finding a way home and partying. Power was restored to most of the city and Queens by the afternoon of the following day.