A New Year and a New New York

This week, New Yorkers from across the boroughs gathered together in Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve, just as they have done since 1907 (with a few exceptions). But just ten years earlier they gathered separately. On December 31, 1897, to fireworks and bands, Manhattanites celebrated both the new year and the creation of “Greater New York.” Across the East River, the best citizens gathered in mourning on an appropriately cold and rainy night. At midnight, Brooklyn, then the nation’s fourth largest city, would give up its independence. Some thought it inevitable, at least since completion of the bridge in 1883, but it could have been otherwise—the “consolidation” movement won by a mere 277 votes out of 129,000.