You may have strong opinions about Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, David Dinkins and Ed Koch, but they are nothing compared to Fernando Wood, a Democrat who was elected to be Mayor of New York City in 1854. Under Mayor Wood, the Municipal Police (formed in 1845) became incredibly corrupt and the Republican-controlled State Legislature abolished it in 1857 and created the competing Metropolitan Police. Wood refused to remove the Municipals, which meant NYC had two different police organizations, one controlled by the mayor, the other by Albany, operating at the same time.
Arresting the mayor. A train station trunk discovered with naked woman inside. Duping the press into starting a panic on Wall Street. Click through for some of the craziest incidents of yesteryear.
Daniel Okrent, author ofLast Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, noted that 19th century drinking patterns were roughly triple our own. That figure becomes all the more startling when you take into account the drunken renaissance our country is currently undergoing (a recent Gallup Poll found the drinking rate is the highest it has been since the mid-1980s, when drinking ages across the nation were inflated to keep intoxicated teens off the road). Without excluding children, the elderly, or any other group adverse to imbibing, the average American still consumed a gag-inducing 3.9 gallons of alcohol annually in 1830.
(Source: The Awl)
“This is the place: these narrow ways diverging to the right and left, and reeking every where with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here, bear the same fruit here as elsewhere. The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at home and all the wide world over. Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old.”
- Charles Dickens on Five Points, New York City