NYC Rapid Transit Railroad

Today in History, March 24, 1900:

New York City Mayor Robert Anthony Van Wyck uses a silver spade to turn the first shovel-full of dirt on a new project: The first underground “Rapid Transit Railroad” in NYC. The first leg would run from Manhattan to Brooklyn. What is now known as the subway would get someone from downtown to Harlem in 13 minutes.

“When Mayor Van Wyck, silver spade in hand, lifted the first shovel of dirt from a small excavation in the flagging in front of the City Hall yesterday, the rapid transit tunnel was officially begun. Around New York’s Chief Magistrate were grouped the men whose persevering work of years had at last made rapid transit a certainty in New York, city officials who have aided them more-or-less in their efforts, financiers who came to the rescue when their aid was most needed, citizens whose names are a power in the professional and commercial world. and beyond all these, banked in almost solid phalanx from the sidewalks of Broadway across the park to the tall buildings in Park Row, were thousands of citizens of all degrees of life, who fought and struggled for position to witness one of the most important events in the history of the city.” –The New York Times, March 25, 1900

Nightline & The Hostage Crisis Countdown…

TODAY IN HISTORY, MARCH 24, 1981:

“Nightline”, an ABC news show, premieres, according to Historyorb.com.

The most interesting part of this story is that “nightline” with Ted Koppel actually began in November 1979 with the Iran Hostage Crisis. But then, that was focused on the Democrat administration of Jimmy Carter, so we can’t report that accurately.

The program had its beginnings on November 8, 1979, just four days after the Iran hostage crisis started. ABC News president Roone Arledge felt the best way to compete against NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was to update Americans on the latest news from Iran. At that time, the show was called:

“The Iran Crisis—America Held Hostage: Day xxx” where xxx represented each day Iranians held hostage the occupants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Originally, World News Tonight lead anchor Frank Reynolds hosted the special report. Shortly after its creation, Reynolds stopped hosting the program.

Ted Koppel, then ABC News’s State Department Correspondent, took on the hosting duties. It wasn’t until a few days later that a producer had the idea of displaying the number of days on “America Held Hostage”: Day 15, Day 50, Day 150, and so on.

The show continued to run as Nightline after the hostages were freed, and Ted Koppel became one of America’s most respected journalists.

Exxon Valdez…Disaster in Paradise

Today in History, March 24, 1989:

The Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker which had just filled up and was headed through Prince William Sound, Alaska, runs aground on Bligh Reef.

The rupture in the tanker’s hull allowed nearly 11 million gallons of oil to spill into the waters of the Sound and The Gulf of Alaska.

Over the next several days the crude eventually spread over approximately 1300 miles if pristine Coastline in what is arguably the last wild frontier.

Hundreds of thousands of fish, birds and other animals that make Alaska and its waters home were defenseless against the sudden onslaught. Many were rescued by volunteers equipped with dish soap, while many more died.

Exxon, the government and others tried several methods in attempts to clean up the mess, but what I’ve read indicated the results were meager, and nature is doing a better job of healing the Unfathomable damage itself. Still, almost 30 years later, the effects of the crew and company’s irresponsibility remain.

Exxon estimates it spent approximately 2.1 billion dollars on cleanup.

In the end a price or cost from the disaster can’t be quantified.

“I Fights to the Finish, Cause I eats My Spinach…”

oday in History, March 26: 1937 – The Great Depression had devastated nearly every community in the Heartland of America. But not Crystal City, Texas. The small farming community had flourished growing a once unpopular veggie called Spinach. The grateful residents erected a monument to the “man” that had saved their community by proclaiming to the world that “I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man!”