BCE. Small groups of nomadic hunters stalk game across the lands that will, in a few thousand years, become New York City. The hunters’ legacy consists of some flint spear tips and a few piles of bones.
BCE. The crab apple is the only apple native to North America.
BCE. The wild apple Malus sieversii, native to the mountains of southern Kazakhstan, is the ancestor to our domesticated apple.
1200’s. First mention of the city of Almatu (now known as Almaty) in Kazakhstan, the city taking its name from the local word for apple.
Pre-1600’s. The mid-Atlantic region of North America that includes modern-day New York City is inhabited by The Lenape peoples and is referred to as Lenapehoking.
April 1524. The Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sails the French vessel La Dauphine into Upper New York Bay, anchoring between Staten Island and Brooklyn. The crew encounters the native Lenape, who greet them “very cheerfully, making great shouts of admiration.” Verrazzano names the region Nouvelle-Angoulême. A squall soon blows La Dauphine out to sea.
1525. Portuguese sailor Esteban Gomez makes his way past present-day Manhattan and up the Hudson River, but turns around upon deciding that it is not an efficient route to China. Before leaving, however, he captures 57 New England natives to sell as slaves in Lisbon.
1609. The Dutch name of Manhattan is derived from the Lenape name of Manna-hata, as recorded in the logbook for Henry Hudson’s ship Halve Maen (Half Moon).
1618. The Halve Maen is destroyed during an attack on Jakarta in the Dutch East Indies.
1624. A Dutch fur trading post is established on the southern tip of Manhattan.
1625. In Boston, Massachusetts (future home of the Red Sox), the Reverend William Blaxton plants the first North American orchard of domesticated apples.
1664. The British conquer the area of Manhattan and its environs. King Charles II decides to rename it New York in honor of his brother, James II, the Duke of York.
1673. The Dutch momentarily recapture the city and rename it New Orange, before ceding it back to the British.
1688. King James II’s brief reign comes to an end when his nephew and son-in-law William of Orange brings an invading army from the Dutch Republic and deposes James, then rules with his wife (and James’s daughter) Mary.
1700. The Lenape population of New York has diminished to approximately 200.
1741. Thirteen blacks are accused of arson and executed by being burned alive. Slaves constitute approximately 20% (2,500) of the city population at this time, and there is a fear that they are conspiring with poor whites to set fire to the city.
Sept 26, 1774. John Chapman, later known as Johnny Appleseed, is born in Leominster, Massachusetts. He wore a tin cap, which served as protection from the weather and as a mush pot. He brought the gift of alcohol to the frontier by planting nurseries of cider apples.
1833. The German naturalist Carl Friedrich von Ledebour describes Malus sieversii, having observed it on a trip to the Altai Mountains.
April 15, 1909. A replica of the Halve Maen, commissioned by the Netherlands to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage, is launched from Amsterdam.
July 12, 1911. Columnist John J. Fitz Gerald, overhearing stablehands in New Orleans refer to the NYC race-courses as “The Big Apple” titles his racing column in THE REVELATOR as “Circling the Big Apple.” Later, over a contract dispute, he takes his column to The Morning Telegraph and retitles it as “Around the Big Apple.”
1920’s. Native Americans, including members of the Lenape, begin to be hired as skyscraper construction workers.
1929. Almaty becomes the capital of the Kazakh state.
June 16, 1934. The Big Apple Jazz club opens on 135 St. and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem, using a upside-down apple on its name plaque. It is described in the Amsterdam News as “by far the most pretentious bar ever opened by a Negro.”
July 22, 1934. The replica of the Halve Maen is destroyed in a fire.
1964. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opens, the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority dropping one z from Giovanni da Verrazzano’s name because of an error in a construction contract.
June 9, 1978. The Rolling Stones release their album Some Girls. The song “Shattered” contains the lyrics, “Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don’t mind the maggots.”
June 10, 1989. A second replica of the Halve Maen is christened, following its construction in Albany, New York. Nicholas Benton, its designer and builder, dies the same month after falling from the snapped mast of a schooner.
Feb 12, 1997. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani signs bill 856A that designates the southwest corner of West 54th Street and Broadway in Manhattan as “Big Apple Corner,” doing so to honor Fitz Gerald, who lived there.
Dec 10, 1997. Astana is announced as the new capital of Kazakhstan, replacing Almaty.
Sept. 11, 2001. Two Boeing 767 aircraft, hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists, are crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
June 15, 2005. Richard Bowes’s short story, “There’s a Hole in the City” is published in SCI FICTION.
Nov. 10, 2006. The site of Big Apple Jazz club is replaced by a Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits fast-food restaurant. The original plaque for the jazz club is “rescued” and put up for sale on eBay.
Sept. 2009. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Halve Maen’s voyage, the crown prince of the Netherlands sails on board the replica ship.
Oct. 2010. The genome sequence for the Golden Delicious apple is published in the journal Nature Genetics. The apple genome has 57,000 genes, approximately twice the number found in the human genome.
Jan 25, 2017. The Popeye’s restaurant on 135th St burns down in a kitchen fire.
March 19, 2018. The Popeye’s restaurant on 135th St reopens.
October 2018. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is officially renamed the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, returning the lost z to Giovanni da Verrazzano’s name after nearly 60 years of its absence. (Manhattan has not yet been returned to the Lenapes.)
Dec 15, 2018. THE REVELATOR publishes a special “Big Apple” issue.