1524: Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano (sic), on an expedition sponsored by the French crown, sails into New York Harbor. He records his discovery but never sets foot on land.
1609: Englishman Henry Hudson, backed by the Dutch East India Company, arrives in New York in his ship, the Half Moon, and explores the river that now bears his name.
1626: Dutch colonial Governor Peter Minuit purchases Manhattan from its Algonquin speaking indigenous residents for "$24 in beads and trinkets."
1656: Governor Peter Stuyvesant declares beaver pelts a legal form of currency, valued at eight Dutch florins apiece.
1664: The Dutch cede control of New Amsterdam to the British, who promptly rename it New York.
1693: Ninety two cannon are installed at the southern tip of Manhattan to protect the British colony and the site becomes known as the Battery.
1731: New York's first fire department is established, with engines imported from London.
1733: The Bowling Green is set aside as a public park, "with walks therein for the beauty and ornament... as well as for sports and delight of the inhabitants of the citie."
1776: The Revolutionary War begins. British Admiral William Howe assembles a fleet of 100 warships in New York harbor.
1783: British troops leave New
1789: Congress meets in New York and ratifies the U.S. Constitution. George Washington is inaugurated as the nation's first President.
1792: A Stock Exchange is established under a Wall Street tree.
1808: Castle Clinton is built on a small island just off the Battery. Later landfill operations joined the island to the rest of Manhattan.
1823: Castle Clinton becomes the property of the City, is renamed Castle Garden, and becomes a popular public entertainment venue.
1824: The Marquis de La Fayette, hero of the Revolutionary War, is showered with flowers by grateful New Yorkers as he arrives in the city.
1842: Inventor Samuel F.B. Morse tests his new "telegraph" on a line between Castle Clinton and Governor's Island.
1870: New York City's Department of Public Works builds public "floating baths" at the Battery, open free of charge between June and October.
1892: U.S. Immigration Station opens on Ellis Island. before this, arriving immigrants were processed at Castle Clinton in the Battery.
1886: The Statue of Liberty is inaugurated in New York Harbor on Bedloe's Island (now Liberty island).
1896: Castle Clinton is converted into the New York Aquarium. Admission was free. According to one report, daily attendance averaged 5,000 visitors and "One popular exhibit was a small and affectionate
Galapagos penguin, which used to follow its keeper upstairs, one jump to each step."
1909: Wilbur Wright flies his experimental triplane over New York Harbor.
1927: The Holland Tunnel opens, linking New York to New Jersey.
1931: The Empire State Building opens.
1945: World War II ends.
1954: Ellis Island closes.
1961: Plans for Battery Park City development first posted.
1964: The Verrazano(sic) Narrows Bridge is completed, spanning the mouth of New York Harbor. At the time, it is the longest suspension bridge in the world.
1968: Battery Park City Authority is created by the NY State legislature.
1973: The World Trade Center opens.
1988: First phase of construction for Battery Park City is completed. Nearly 35,000 people now work there.
1990: Ellis Island re-opens as museum of American immigration.
1996: Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park opens, completing the last major link in the Battery Park City "greenbelt" stretching north from the Battery to Nelson Rockefeller Park.