Interestingly, January 1, 1845 was the date when the Cobble Hill Tunnel in Brooklyn was completed and ready for traffic. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation of Emancipation, setting into motion the freeing of over four million slaves who were still being held in the South. Certainly, this event and the many documents from that day at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation and other locations signified a dramatic change in New York and around the country.
In 1874 on this date New York City annexed the Bronx. In 1892, Ellis Island became a reception center for the first time on this date for new immigrants. And, of course, in 1908, the ball dropped for the first time in Times Square, creating the now famous New Year’s Eve celebration.