Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: May 5, 1997

Release #249-97

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958



At a City Hall ceremony today, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone commemorated the 100TH anniversary of the signing of the charter which consolidated more than 40 local governments -- including the cities of Brooklyn and New York -- into the City of New York. The original charter, signed into law on May 4, 1897 by Governor Frank S. Black, was unveiled in the Public Hearing Chamber today, and will go on public display at the Museum of the City of New York until May 9 TH.

Joining the Mayor as he declared today Consolidation of Greater New York Day were Schuyler Chapin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Robert Macdonald, President of the Museum of the City of New York; Betsy Gotbaum, President of the New York Historical Society and Vice Chairperson of the New York 100: Centennial Celebration Commission; documentary filmmaker Ric Burns; the Aviation High School Color Guard; the Tottenville High School Band; and twenty 100-year-old New Yorkers.

"One hundred years ago, Governor Frank S. Black signed into law a bill that changed the course of history," said Mayor Giuliani. "Newspapers at the time reported, 'it is doubtful if a Governor of New York State ever before signed a measure of equal importance.' Without question, Governor Black's courageous action -- in the face of much opposition -- created the most unique and unusual city in the world.

"Today, as we celebrate this important anniversary, New York is experiencing a wonderful revival. The City is stronger than it's been in a very long time; our economy is growing; tourism is booming; crime is down in record numbers; and New York is seen, worldwide, as an urban success story," the Mayor continued.

"As it was then, New York City is still a great beacon. Unfortunately, the debate over immigration rages today as it did one hundred years ago. New York City was built, and was made great, by the hard work and dreams of immigrants. And today, those same immigrant dreams and determination are revitalizing and reinvigorating neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

"As we wish New York City a 'happy birthday,' let's remember that what was once described as the 'greatest experiment in municipal government the world has ever known' is now proudly known as the Capital of the World," the Mayor concluded.

"Nearly 100 years ago, a vision was realized," said City Council Speaker Vallone. The unification of Brooklyn and New York gave birth to the modern New York -- the super city. New York became one of the most important, powerful cities in the history of the world. It still is. And it will be up to us to have big visions and grand designs to keep New York together -- and Number 1 -- in the new Millennium."

Today's event is the first in a year-long celebration of the birth of "Greater New York." To commemorate that landmark event, a consortium of New York's major historical and cultural institutions together with national public television and the City of New York, are uniting to present a unique series of public programs and special events called New York City 100: 1998 Centennial Celebration.

Among the exciting events planned for the coming year is the fall release of a ten-hour PBS documentary series on the history of New York City by filmmakers Ric Burns and Lisa Ades. A ten-minute segment of the film which chronicles the history of New York from its establishment in 1626 as a Dutch trading post to its continuing pre-eminence as clearinghouse for the culture and economy of the world, was premiered at today's City Hall celebration.

"There is no place in the world quite like New York," said Mr. Burns. "For almost four hundred years it's been at the vanguard of creating the world we live in. It's still the place where the most pressing experiment of modern times is underway: to see whether all the people in the world can live in a single place."

Mayor Giuliani also made a very special presentation to centenarian New Yorkers who were alive when Governor Black signed the historic law. Addressing the special guests the Mayor said, "It gives me enormous pleasure to present each of you with Certificates of Recognition. You were alive to witness that historic day in 1897, and you are here today as testament to 100 years of change and progress. I hope you are as proud of what our great City has become, as we are to have you as our honored guests today."

Among the centenarians present today were:

New York City 100: the 1998 Centennial Celebration is a broad-based collaboration of city institutions and national public television. Mayor Giuliani and Speaker Vallone serve as Honorary Co-chairs of the Committee. During the coming year the commission will seek to extend and enhance New York's wide public appeal; bring awareness of its extraordinary three-and-a-half century history to a broad national audience as never before; augment the City's attraction as a national and international destination for tourism and travel; provide a long-lasting educational opportunity for school children, students and the general public; strive to make New York's many distinguished historical institutions key destination points for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

A list of the members of New York City 100 is attached.

New York City 100
The 1998 Centennial Celebration


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Speaker Peter Vallone
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger
Andrew Heiskell
Betsy Gotbaum, Chair
William Baker
Bruce Bender
Ric Burns
Schuyler Chapin
Ellen Futter
Mary Holloway
Paul LeClerc
Robert Macdonald
Marshall Rose
Henry Stern
Bruce Teitelbaum
Ruth AbramArthur Gelb, Chair
Randall BourscheidtLinda Amster
Stanley CoganCora Cahan
Chiara ColettiRobert Caro
Jeanne CollinsChancellor Rudolph Crew
Richard A. CookProf. John Patrick Diggins
Howard DodsonNancy Hicks Maynard
Christine GodekPete Hamill
Cheryl HurleyCheryl Hurley
Richard Kaplan Prof. Kenneth Jackson
Joan Maynard J. Anthony Lukas
Stephen J. MorelloRobert Marx
Jeanine MossJames Sanders
Peter NeillRobert A.M. Stern
Charles E. Pierce, Jr.
Susan Rothschild
Brendan Sexton
Mina Rieur Winer

Go to Press Releases | Giuliani Archives | Mayor's Office | Home Page
Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map