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New York History Trivia

New York History Trivia Quizzes

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15 quizzes and 170 trivia questions.
  Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
March 25, 2006 marked the 95th anniversary of one of the worst industrial fires in history, at New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There are some questions about the factory before the fire and some about later events.
Tough, 10 Qns, LilSpikey, Mar 29 07
757 plays
  New York's Darkest Days   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
New York is so large and so crowded that when disaster strikes, it seems to strike hardest there. This quiz tests your knowledge of days in New York's history that New Yorkers would like to forget.
Average, 10 Qns, rocco6557, Jan 20 07
2433 plays
  Ellis Island   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
For over 60 years Ellis Island was the first that many immigrants saw of America. This quiz covers the island from the time it came into the governments possession to the centennial restoration project.
Average, 10 Qns, myrab51, May 14 19
May 14 19
2118 plays
  The Triangle Factory Fire   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz is about a fire which killed many manual workers. The fire represents workers' struggles for justice; part of the reason I'm making this quiz is to have others know and respect poor manual workers - and remember their sacrifices.
Tough, 10 Qns, portgleep, Oct 31 10
477 plays
  All About Buffalo, NY   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
This is a challenging quiz about one of the nation's oldest cities. Good luck!
Difficult, 15 Qns, stickybad, Jan 24 15
802 plays
  The General Slocum Disaster   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
On June 15, 1904, over 1,000 people died in a raging fire on board the New York ferry, General Slocum. Test your knowledge of this disaster.
Tough, 10 Qns, Velociraptor, Jul 05 07
490 plays
  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
The fire occured almost 100 years ago in New York City. How many details of this disaster can you recall?
Tough, 15 Qns, kobrien_fan, Mar 29 07
745 plays
  Lost and Found New York   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Vanished landmarks of an ever-changing metropolis - and the new landmarks that replaced them.
Difficult, 15 Qns, ignotus999, Oct 28 14
311 plays
  Lost New York   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Many great buildings and neighborhoods in New York were destroyed by catastrophe or greedy real estate developers and landlords. See how many parts of lost New York you can find.
Difficult, 10 Qns, rocco6557, Jan 03 13
405 plays
  Staten Island History   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz will be about the history of Staten Island. It is the least populated borough of New York City, however it does offer a good bit of history.
Tough, 10 Qns, RedHook13, Feb 15 18
RedHook13 gold member
Feb 15 18
133 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Who were the proprietors of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory?

From Quiz "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire"

  New York City History: Part 1    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
New York City is not noted for its history - but it certainly has one!
Difficult, 10 Qns, hamandeggs, Aug 19 09
2295 plays
  The Queens Borough    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The easternmost borough of New York City is home to a very diverse population, and rich in cultural tradition. See how much you know about Queens.
Tough, 10 Qns, neon000, Feb 28 07
neon000 gold member
687 plays
  New York City History: Part 2    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The history of New York City gets more interesting when you realize how our lives have been affected by it.
Difficult, 10 Qns, hamandeggs, Mar 18 11
1267 plays
  The Real Gangs of New York    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Test your knowledge about the history of gangs in New York City. Some questions are easier than others, while some are much harder. There are NO "Gangs of New York" movie questions in this quiz. Have fun!
Very Difficult, 10 Qns, Yankeegirl742, Jan 18 08
Very Difficult
619 plays
  Nearly Ultimate New York 4    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
My fourth (and last) quiz on the city that never sleeps. Good luck and have fun!
Difficult, 15 Qns, rootsgrrl, Jan 14 07
1267 plays
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New York History Trivia Questions

1. Which European nation colonized Staten Island? It was named for the parliamentary body of this nation's government.

From Quiz
Staten Island History

Answer: The Netherlands & Dutch & The Dutch & Holland & Netherlands

British explorer Henry Hudson was hired by the Dutch East India Company to find them a new trade route to Asia. He sailed into New York Bay in 1609 and gave Staten Island (Staaten Eylandt) its name. The name is derived from the Staaten-Generaal, the legislative branch of the Dutch government. The Dutch would later establish the first European settlement on Staten Island in 1641.

2. Fort Clinton, Castle Clinton, Castle Garden, Battery Park. This site served as a fort, an opera house, a beer garden, an aquarium and a public park. What was its purpose between 1855 and 1892?

From Quiz Lost and Found New York

Answer: Immigration station

Originally a small island, this strategic site at the southern tip of Manhattan was a natural location for a fort, though it never fired a shot in anger. From 1855 to 1890, it hosted the "New York State Emigrant Landing Depot." At the time, immigration was handled by state governments. In 1890, the federal government took over, continuing to use the facility until the opening of Ellis Island in early 1892. An estimated eight million immigrants passed through the facility during its nearly 50 years of operation.

3. What is significant about Buffalo native William Kemmler?

From Quiz All About Buffalo, NY

Answer: He was the first man in US history to be executed via the electric chair

Buffalonian William Kemmler was convicted in 1889 for the hatchet murder of Tillie Ziegler, his common-law wife. On August 6, 1890 in New York's Auburn Prison, following an unsuccessful appeal regarding the legality of his sentence, Kemmler became the first man in US history to die in the electric chair. By all acounts, the execution was unusually gruesome. Kemmler wasn't pronounced dead until eight minutes after the initial charge of 1,000 volts was administered (this voltage level had been tested the previous day on a horse, and was believed to be adequate). Several of the seventeen witnesses remaining in the room when he died reported Kemmler's body catching fire, as well as his veins rupturing and causing considerable amounts of blood to leave his body.

4. What gang was Hell-Cat Maggie associated with?

From Quiz The Real Gangs of New York

Answer: The Dead Rabbits

Women were seldom participants in gangs. Hell-Cat Maggie was an exception. Her teeth were filed to points and her nails were embellished with brass. She was a welcome companion in fights against the Bowery Boys in the 1830s and 1840s.

5. How did the United States government come into possession of Ellis Island?

From Quiz Ellis Island

Answer: They purchased it from the family that owned it.

The United States government purchased Ellis Island for the sum of $10,000. It was for military use and Fort Gibson was constructed. It was not until 1892 that it became an immigration center.

6. What do the flowers on the flag of Queens represent?

From Quiz The Queens Borough

Answer: The Dutch and English settlers

The flag shows two flowers. One is a tulip, for the Dutch; the other is the English 'Tudor rose.' The red outer petals are intertwined with the inner white inner petals, for the Houses of Lancaster and York respectively.

7. When was the doomed Asch Building on Greene Street completed?

From Quiz Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company

Answer: 1901

The Asch Building at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Square was planned in July of 1900. The building was completed in January of 1901. In June of 1902, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was opened on the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The building was owned by Joseph Asch, and Triangle was owned by Isaac Harris and Max Blanck.

8. The fire broke out in which New York City building?

From Quiz The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Answer: Asch Building

The building was located at the corner of Washington Square East in lower Manhattan. There was an exit that faced Greene street but this was blocked by the fire.

9. Who felt that it was the image-making of New York City that got him elected the President of the United States?

From Quiz New York City History: Part 2

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

The hat he bought on Broadway, the photo taken of him at Brady's studio, and the newspapers that re-printed the photo alongside his rousing anti-slavery speech at the Cooper Institute - is what he felt rocketed him into the Presidency.

10. What major corporation colonized New York in 1624 and named it New Amsterdam?

From Quiz New York City History: Part 1

Answer: The Dutch West India Company

Five years after Henry Hudson stumbled upon it, the Dutch set up a bussiness post there to get a jump on England in opening up the West. The Dutch set the tone of the city by founding it to make money. They created the first real estate deal of NY by buying it from the Indians, using it to export beaver skins, spent most of the time drinking, and didn't even get around to building a church for 17 years.

11. In 1776, the British Admiral Richard Howe held a peace conference on Staten Island with the intention of negotiating an end to the American revolution. Intriguingly, on what date was this conference held?

From Quiz Staten Island History

Answer: September 11

On September 11, 1776, Admiral Richard Howe of the British Navy met with Benjamin Franklin and several other founding fathers. He had hoped to negotiate an end to the revolution and get America to reconsider its independence. The Americans declined Howe's proposal. The conference was held in a house located in the Staten Island neighborhood of Tottenville. Though the conference was held on September 11, it had no influence on the tragic events that unfolded on that same day in 2001.

12. The main branch of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue opened in 1911. Another great municipal structure was demolished to make way for the library. What was it?

From Quiz Lost and Found New York

Answer: The Croton Reservoir

Also known as "Murray Hill Reservoir," the Croton Reservoir was a massive Egyptian Revival edifice enclosing some four acres and holding over 18 million gallons of drinking water. The water came from Westchester (as NYC's drinking water still does). The visitors came from far and wide to enjoy the views from atop the reservoir's 50-foot high walls.

13. The 1840s was a prosperous period in Buffalo's early history, remembered fondly as the 'Fabulous Forties'. What tragic event in 1849 brought the decade to a somber close?

From Quiz All About Buffalo, NY

Answer: An outbreak of cholera

During the 1840's, the city of Buffalo became a major railroad hub. This caused a considerable influx of new business, and also made Buffalo a popular tourist destination. It was during this time that the city received its first hospital, its first Catholic Church, and its first federal bank. These events, among others, made the 1840's a time of great expanse and wealth for the city. In 1849, Buffalo faced a cholera epidemic that claimed the lives of nine hundred people. This outbreak was certainly not the worst that Western New York had seen. The cholera epidemic of 1932 was far deadlier and had a greater impact on the region's economy.

14. What gang became practically extinct in 1859, thanks to the efforts of Detective Edwin O' Brien?

From Quiz The Real Gangs of New York

Answer: The Daybreak Boys

The Daybreak Boys were the most desperate thugs of that period. They would scuttle a ship, crack a skull or cut a throat without hesitation. The members of the Daybreak Boys who were not arrested by the police returned to the Bowery and Five points where they joined other gangs.

15. On what waterway was the General Slocum sailing when the disaster occurred?

From Quiz The General Slocum Disaster

Answer: East River

The General Slocum was taking its passengers to Eaton's Neck on Long Island. It was a picnic trip, which had been organised each year on a regular basis for 17 years by that time, by the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since it was a working day, most of the passengers were women and children.

16. Industrialization and immigration led to considerable population growth in the 1800s. What was the first town in Queens to be founded during the 19th century?

From Quiz The Queens Borough

Answer: Astoria

The town was founded in 1837. It became home for thriving communities of Greek and Irish immigrants.

17. What day of the week did the fire take place?

From Quiz The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Answer: Saturday

This was a typical sweatshop which meant long workdays for low wages and included working six days a week. The fire broke out shortly before quitting time on that chilly saturday afternoon.

18. What New Yorker became the first American to make a living only with his pen?

From Quiz New York City History: Part 2

Answer: Washington Irving

"A History of New York" was a best-selling mythical history of the city written under the false name "Knickerbocker". Wealthy New Yorkers later claimed they were decsedants of the "Knickerbocker" family, unaware that it was a fiction.

19. On October 15, 2003, one of the Staten Island ferries crashed into the pier at the terminal in St. George, killing eleven people. What caused the ship to crash?

From Quiz Staten Island History

Answer: The captain fell asleep at the wheel

The Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan has been in operation since 1817. On October 15, 2003, one of the ferries crashed into the pier at the St. George Terminal on the Staten Island side. The crash was determined to have been caused by the captain, who fell asleep at the wheel after taking several painkillers. Eleven passengers were killed and dozens more were injured. The captain left the scene, but was later arrested and convicted of manslaughter.

20. Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. First came the William Waldorf Astor mansion, then came the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. What's there now?

From Quiz Lost and Found New York

Answer: The Empire State Building

Fifth Avenue was prime real estate, even in the mid-19th century. After demolishing his mansion and moving uptown, William Waldorf Astor built a 13 story hotel named the "Waldorf." Not to be outdone, cousin John Jacob Astor IV built a 17 story hotel next door, named the "Astoria." The two hotels were later connected to form the "Waldorf-Astoria." The second and current Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue near Grand Central Station opened in 1931.

21. The destruction of the World Trade Center shocked and saddened the city and the world. However, when the towers had gone up over 30 years ago, an entire small neighborhood was leveled to make room for them. What was the name of that neighborhood?

From Quiz Lost New York

Answer: Radio Row

Radio Row was approximately 6 square city blocks. It was a haven for ham radio operators, radio hobbyists, and tv/radio repairmen. There was also a bunch of gadget shops and clothing discount stores.

22. The building that contained the factory was called the Asch building. What has become of it?

From Quiz The Triangle Factory Fire

Answer: A part of a college campus.

Now called the Brown Building of Science, it serves as the chemistry and biology building for the New York University. It is a National Historic Landmark as well as a New York City Landmark. It has two plaques, both commemorating all of the lives lost in the fire.

23. Although several Buffalo area restaurants have claimed responsibility for the original 'Buffalo Chicken Wing', what local landmark is recognized as the official inventor of this famous delicacy?

From Quiz All About Buffalo, NY

Answer: Frank and Teressa's Anchor Bar

Prior to the invention of the 'Buffalo Wing', chicken wings were often thrown in the trash or used as stock. In 1964, Anchor Bar owners Frank and Teressa Bellisimo served a dish of deep fried chicken wings coated in Cayenne pepper sauce mixed with margarine. This base sauce (which also contains vinegar) has since remained the preferred ingredient in Buffalo Wings, although several variations of the sauce have often been used. Why, and to whom, the wings were first served depends on which story you believe. Most accounts involve the Bellisimos' son Dominic entering the restaurant late one night looking for something good to eat. Another story involves a delivery of wings being sent to the restaurant by mistake. As for which of the spouses can claim credit, Dominic Bellisimo himself has claimed on several occasions that it was Teressa, not Frank, who came up with the idea.

24. In the 1860s where was the base of the Hell's Kitchen Gang?

From Quiz The Real Gangs of New York

Answer: 8th Avenue and 34th Street

The Hell's Kitchen Gang loved to plunder the piers. They stole what was to be worth an estimated million dollars worth of merchandise before the 1860s had ended.

25. In 1892, a young Irish girl arriving with her two younger brothers were the first immigrants to be processed on Ellis Island. What was her name?

From Quiz Ellis Island

Answer: Annie Moore

During the mid 1800s, there was famine in Ireland. It caused many of its citizens to look elsewhere for relief. Annie and her brothers were among these. They were sent by their parents to keep them from starvation. Annie arrived on her 15th birthday. There is now a bronze statue of Annie and her brothers erected at Ellis Island to commemorate their arrival.

26. At 10am, as the General Slocum was passing East 90th Street, the fatal fire began. Where did it start?

From Quiz The General Slocum Disaster

Answer: In a forward storage compartment

The cause of the fire is uncertain, but it is widely believed to have been started by a discarded match.

27. What company opened its doors in East Astoria in the 1870s?

From Quiz The Queens Borough

Answer: William Steinway

The piano manufacturer, which became known as the best in the business, opened up shop in the 1870s. Steinway Avenue in Astoria bears the company's name.

28. The majority of the workers were young female immigrants from what country?

From Quiz Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company

Answer: Italy

Sweatshops in urban areas provided many jobs for women. The majority of people employed by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were young female immigrants from Italy. There was also a number of Jewish women who worked there. Most of the 500 workers at Triangle were between the ages of 16 and 30, with a few as old as their late forties. The factory also employed a few men.

29. How many stories tall was the building?

From Quiz The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Answer: 10 stories

The Triangle Shirtwaist factory occupied the top three floors. Ironically, at that time in New York City, fire fighting equipment could only reach up to the 7th floor. This contributed to the large number of fatalities.

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