The Tour Guides Quiz

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This is a quiz especially for Gotham Gazette readers who want to challenge their own New York savvy. They are not the exact same questions as those offered in the professional licensing examination for tour guides, but they tap into the same vast treasure trove of New York City legends and lore. (For more about the actual test for tour guides, read Testing the Tour Guides)

Simply click on the circle next to the answer you think is correct, and an answer will appear in the box below. Keep trying until you get the correct answer.

 




Three articles in this series:
Testing The Tour Guides
The Tour Guides Complain
Test Your NYC Knowledge



Your Voice the Gotham Gazette
Community Sign in

The Tour Guides Quiz

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
Loading
 

This is a quiz especially for Gotham Gazette readers who want to challenge their own New York savvy. They are not the exact same questions as those offered in the professional licensing examination for tour guides, but they tap into the same vast treasure trove of New York City legends and lore. (For more about the actual test for tour guides, read Testing the Tour Guides)

Simply click on the circle next to the answer you think is correct, and an answer will appear in the box below. Keep trying until you get the correct answer.

 




Three articles in this series:
Testing The Tour Guides
The Tour Guides Complain
Test Your NYC Knowledge



Your Voice the Gotham Gazette
Community Sign in

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Issue of the Week
 
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The Other Top Stories of 2001

24 December 01

Michael Bloomberg is silent, stumped. We have just asked him for something good that happened in New York City in 2001. His silence is odd -- you would think that the new mayor might see own election as something not altogether bad -- but this kind of silence has been the most common response to our question. As outgoing City Council Speaker Peter Vallone puts it, "September 11th put such a pall on everything."

But, as much as it seemed to wipe our memory clean of everything else, 9/11 was not the only thing that happened. Here, then, are New York City's Top 10 Other Stories of 2001.

The Biggest City Election Ever: The municipal elections of 2001 were the most wide open in history. Term limits forced the retirement of all three city-wide elected officials, four of the five borough presidents and 35 city council members. At the same time, a generous new campaign finance law made it possible for New Yorkers without money or connections to think that they had a chance to run for public office. The result -- 420 candidates, the most ever.

It did not work out the way some had envisioned. Many citizen candidates found themselves booted off the ballot for minor violations of New York's arcane election law. The man elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a multibillionaire media mogul with no experience in public office, spent almost $70 million of his own money, the most ever in any American campaign other than for the President of the United States. But 38 out of the 51 members of the City Council are indeed new, and they include the first Asian American.

State Dollars for City Scholars: Those who argue that Albany shortchanges the state's urban schools won a major victory in January when New York State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse ruled that New York's system for funding schools deprives some students of the education they are guaranteed by the state constitution. The case began in 1992 when Robert Jackson, a former school board member, had the idea of suing the state to get what he considered fair funding for the city schools. In his decision, DeGrasse said the current system disproportionately harms minority students and called upon the state to provide seven essentials including appropriate class size, up-to-date books and a safe. orderly environment. He gave the state until September 2001 to devise an new system for financing education. That deadline became invalid, though, as Governor George Pataki appealed the decision. Meanwhile, Robert Jackson has been elected to the new City Council.

Edison Flunks: New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy proposed last year that for-profit Edison Schools take over five troubled city public schools. Even though the plan affected only about 5,000 students, people on both sides saw it as a key test for school privatization, which the mayor strongly supports and many teachers oppose. Levy's fairly modest proposal ran aground in 2001 on a state law requiring that a majority of parents at a public school approve transferring that school to a private operator. People on both sides waged a hard-fought campaign to win parent votes, complete with rallies and phone trees. In March, the plan was defeated at all five schools. Many parents did not vote and, in this election, an abstention was equivalent to a "no."

The Vieques 4: Four prominent New York politicos, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Bronx Democratic Party leader Roberto Ramirez, Assemblyman Jose Rivera and then-City Councilmember Adolfo Carrion, were arrested for trespassing on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in May. Somewhat to their surprise, the four, who were protesting Navy bombing exercises there, were sent to jail -- Sharpton for 90 days, the others for 40 days each. While the jail time kept the men away from their normal activities, it raised the visibility of the three Bronx politicians -- Adolfo Carrion has been elected Bronx borough president -- and gave Sharpton, who also staged a hunger strike, increased credibility among some Hispanic New Yorkers. In June, President Bush said the Navy would end its bombing on the island by 2003.

Head Count: New York City's population topped eight million for the first time ever, according to 2000 Census results announced early in 2001. The Census counted 8,008,270 New Yorkers, a jump of 456,000 from 1990. While some of the increase may be because Census takers missed so many New Yorkers in 1990, the city certainly grew in the 1990s, with every borough except Manhattan recording a boost in population. Asians and Hispanics fueled much of this growth, with Hispanics now outnumbering African Americans in New York. Many of the immigrants flocked to Queens, the fastest growing borough, with Northwest Queens in particular considered the Lower East Side of the 21st century.

Art and Indecency I: "Yo Mama's Last Supper," a photograph depicting Jesus as a naked black woman, inspired Mayor Giuliani to once again become an art critic. The Brooklyn Museum of Art's display of the photo by Renee Cox, featuring the artist as Jesus, revived the mayor's feud with the museum which first drew his ire in 1999 for exhibiting a painting of the Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung and clippings of pornographic photos. This time, Giuliani established a "decency panel" to set guidelines for museums that receive city funding. The press ridiculed the panel, especially since its appointment coincided with Giuliani's divorce. Today, the group, whose preliminary findings were reported in August, seems to have faded away.

Art and Indecency II: Another art controversy came to a head earlier this month. Alfred Taubman, the former chairman of Sotheby's, was found guilty of price fixing by charging inflated commissions to people selling high-end art, jewelry, furniture and other "objets." Taubman and Christie's chairman Sir Anthony Tennant are believed to have cheated art collectors out of an estimated $400 million. Taubman, a shopping mall mogul worth more than $700 million, faces three years in prison and heavy fines when he is sentenced next year. Tennant remain in Britain and apparently will not be extradited to stand trial. Sotheby's and Christie's together control 90 percent of the global market for auction of valuable art, diamonds, etc.

Art and Indecency, III: The Producer, which received the most Tony awards of any show in Broadway history (12), and raised the price of a ticket to the highest ever for a regular show ($100), reached a new level of hubris in October, when the producers of The Producers -- claiming to be trying to fight scalpers -- raised ticket prices for 50 choice seats per show to $480. Prices for seats often exceed $480 on eBay.

Police Woes:
1. Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant tortured by police during the summer of 1997 won a $9 million settlement from the city and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association this year. Louima, however, did not succeed in his efforts to alter department procedure.

2. In August, a car driven by Joseph Gray, an off-duty officer who had apparently been on a drinking binge, hit and killed a pregnant woman, her 4-year-old son and her sister in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, but died. Gray resigned from the force and awaits manslaughter charges. The incident prompted promises by police brass to crack down on drinking by officers.

3. Despite greater respect enjoyed by police since September 11, the department reports a drop in recruits this year. Police departments across the country have experienced similar declines.

Tabloid Tales:
1. The Divorce. Ferocious attacks and embarrassing revelations, a court battle over whether the mayor's good friend Judith Nathan could live in Gracie Mansion, the mayor's move out of Gracie Mansion, while his estranged wife stayed with their two children.

2. Clinton Goes To Harlem. After encountering opposition to his rental of expensive offices in midtown, Bill Clinton decided to move to 125th Street. He said he hoped to dedicate his post-presidential years to creating "economic opportunity" in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

3. The Trial of Puff Daddy. Hip-hop mogul and producer Sean "Puffy" Combs faced a variety of criminal charges springing from a 1999 gun melee at Club New York that left three people wounded. Combs and his bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones were acquitted. Combs' protege Jamal "Shyne" Barrow was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of five lesser charges. But Puffy did not emerge completely unscathed; during the trial his then girlfriend, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, broke up with him.

4. Say It Isn't So. Rolando Paulino's All Stars, a Little League team from the Bronx, won third place in the Little League World Series, only to have its title stripped away when journalists revealed the team's star pitcher, Danny Almonte, was too old for the competition. Almonte's father, who forged his birth certificate, faces criminal charges in his native Dominican Republic.

The Stories That Didn't Happen

2001 was the year that Rudy Giuliani was going to complete his legacy--closing deals on new sports facilities, getting the Port Authority out of the airport business selling the city's bookie joints. None of those things happened. And a number of other anticipated events also fizzled.

The Energy Crisis: The California energy crisis last winter sparked fears that New York could be headed for similar troubles in the summer when electricity use soars. But a record-breaking early August heat wave that brought a new peak in energy demand produced only scattered power outages.

West Nile Virus: The first documented case of the deadly West Nile Virus in the western hemisphere came in 1999 in Queens, and seven people died of the mosquito-borne disease that year. The city launched a widespread and much-criticized program of pesticide spraying the following year. It seemed that fear of mosquitoes and of the spraying to kill them was likely to become as much a part of summer in the city as open fire hydrants and Shakespeare in the park. This year, however, as of early October, there have been only seven human cases and no fatalities from West Nile, and spraying was limited.

The House That Rudy Didn't Build: Mayor Giuliani has long wanted to construct a stadium on the far West Side of Manhattan to house the Yankees or Jets. Failing that, he would like to see new retractable-dome stadiums built for the Mets and Yankees. The mayor remains enthusiastic about such plans despite the multibillion dollar budget gap facing the city. But he will leave office with the Jets still playing in the Meadowlands and the Mets and the Yankees in their old ballparks.

Grounded: As Mayor Giuliani heads for the private sector, the public sector, in the shape of the Port Authority, still runs New York's airports. The mayor had hoped a private company could replace the Port Authority, a frequent target of his ire, but the authority still has the lease until 2015.

Bet On It: When Giuliani ran for office in 1993, he mocked the city's Off Track Betting Corporation as "the only bookie joint in New York that loses money." He promised to improve OTB and then sell it to a private business. Despite some setbacks, Giuliani is generally given credit for having improved OTB, but he will not get to hand it over to a private company. His $250 million deal to sell the betting agency to a partnership called GMR-NY headed by Canadian tycoon Frank Stonach is stuck in the state legislature, which must approve the arrangement. Hearings have been postponed indefinitely -- or at least until Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg gets to express his views.

That Non-championship Season: New Yorkers got a taste of something all too familiar to residents of Boston, Washington, D.C. and until this year, Phoenix -- a season without a championship team. How different things looked in January when the Giants went to Super Bowl XXXV to face the Baltimore Ravens. (The Giants play in New Jersey, but that didn't stop Mayor Giuliani from promising them a Manhattan ticker tape parade if they won.) The Giants lost 34-7. Spring brought little cheer, as the Knicks were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs and the Rangers did not even make it to the post season. Then the Mets faltered, failing to make it to the playoffs, despite a late-fall rally. The hopes of the city then rode on the Yankees who seemed destined for their fourth World Championship in a row. But it was not to be. In perhaps the most exciting World Series in memory, the Yankees lost to the Phoenix Diamondbacks.

Alex Halpern, Chris Han, Marie-Carolie Martin and Gail Robinson contributed to this story.

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation, the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation’s public education programs.  Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.