Althea Gibson, in 1950, became the first African American (of either sex) to compete in an international tennis competition. She received an invitation to play at the United States National Championships (now the U. S. Open) in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. She lost in the second round, but that event was just the start of her groundbreaking career in both tennis and golf. Children can learn more at: Althea Gibson.
Potato chips were invented by Chef George Crum in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1853. According to legend, Crum, a Native American chef at Moon’s Lake House wanted to impress a client. He cut the potatoes into thin slices, fried them, and added salt. Today potato chips are about 35 percent of the snack food market and generate revenues of over sixteen billion dollars annually.
Waffle iron was patented in 1869 by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. Various forms of waffle makers were around as early as the 1300’s. However, his stove-top waffle maker had a handle and a clasp to keep the iron closed when it was flipped over. General Electric produced the first electric waffle maker in 1911.
United States capital was established temporarily in New York in 1788 by the Constitutional Convention. The city remained the capital until August 12, 1790. The capital moved back to Philadelphia before it finally moved to Washington, DC. Children look at the list of the nine locations of the United States capital at: US Capital.
Earl Lloyd in 1950 became the first African American to play for the NBA. He played for the Washington Capitols at a game held in Rochester, New York.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. Representing the 12th congressional district from New York, she was elected in 1968, and she served until 1983. She also ran unsuccessfully for President in 1972. Chisholm died in 2005. Older children can read a biography of her at: Shirley Chisholm.
Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York, opened its doors in 1929. Children could view some of the artworks online at: MOMA.
Holland Tunnel began operating in 1927. Named after its designer, Clifford Milburn Holland, the tunnel connects New Jersey and Manhattan; and it runs under the Hudson River. It was the first American underwater tunnel. The designers had to build gigantic fans that would remove carbon monoxide, generated by the cars, from the tunnel.
Concorde flew for the first time in 1976. A British company and a French company formed a joint cooperation to fund and build 20 Concorde planes. The planes mainly flew from London and Paris to New York and Washington, DC. Flights were expensive, but passengers arrived at their destinations in less than half the usual flight time. Due to less travel after September 11, 2001, and increased costs, the planes were retired on November 26, 2003.
Polaroid camera was patented in 1947 in New York, New York, by Edwin H. Land. Older children can read an interesting article about Land and the Polaroid at: Polaroid Camera.