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By On This Day in NYC's History


On January 21, 1965: Musician and rapper Jam Master Jay was born in Brooklyn. During the ’80s, he was the DJ for Run DMC, which was one of the most influential hip-hop groups in mainstream music. Later, he establish the label Jam Master Jay Records and founded the Scratch DJ Academy. Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in 2002 at age 37.



On January 21, 1952: William Shawn succeeds founder Harold Ross as editor for the New Yorker. Shawn joined the magazine eight years after the magazine’s conception and after fifty three years, was regarded as the co-founder. His influence and legacy carried on until his death in 1992 at age 85.

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On January 21, 1908: The Sullivan Ordinance was passed making it illegal for managers of a public place (restaurants or hotels) to allow women to smoke in public. One woman was arrested and fined $5 for breaking the ordinance, but refused to pay and was released the next day. This ordinance ended up being a play on the word “public” since managing or owning a place is typically privately owned, and was vetoed two weeks later.

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On January 21, 1903: The International Theater, known today as the Time Warner Center, opened. It was designed by John H. Duncan at the time that Columbus Circle was expected to be a theater district. The theater was purchased and renamed by many (Park, Majestic and NBC International) but due to lack of success, it was demolished in 1945 to make for larger sidewalks.

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