Today in History: The German Parliament moves to Berlin in 1991

Today in History: The German Parliament moves to Berlin in 1991

Bonn had been the capital of West Germany until the country’s reunification in 1990. The “Hauptstadtbeschluss” (capital decision) stipulated that the seat of government and the parliament also be moved to the “new” capital Berlin.

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Today in History: The “red telephone” is instituted in 1963

Today in History: The “red telephone” is instituted in 1963

The hotline between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was established following Cuban Missile Crisis. Contrary to popular belief, communications between the two superpowers occurred mostly via teletype or fax.

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Today in History: Max Schmeling beats Joe Lewis in 1936

Today in History: Max Schmeling beats Joe Lewis in 1936

Surprise? Sensation? 82 years ago today, famed former world champion Max Schmeling beat the previously undefeated American heavyweight Joe Louis by a knockout in round twelve at sold-out Yankee Stadium in New York. Schmeling became the new world heavyweight champion but would lose the title again to Louis only two years later in the one and only rematch.

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Today in History: First Roller Coaster in USA opens in 1884

Today in History: First Roller Coaster in USA opens in 1884

On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride. The new entertainment was an instant success and by the turn of the century there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.

Coney Island, a name believed to have come from the Dutch Konijn Eilandt, or Rabbit Island, is a tract of land along the Atlantic Ocean discovered by explorer Henry Hudson in 1609. The first hotel opened at Coney Island in 1829 and by the post-Civil War years, the area was an established resort with theaters, restaurants and a race track. Between 1897 and 1904, three amusement parks sprang up at Coney Island–Dreamland, Luna Park and Steeplechase. By the 1920s, Coney Island was reachable by subway and summer crowds of a million people a day flocked there for rides, games, sideshows, the beach and the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk, completed in 1923.

The hot dog is said to have been invented at Coney Island in 1867 by Charles Feltman. In 1916, a nickel hot dog stand called Nathan’s was opened by a former Feltman employee and went on to become a Coney Island institution and international franchise. Today, Nathan’s is famous not only for its hot dogs but its hot dog-eating contest, held each Fourth of July in Coney Island. In 2006, Takeru Kobayashi set a new record when he ate 53.75 hot dogs with buns in 12 minutes.

Roller coasters and amusement parks experienced a decline during the Great Depression and World War II, when Americans had less cash to spend on entertainment. Finally, in 1955, the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, signaled the advent of the modern theme park and a rebirth of the roller coaster. Disneyland’s success sparked a wave of new parks and coasters. By the 1970s, parks were competing to create the most thrilling rides. In 2005, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, introduced the Kingda Ka roller coaster, the world’s tallest (at 456 feet) and fastest (at 128 mph).

By the mid-1960s, the major amusement parks at Coney Island had shut down and the area acquired a seedy image. Nevertheless, Coney Island remains a tourist attraction and home to the Cyclone, a wooden coaster that made its debut there in 1927. Capable of speeds of 60 mph and with an 85-foot drop, the Cyclone is one of the country’s oldest coasters in operation today. Though a real-estate developer recently announced the building of a new $1.5 billion year-round resort at Coney Island that will include a 4,000-foot-long roller coaster, an indoor water park and a multi-level carousel, the Cyclone’s owners have said they plan to keep the historic coaster open for business. Source: history.com.

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Today in History: Andy Warhol’s First Exhibit in 1952

Today in History: Andy Warhol’s First Exhibit in 1952

65 years ago today, a young artist named Andy Warhol celebrated the first show of his artwork in New York. The co-founder of “Pop Art” exhibited a series of drawings that made reference to the works of the American writer, Truman Capote. Warhol had studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh before moving to New York in 1950. His studio, commonly known as “The Factory,” was a famous meeting place for New York artists, intellectuals and celebrities. From the mid-1960s on, Warhol no longer painted much himself. He produced a number of underground films, including “Chelsea Girls” (1966) and “Trash” (1970) and even managed a punk rock band, The Velvet Underground. Warhol passed away in Manhatten on February 22, 1987.

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Today is National Lobster Day

Today is National Lobster Day

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Today is National Ice Cream Day

Today is National Ice Cream Day

National Ice Cream Day was established under President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and is observed each year on the 3rd Sunday in July as part of National Ice Cream Month. Could there be any better national day? Ice cream supposedly originated thousands of years ago in the Persian Empire when people would put snow in a bowl, pour the juices of grapes over it and eat it as a treat during the hot season. Dig in and enjoy your favorite flavor(s) !

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