This Day in NY History: May 25

May 24, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

St. Patrick's 'old' Cathedral in lower Manhattan, New York City.  (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
St. Patrick's 'old' Cathedral in lower Manhattan, New York City. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
1879: ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL DEDICATED: John Cardinal McCloskey, the first American cardinal, presided over ceremonies on May 25, 1879, to officially open the cathedral. Subsequent generations have augmented St. Patrick’s, such as the addition of The Lady Chapel in 1906 and the Kilgen Organs in 1929. Several restoration efforts have been completed in the church’s history; the 21st century has seen the most extensive restorations, including the main altar and six different saints. Construction of the cathedral began in 1858. It was an updated version of the “old” St. Patrick's Cathedral, located on Mulberry Street, which opened in 1815.

1950: BROOKLYN-BATTERY TUNNEL OPENS: The tunnel linking Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan opened after over 13 million hours of labor went into its construction. The construction lasted 10 years, including several years of halted work for World War II. Over 1 million pounds of dynamite were utilized for carving it out of the rocks and earth. Costing an approximate $90 million, it is still the longest continuous underwater tunnel for vehicle use worldwide. Over the last two decades, various projects have been undertaken to repair and upgrade the tunnel and the Battery Parking Garage. In 2009 the tunnel served over 16 million cars. The current toll is $5.50.

1951: WILLIE MAYS'S MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: Known as one of the greatest baseball players to ever play, Willie Mays made his major league debut with the New York Giants in 1951. He worked his way up through the minor leagues amid ongoing racial tension toward his African-American ethnicity, displaying such amazing talent that the team had no choice but to elevate him from the minors to majors. The 20-year-old won Rookie of the Year in 1951. He lived in an apartment in Harlem and often played ball with local youth, hanging out with them over sodas afterward. The next year, he was drafted into military service with the United States Army. However, after being discharged in 1954, he returned and had a long and illustrious career.

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