Lesser known is the fact that this city was also home to very important men and women throughout history! For those that need to brush up on their NYC history, this is our list of the most interesting, famous, or influential historical figures from New York City.
1. Theodore Roosevelt
Political opinions aside, Teddy Roosevelt, born in Manhattan in 1858, was quite possibly the coolest president of all time. He was amazing for a plethora of reasons, and sadly we can’t get into all of them.
A few notable accomplishments include navigating a frozen river to track boat thieves, absolutely destroying an armed man with his bare hands (don’t feel too bad for him, he’d pointed a gun at Teddy’s head and made the mistake of calling him four-eyes,) and giving a campaign speech only moments after being shot in the chest.
Needless to say, Teddy was a tough guy.
2. John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller was a tycoon that saw the potential that oil held, built his first oil refinery in Cleveland, and incorporated the Standard Oil Company soon after. The son of a con artist dubbed by locals as “Devil Bill,” John didn’t look up to the work of his father, and valued hard work above all else.
Another trait that he resented in his father was greed. Despite his vast wealth and success, Rockefeller was as generous as they come, earning the label of philanthropist. He donated five hundred million dollars to various causes. Adjusted for inflation, that’s approximately fourteen billion dollars by today’s standards.
3. Al Capone
He may be known as the ruthless crime lord of Chicago, but believe it or not, Al Capone was born and raised in Brooklyn. Even as a kid he was involved in street gangs, but by adulthood this infamous historic figure had moved up in the crime world. Annually his mob could expect to rake in over one hundred million dollars.
He brought “the outfit,” as he referred to his underground crime association, to new heights. He was an intelligent businessman, and he always covered his tracks. His eventual downfall was ironically due not to murder, but tax fraud.
4. Sammy Davis Jr.
Easily one of the most legendary entertainers of all time, Sammy Davis Jr. was born in Harlem.
This multi-talented man broke the barriers placed in front of him by the racial inequality of the time and used his wealth and platform to fight for the equality among other African Americans. There are very few entertainers that reach his caliber of talent, and the fact that he did so with so many obstacles in his way is nothing if not amazing.
These are only a few famous historic figures born in NYC! The city has always been one of America’s most progressive places, and it inspires new talent and ideas every day.