New York was a thriving seaport with 33,000 people by the time George Washington was made the United State’s first president on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in 1789. New York was abandoned after the freshly established US Congress formed the District of Columbia in 1790. The founding fathers’ took a strong dislike to the city, the main reason attributed to the move away from New York, and Thomas Jefferson reputedly said of the city that it was a ‘cloacina (sewer) of all the depravities of human nature.’
Despite the misgivings of certain individuals, New York boomed during the early 19th century and its population had grown to a mighty 250,000 by 1830, all of which were ungoverned by any kind of notable police force – there wasn’t in fact an official force until the Civil War period in the 1860s.
New York had its own supply of fresh water (72 million gallons a day) that was directed into the city via the phenomenal Croton Aqueduct, completed in 1842 for a staggering $12 million. The general health of the citizens was enhanced by the aqueduct through drinking clean water every day and having access to regular bathing.
After the Union returned victorious from the Civil War there came a time of increased prosperity for both private and public figures. The infamous boss of the city’s Tammany Hall Democratic organization, William Magear Tweed, used public works to swindle millions of dollars from the hard working people before he was toppled from power. At the same time robber barons, like the railroad speculator Jay Gould, were able to collect enormous sums of tax-free cash approaching $100 million.