5 Things You Didn't Know About The New York Times

On September 18, 1851, the first edition of the New York Times was published. Here are 5 surprising facts you probably never knew about the New York Times...


The Newspaper’s Founder Had Gatling Guns Installed on the Building’s Roof In July 1863, violent demonstrations took place in New York City in protest of a recent law that permitted conscription of citizens during the Civil War but also let Americans who could afford it off the hook if they could pay $300 for a substitute. The protest lasted for four days as shops were looted and properties burned, and attacks were made upon free blacks and rich whites or anyone who was a draft supporter. The editor and founder of the New York Times, Henry Raymond, had several Gatling guns installed on the roof, which he threatened to fire if protesters came too close to the building. The large crowd of rioters took their anger out instead on the New-York Daily Tribune, which was undefended.

The New York Times Once Condemned The Crossword Puzzle Many people enjoy doing the New York Times crossword puzzle these days, but when the first one was published in a defunct New York newspaper in 1913, this major paper was not as excited. One NYT columnist went so far as to refer to crosswords as a “form of madness” and a sinful waste. The first crossword puzzle in the newspaper appeared after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese in 1941 when the editor told the publisher that readers needed something relaxing in the face of all the news about World War II.


The New York Times Balked at Using Colored Print The New York Times was among the last U.S. newspapers to use colored print, even though USA Today and other rivals had started using colored print in 1982. Color was first used in the NYT in the section for book reviews and was limited to using green and orange as a test case because the editors thought there wouldn’t be too much of a fuss if the colors weren’t good. However, on October 16, 1997, the first front-page article appeared using color.

The Puzzle Editor Is the Only Person With a Degree in Crossword Puzzles Surprisingly, the editor of the crossword for the New York Times, Will Shortz, is a real fan and sold his own first puzzle at age 14. He majored at Indiana University in enigmatology (which is, of course, puzzles) and holds a degree in it. In addition, he obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia, which would have come in handy if the degree in puzzles didn’t pan out as he had hoped.

The New York Times Created The Ball Drop on New Year’s In Times Square on New Year’s Eve, a glittering electrified ball drops and draws a huge crowd every year, with around 1.2 million home viewers watching on television. This event was created by the New York Times more than 100 years ago and was originally used as an advertising gimmick for the newspaper’s new headquarters. The first time a ball was dropped was in 1905 on New Year’s Day, and the paper advertised for people to come to see the spanking new building at midnight where a fireworks display was presented. People in New York returned yearly, and the first electrified ball was dropped in 1907.