On this date in...
1861...As Civil War looms, the city's colorful mayor, Fernando Wood, proposes that New York secede from the Union and become a city-state to preserve its profitable trade with the South. Councilmembers roundly reject the suggestion.
1955...Marian Anderson, the first African-American member of the Metropolitan Opera, makes her Met debut.
1996...The Blizzard of '96 rolls into the Big Apple as schools are closed and most businesses shut down. The final official measurement is 20.2 inches of snow over about a day and a half; at the time it's the city's third largest snowfall, coming in behind only the blizzards of 1947 and 1888.