3. 3rd Avenue, 1863
Image via Harper’s Weekly via Wikimedia Commons
On 3rd Avenue and 46th street, just an 8-minute walk from the United Nations, New Yorkers started one of the bloodiest urban riots in American history. The year was 1863, and the Civil War was in full swing, much to the chagrin of prominent New Yorkers. Mayor Fernando Wood, for one, publicly called for the city to secede from America and form a trade partnership with the southern states, and many working class residents strongly opposed ending slavery. So when the government tried to draft New Yorkers, all hell broke loose. On July 13, 1863, 500 New Yorkers converged on the draft office at 3rd Avenue and burned it to ground. Thus began a 3-day citywide rampage, the Draft Office Riots, that left over 100 dead, including 11 African-Americans that rioters lynched in the streets.