This little bird with its 20-inch wingspan weighs about as much as a stick of butter, but it has the stamina of an Olympian. Each fall, red knots in the Americas are known to fly more than 9,000 miles from the Arctic to South America–and in the spring, they do the journey in reverse, for a round trip of around 20,000 miles. The most famous red knot, known as ‘Moonbird,’ is so named because the total of its known migrations has exceeded the distance to the moon. Moonbird was first banded in Rio Grande, Argentina, in 1995 and has been sighted many times in the years after–amazing scientists and birders alike.
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First published issue of New-York Daily Times, on September 18, 1851
Also on this day,
1837 | Future jewelry giant Tiffany’s opens shop in Manhattan
Charles Lewis Tiffany uses $1,000 borrowed from his father to open a “stationery and fancy goods emporium” in downtown Manhattan. While the iconic blue box is there at the beginning, a switch less than a decade later from costume jewelry to the precious stuff turns the sales tide at Tiffany’s.1870 | Geyser gives expedition a spectacular show as Old Faithful is named
A cone geyser that shoots thousands of gallons of boiling water 125 feet into the air is named ‘Old Faithful’ by members of an expedition. The geyser’s astounding show, repeated at regular intervals, will soon make it a star attraction, with some visitors using it to wash laundry, at what will soon be the world’s first national park.1960 | Cuba’s new leader Fidel Castro pays a visit to the US in New York
Leftist revolutionary Fidel Castro, prime minister of Cuba after his forces ousted Batista’s government the year before, arrives in New York to meet with Americans sympathetic to his cause, and will later speak at the UN. His visit, at the height of Cold War, causes consternation in some and sparks celebration in others.
Fidel Castro arrives in New York City as the head of the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. Castro’s visit stirred indignation and admiration from various sectors of American society, and was climaxed by his speech to the United Nations on September 26.
By the time Castro arrived in New York City in September 1960, relations between the United States and Cuba were rapidly deteriorating. Since taking power in January 1959, Castro had infuriated the American government with his policies of nationalizing U.S. companies and investments in Cuba. Some American officials, such as Vice President Richard Nixon, believed that Castro was leaning perilously toward communism. (Castro did not publicly proclaim his adherence to communism until late-1961, when he declared that he was a “Marxist-Leninist”.) In March 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the CIA to begin training Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s regime. When the United States suspended the import of Cuban sugar in 1960, Castro’s government turned to the Soviet Union for economic assistance. The Russians were happy to oblige.
In September 1960, Castro led a delegation to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly. He and his entourage caused an immediate sensation by deciding to stay at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem. While there, Castro met with a number of African-American leaders, including Malcolm X from the Nation of Islam and the poet Langston Hughes. On September 26, Castro delivered a blistering attack on what he termed American “aggression” and “imperialism.” For over four hours, Castro lambasted U.S. policy toward Cuba and other nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The United States, he declared, had “decreed the destruction” of his revolutionary government.
Castro’s visit and lengthy public denunciation marked the final breaking point in relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In January 1961, the Eisenhower administration severed all diplomatic relations with Cuba. In April 1961, just a short time after taking office, President John F. Kennedy ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban exile force, armed and trained by the CIA, landed in Cuba. The attack was a fiasco. Castro’s power in Cuba was solidified by his Bay of Pigs victory over the American “imperialists.” Castro remained the undisputed leader of the communist government in Cuba for over four decades; meanwhile, relations between the United States and Cuba remained strained. In late July 2006, an unwell Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his younger brother Raul. Fidel Castro officially stepped down in February 2008. In 2015, relations between the U.S. and Cuba were finally normalized, with the opening of embassies and diplomatic missions in both countries and the easing of travel restrictions. Castro died on November 25, 2016, at 90.