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5 Fun Facts About March 18 In New York History

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1. In 1837, the state of New York passed a law banning the use of public funds for religious purposes, effectively ending government funding for religious schools and institutions. This law was seen as a major victory for advocates of secular education and separation of church and state.

2. On March 18, 1852, the New York City government established the Metropolitan Police Department. This new police force was designed to be more professional and efficient than existing law enforcement agencies, and remains one of the largest police departments in the world.

3. In 1937, the New York Yankees played one of their most memorable exhibition games, facing off against a team of barnstorming young players from the Dominican Republic. The game, which took place in front of a packed crowd in the city's Polo Grounds, helped to introduce the world to some of the greatest baseball players of all time - including future Hall of Famers like Juan Marichal and Felipe Alou.

4. March 18, 1990 saw the first-ever St. Patrick's Day parade held in New York City in which an openly gay Irish group, the Lavender and Green Alliance, marched. The group faced resistance from both conservative Irish-Americans and LGBT activists who felt that their participation was divisive. Nevertheless, their presence marked an important moment in both queer and Irish-American history.

5. On March 18, 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation raising the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. This move was seen as a major victory for low-wage workers, and helped to spur similar wage hikes in other cities across the country.
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