By Ben Fractenberg and Caroline Jumpertz
MANHATTAN — From Manhattan's reaction to Osama bin Laden's death to the passage of legal gay marriage, it was an historic year in New York. DNAinfo has collected some of the most compelling photos.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the year with a controversial bang, earning the ire of pedestrians and drivers across NYC with a dismally slow response to snow plowing and clean-up following the Dec. 26th blizzard, and subsequent heavy snowfalls through January. Mother Nature dumped a massive 56 inches onto the city during the winter season.
Carlina White, 23, who went missing from Harlem Hospital in 1987 when she was just a few weeks old, captured the attention of the nation when she learned that the woman who had posed as her mother, Ann Pettway, had allegedly kidnapped her and raised her as her own in Bridgeport, Conn. White discovered the deceit while preparing to deliver her own child, and was reunited with her birth mother. A trial date has been set for April 2, 2012, and Ann Pettway may plead guilty, according to prosecutors.
The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade provided light relief, and a little controversy, when the request to extend the march by two blocks was denied, and Bloomberg was booed for a remark about intoxicated people "hanging out the windows" of the American Irish Historical Society.
Cathie Black resigned from her role as NYC Department of Education Schools Chancellor just five months after taking the job, validating some fears by critics that she was not fit for the job. The former mogul at Hearst Magazine had never worked in education before, and sent her own children to private school.
Africa Owes, a 17-year-old former prep school student from Harlem, was arrested on charges she helped store and transport guns for a Harlem street gang. Owes is a member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which rallied in support of her and put up $25,000 in bail money from its coffers in a move that the criminal court judge called "unusual." Owes ultimately accepted a plea deal that allowed her to spend part of her sentence at Rikers Island in order to be released in time for the fall school year.
A fire in a NoLIta aquarium resulted in the death of many dozens of fish, which were left scattered across the sidewalk on Broome Street.
The second-in-line to the British throne, Prince William, married Kate Middleton. Even some hardened supporters of the democratic republic model of goverment got swept up in the pomp o the occasion as Royal Wedding fever swept the world.
President Barack Obama achieved what had seemed impossible when he oversaw the strike that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden's demise prompted an outpouring of emotion in Manhattan, particularly around the World Trade Center site, and cast the approaching 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in a new light.
Harlem teen Tysha Jones was killed at Brighton Beach when gunfire erupted on the boardwalk. The 16-year-old had travelled from Manhattan to the beach with a large group of teens on a Thursday when schools were closed. A vigil was held outside her Harlem home the following evening.
The chronically delayed musical, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, finally opened following a record-breaking 183 preview performances. After multiple performers sustained serious injuries, the production was issued with safety violations by the state's Department of Labor, and show creators Bono and The Edge suspended and re-worked the show after the departure of producer Julie Taymor.
Same-sex marriage was signed into law on June 24, inspiring celebrations — and some protests — across New York state. After years of debate, the state joined Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington DC in allowing same-sex unions.
IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested for an alleged sex attack on a maid in a Midtown hotel. Strauss-Kahn stepped down from the IMF because of the scandal. The maid, Nafissatou Diallo spoke out against her alleged attacker, but the case was eventually dismissed.
The annual Fourth of July parade pulled Manhattanites into the streets to celebrate, and less than two weeks later crowds gathered in Times Square to cheer Team U.S.A in the Women's World Cup Soccer Final. The US team lost to Japan.
Meanwhile, downtown, West Village pet stores banned inebriated passers-by from buying puppies.
The late designer Alexander McQueen's exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened in May and drew 43,000 people in its first week, closed on Aug. 7 and became the eighth most popular exhibit ever shown at The Met, drawing a total of 661,500 people during its run.
The National Arts Club's disgraced former board president O. Aldon James, who had been in the news since January when DNAinfo broke the story of mismanagement at the club under his reign, won a temporary reprieve from moves to evict him from a club-owned apartment. By the end of 2011, lawsuits and countersuits between the club and James were ongoing over the possible eviction and a $3 million debt James is alleged to owe the NAC.
The 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks was commemorated in lower Manhattan, with events for families of the victims centered on the World Trade Center site and the new 9/11 memorial.
High school baskeball star Tayshana Murphy, 18, was murdered in the early hours of Sunday Sept. 11 outside her home at Grant Houses, Harlem. Tyshawn Brockington, 21, and Robert Cartagena, 20, were arrested for the crime which police said may have stemmed from a rivalry between crews at Grant Houses and the nearby Manhattanville Houses.
The movement known as Occupy Wall Street took shape in lower Manhattan on Sept. 17 when protesters rallied in Zuccotti Park to voice their opposition to greed and inequality in the economy, and to represent the so-called 99 percent of the population whose voices are being ignored. The demonstrations led to a series of showdowns with police, mass arrests, and allegations of NYPD brutality. The park was cleared on Nov. 15 by police in riot gear.
When DNAinfo broke the story of the NYPD engaging in alleged ticket fixing, the result was a wide ranging probe of the department. As the breadth of the scandal became apparent, the lead detective involved in the investigation, Randy Katakofsky, was himself implicated and faced charges.
An unusually sunny and mild fall season assisted 45,000 runners competing in the New York City Marathon, who were cheered on by an estimated 2.5 million spectators.
Santacon saw downtown bars full of Christmas cheer and tipsy festive characters roaming the streets. But the holiday display, which included accusations of public urination and Santas terrorizing lower Manhattan, prompted anger from one downtown community board and many residents.
An ordinary day ended in tragedy for Suzanne Hart when an elevator she stepped into at 285 Madison Ave. building where she worked as a Young & Rubicam executive crushed her to death. An investigation into the malfunction is ongoing.
Eight U.S. soldiers were charged in connection with the death of Private Danny Chen in Afghanistan. Chen, who grew up in Chinatown and the East Village, was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted wound on Oct. 3 in Khandahar Province, but it later came out that the Asian American soldier may have been the victim of ethnic taunts, hazing and discrimination. His death has sparked calls for a review of hazing in the military.