Selling condoms or pet food? An unexpected bible of million-dollar opportunities

Jonathan Soffer is the Chair of the Department of Technology Culture and Society and Interim-Chair and Professor in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation at New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

The first issue of The City Record, on June 24, 1873, listed a procurement notice for a steamboat engine for the Department of Charities and Corrections. A more recent notice, from 2017, listed the purchase of $4,379,000 worth of condoms and lubrication packets as part of a city public health campaign. … The City Record was created by reformers to monitor city business in the wake of several municipal scandals. … The paper serves as a mirror to an ever-changing city, said Jonathan Soffer, a New York University history professor organizing the digitization of The City Record. He likes to cite old listings such as a sanitary code item from the May 1, 1874, issue that specified the streets and times that livestock could be driven through Manhattan streets.

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