Tag Archives: Lincoln Tunnel

The Lincoln Tunnel Opens And “Mr. First” Is There – December 22, 1937

Omero C. Catan, Known As “Mr. First” Waits To Be First Through The New Lincoln Tunnel

Omero C Catan Lincoln Tunnel 1st through 12 21 1937

When he was 13-years-old in 1928, Omero C. Catan heard a story from a family friend who was one of the first people to cross the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened in 1883. It was then that Omero decided that being first would be something fun to do as a hobby.

Soon after Catan went down to Lakehurst, NJ from his home in Greenwich, CT to become the first American to tour the famous airship, Graf Zeppelin.

The Miami New Times 1995 profile of Omero and his brother Michael reported, “after that initial success, there was no stopping him.”

Catan paid the first toll on the George Washington Bridge linking New York and New Jersey (October 25, 1931). He was the first to buy a token on the Eighth Avenue subway (September 10, 1932). He was the first paying customer to skate on the Rockefeller Plaza ice rink (December 25, 1936).  After he proposed marriage to stenographer Jeanne Tobolka, he was to receive the first wedding license of 1939. He was the first to put a coin in a New York City parking meter (Sept. 19, 1951). He was the first to drive over the Tappan Zee Bridge (December 15, 1955).

In all Catan was “first” 537 times, acquiring the sobriquet “Mr. First”.

At 4 a.m. on December 22, 1937 the lights turned green and Omero Catan and George Horn started driving through the new Lincoln Tunnel from opposite sides.

According to the New York Times, Catan whose car had been parked Continue reading