They say New York is home to a million stories, and so far this year, we've published 7021 of them here on Gothamist. So in case you missed any of those, let's take a little stroll back in time, and review the most significant stories the past 12 months, shall we? Here's part one of a semi-chronological look at 2006; part two will go up tomorrow:

Nixzmary Brown and the Problem with the Administration for Children's Services
A grim story about a 7 year old found dead in her family's Brooklyn apartment turned into a nightmare: Nixzmary Brown was repeatedly abused by her mother and stepfather who thought she was evil. Authorities removed a chair she would be tied to, stepfather Cesar Rodriguez made her use a litterbox, and the night she died, her head had been bashed into a bathtub faucet. Even after her death, Rodriguez was not remorseful. She had missed so much school that school officials contacted the Administration for Children's Services but the ACS seemed to half-heartedly investigate the issue. Brown's death was the latest in a string of children's deaths in homes that the ACS had been investigating, sparking changes at the agency where overworked ACS social workers struggle with cases. Time will tell if the changes have worked.

2006_12_christinequinn.jpgMadame Speaker
City Councilwoman Christine Quinn became the first female and first openly gay City Council Speaker, thanks to the support of the Queens bloc of City Council members. Quinn's first year showed her as being fairly agreeable with Mayor Bloomberg (relative to the spitting matches that former Speaker Gifford Miller would have with Bloomberg), even agreeing to put a recycling plant in the Meatpacking District- part of her district! The jury is still out on her leadership, but most recently, she did pass a revision to the city's tax-abatement program.


Dark Side of Bright Lights
In February, the body of John Jay graduate student Imette St. Guillen was found wrapped and duct-taped in a vacant lot in Brooklyn. It turned out St. Guillen had been out drinking at some downtown clubs and fears that there was a potential serial killer targeting young woman were raised. Then the police connected a bouncer at the last bar St. Guillen was seen in - The Falls in SoHo - with her disappearance. The bouncer, Darryl Littlejohn, had a criminal history and shouldn't even have been working at the bar, which happened to be owned by the Dorrian family (the same owners of the bar where the Preppie Murder principals met) who seemed to impede in the investigation. This started a citywide investigation into nightlife practices.

2006_12_imette.jpg

And then other incidents occurred: Bouncer Stephen Sakai at West Chelsea club Opus 22 shot at some patrons, killing one, and it turned to have been connected to other murders. Then an 18 year old Jennifer Moore from NJ was killed after a night of partying at clubs in the city. The police started to increase surveillance of clubs in West Chelsea, the City Council considered stricter regulation for bouncers and imposing more surveillance requirements, and the State Liquor Authority restricted the number of licenses it would give out. And Littlejohn is still awaiting trial for St. Guillen death.

Roaring Residential Real Estate
The city's real estate market was crazier than ever. Massive construction boomed most everywhere, and old favorites changed owners. Manhattan is practically entirely gentrified, making the availability of affordable housing for New Yorkers a big question for the city. Dumbo seemed to grow construction cranes, universities tried to expand much to community dismay, the 2nd Avenue Deli closed over high rents, and Stuyvesant Town was sold for $5.4 billion. In the strangest incident of real estate passion, an Upper East Side doctor blew up his own townhouse on East 62nd Street off Madison so his ex-wife wouldn't get it. But big real estate wheeling-dealing that captivated the city and will for the next year: The Altlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, which was just approved in December.

On a somewhat related note....

The 10-Alarm Fire at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse

A fire caught on at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse, a favorite site in its abandoned glory, in what would be the biggest fire since September 11, 2001. It turned out the developer who owned the warehouse and was interested in converting it for housing had other properties burn down due to suspicious fires. In the end, a homeless drunk was found guilty of setting the fire (the story is that he was burning rubber off wires for the copper) but he avoided jail time. It's still suspicious to us.

2006_12_nycview.jpgHomeland Security Doesn't Care About New York City...Or Does It?
In June, the Department of Homeland Security released the amount of money different regions would get in anti-terror aid. While NYC still claimed most of the dollars, the fact that its money was slashed by 40% with more money dedicated to less risky areas like Omaha and Jacksonville and that the DHS didn't think the city had any national monuments or icons became more fodder for politicians and New Yorkers alike to criticize the bureaucracy of the Bush administration. And in November, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff even admitted the calculations may have been wrong, proving all that complaining was well worth it.

More tomorrow! Tell us if you think we missed anything important. And remember: you can check the top stories on Gothamist anytime using our Favorites page. It shows the top stories over the last day, week, month, and year-- as well as the all-time favorites.