1607 June 1
Johann van der Zee is born on 1 June 1607, in Amsterdam, Holland, then part of the Dutch Republic. (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)
circa 1621
Johann comes to the New World at age 14. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
John says 1620 and age 14, the latter would make the specific year 1621 or 1622.
Johann is stabbed through the heart saving the life of a native girl. She and the women shaman of her Lenape Village (located at what will become Times Square) save his life, and in so doing make him immortal. He will not die or age until after he finds "the one", his soul mate. Throughout much of the next 365 years he uses the first name John.


circa 1760s
John taught history at Columbia University during the period it was called King’s College. (ep.3 “Soldier's Heart”)
circa 1776–1781
John serves with Whitcomb’s Rangers during the American Revolutionary War. (ep.4 “Honor”)


The Ursulines arrive in New York from Cork. (ep.4 “Honor”)
John is a coachman in the Bronx for Andrew Durst who forcibly deflowers his female servants; including Fanny, who had been saving herself for John. After John kills Durst in a duel, he abandons his current identity as Durst was a "gentleman" and John was not. Due to this his life was in danger from Durst’s peers. (ep.4 “Honor”)
circa 1850
John takes the first of around 160 pictures—each dated with the year taken—covering the development of what is later called Times Square. (ep.1 “Pilot”) (ep.7 “Reclassified”)
Pictures shown include: 1878–80, 1890, 1893, 1899–1903, 1906–07, 1911–12, 1915, 1925–26, 1932, 1935, 1937, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1959, 1977–78, 1980–1982, 1985, 2006, & 2007
Years specifically missing include: 1891–92, 1908–10, 1913–14, 1933–34, 1936, 1942, 1946–47, 1949
1862 September 17
John is a Union Army surgeon at the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. He is assisted by Walt Whitman, who gives John a first edition of Leaves of Grass. (ep.3 “Soldier's Heart”)
John takes on the alias Arthur. (ep.6 “Legacy”, visible on his family tree)
1865 April
John helps chase down John Wilkes Booth. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
late 19th century
John had a relationship with Emily Dickinson. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
circa 1880s and/or circa 1903
As Benwaar, he is a well known furniture maker. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
A fuzzy image in the pilot might read 1903 or possibly 1908, but the later episode “Legacy” makes circa 1888 more likely.
circa 1889
Alice Crayborn born. (ep.6 “Legacy”, “five years older than Rosie”)
circa 1890
John marries ("50 years" before 1941); they later have a daughter named "Em" (short for Maggie). (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)
John takes on the alias "Dutch" Amsterdam, a painter, and gets married to Samantha. (ep.6 “Legacy”)
Roosevelt “Rosie” Amsterdam, son of Dutch and Samantha, is born. (ep.6 “Legacy”)

Turn of the centuryEdit

Stanford White designed the Dillane mansion, the biggest private house on Park Avenue. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
John knew the actress Sarah Bernhardt. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
Year of the Rat (1900)
During the wars between the Hip Sing Tong and the Four Brothers, a Mr. Chen was a police informant. (ep.6 “Legacy”)

1910 – 1940sEdit

1912 / 1913
Dutch and his family are living in Greenwich Village. His wife and son leave Dutch after he has an affair with one of his models, Alice Crayborn. (ep.6 “Legacy”)
John’s family tree says they left in 1912, an on screen title dates the event to 1913.
Lily Rae Brown is born. (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)
circa 1917
John fought in France during World War I. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”) He was wounded and underwent contrology therapy—now known as the Pilates exercise regimen—in his recovery and rehabilitation. (ep.8 “Love Hurts”)
The Penmar is a speakeasy during prohibition, and John is a regular. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
Johnny on the Spot” is running scams near Hell Gate as a grifter, and his thieving destroys a budding relationship with the actress Olivia Behrendt (formerly Paula Dorn from Grand Rapids, Michigan). (ep.8 “Love Hurts”)
John, using the name Charlie, is dating a painter named Julianne. She paints his image into a mural named The Lover's Sacrifice in the Presidential Suite at the Davenshire Hotel. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
As John York, Esq. ("born" January 6, 1904, in New York City), he is practicing law, and having a secret relationship with Lily Rae Brown. John’s secretary is his daughter Em. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is one of his favorite books, and his dog is named "Twenty nine." Under pressure from her father, Lily later breaks off the affair. York joins the army and is assigned to the "Big Red One". (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)
John and Lily have a son they name Omar, and they get married. (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)
1944 June
During the Invasion of Normandy John temporarily lost his hearing when a shell exploded “too close for comfort.” (ep.1 “Pilot”)
Lily Rae York dies. (ep.2 “Golden Boy”)

1950 – 2000sEdit

circa 1950s
During the Cold War John blackmailed his superior in a government agency. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”) This was possibly the CIA which John served in for 10 years. (ep.6 “Legacy”)
Thelonious Monk buys one of John’s desks, after a show with Coltrane. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
1964 February
John, working as a night club comedian, drinks enough to kill a normal human and ends up in a mental institution. After leaving, he enters Alcoholics Anonymous, and when his AA sponsor Frank dies unexpectedly of a heart attack (93 days after Ruby shot Oswald), John confesses his secrets to Omar instead. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
John has his last drink, beginning 15,495 days of sobriety as of the pilot episode. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
1967 July 17
Coltrane dies, still mad at John. (ep.1 “Pilot”)
2002 February
John takes on the John Amsterdam alias. (ep.5 “Keep The Change”) He joined the NYPD because of 9/11, and becomes a detective in the shortest time in NYPD history. (ep.7 “Reclassified”) (ep.4 “Honor”)
2003 December 19
Dr. Sara Millay Dillane, daughter of Mary Dillane and Franklin Dillane was married to Robert Camp. (ep.4 “Honor”, issue of the New York Times shown on screen)


As of the pilot, John has had 609 girlfriends, a few wives, 63 children, and 36 dogs. (ep.1 “Pilot”) (ep.5 “Keep The Change”)
John’s military service includes “the army three times, marines, navy, coast guard; not the air force, don't like heights.” (ep.3 “Soldier's Heart”)
John has a detailed family tree of all his wives and known descendants. (ep.6 “Legacy”)
Donald Chen—great-grandson of the police informant—leads New York’s Tong gang. (ep.6 “Legacy”)
Sara Dillane is divorcing her husband because he was having an ongoing affair. (ep.6 “Legacy”) (ep.7 “Reclassified”)