Start spreadin’ the news! Almost everyone wants to be a part of the New York City scene, from the city’s thrilling nightlife and productive business growth to the fashionable shopping and kookie cuisine. When you hear about New York, images of traffic jams, yellow taxis, Broadway, Times Square may come to mind. It seems like a fact that you can’t go to New York City and be bored; if you ever do get bored in the city, you’re probably not doing it right. The Big Apple is such a big city with so much culture all around and a rich history ingrained in its walls, streets and underground. It’s the city that never sleeps, and it’s generally viewed as one of the most exciting cities in the world. People flock from all over to catch a glimpse of NYC and all of the wonders and opportunities it has to offer. In other words, there’s something for almost everyone. New York City is the melting pot of the American dream with different cultures and lifestyles all coming together in the city. When immigrants arrived at Ellis Island, they began to define what the United States is today.
NYC has so many secrets that you never know what new things you might encounter when you’re there. In the 6,375 miles of the city’s streets, there are shocking secrets and facts lurking around every nook and cranny. Even season New Yorkers don’t know all there is to know about New York City. Whether you’re a Big Apple native or you’re an out-of-towner, read on and get ready to wow your friends with your intimate knowledge of the secrets behind one of the most well known cities in the world.
10. Sketchy Fire Hydrants
This one’s pretty sneaky: New York City got its first fire hydrant in 1808, and with the growth of firefighting technology and the demand for water in every location possible, fire hydrants quickly sprouted up all over the city. Nowadays, of course, one of the biggest reasons that New Yorkers get a parking ticket is for parking in front of hydrants. However, the more fire hydrants were installed, the more the older ones became inoperable and inactive, starting around 1980. But the city didn’t bother to remove the outdated hydrants. Instead, they were kept in place so that the city could collect more parking tickets from New Yorkers an unsuspecting tourists.
9. A Windmill Dominated the Skyline
When one thinks of the New York City skyline, most of us will think of tall skyscrapers with the Empire State Building (which has held the title of the tallest building in New York before World Trade Center was built and after it was tragically destroyed), the Brooklyn Bridge maybe in the foreground, and lots of lights and cars on the ground. But in the first years of New York City, the same area of that famous skyline was actually dominated by a windmill that towered over the other buildings. Quite a difference.
8. The NYC Subway Golden 40 Minutes
New York City is known for the subway system, which is used by over 4.9 million people on weekdays (talk about feeling the rush hour crush). The subway first opened in 1904 and has since become the largest mass transit system in the world with over 842 miles of track (40% being above ground) and over 468 stations. No wonder New Yorkers don’t need a car in the city! When you have a transit system like the NYC subway, cozy up with the stranger next to you and get ready for the 40 minute commute to work – this is the average commute of New Yorkers, meaning they transit 1 hour and 20 minutes a day in total to get to and from work.
7. You Can Never Go Hungry
With the numerous choices for food consumption in NYC from fast food chains to fine restaurants, there’s really no excuse to go hungry. What’s even more shocking is that New York City has over 4,000 street food vendors. From hot dogs, to foreign foods you can eat on the hoof, and there’s always something around just about every corner. In fact, some of the finest hot dogs you’ll ever taste come from a street vendor in their little carts under the umbrellas. And the best part about it all? It’s cheap!
6. The Heat of the… Pavement?
It’s quite true that New York City can get extremely hot during the spring and summer. Hot to the point of where all you have to do is take one step outside and you’re sweating like you just got done with a 45-minute kickboxing class. But do you know what’s even crazier? The average temperature of a pavement in New York City on a hot summer day is 150 degrees F. So if you decide to go to the City during the summer, you may want to be careful with your thin-soled shoes if you’re planning to stand outside for a while.
5. There Was An Actual Wall on Wall Street
Wall Street may not be the favorite place of the 99%, but how many of us have wondered how the major financial capital got its name? When the Dutch were still living in New York City back in the early years of the city’s development, there was a wall there to protect the area. Another fun facts about a major street in NYC; before Broadway became the Great White Way, it was actually a trading route called the Wiechquaekeck Trail.
4. Cultural Diversity Is Key
About 47% percent of the population in New York City speaks a language other than English at home. If you think about the population of the city, that’s a lot of languages being spoken! Chinatown in Manhattan also has the largest population of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere. Not only that, but about 36% of the population were also born outside of the United States; NYC truly is emblematic of America’s ‘melting pot’ ideal.
3. Manhattan Was Bought For $24
What a smart investment on the part of Peter Minuit, the Dutch explorer who bought the tip of the island of Manhattan for tools and trinkets that were worth in total around $24. Manhattan started out as a Dutch trading port – known as New Amsterdam – due to its convenient location around the water. At the time of the purchase, which was 1626, $24 was really around $1000. That’s still a bargain! When the area was renamed, the name Manhattan marked a nod to the native Algonquin tribe – it means “island of the hills” in the tribe’s language.
2. NYC Is Safe!
Out of the 25 largest cities in the U.S., New York City has been the safest since 2005. Some of you may be pretty shocked at this given the city’s notorious reputation, but don’t let episodes of Law & Order prejudice you. Of course, with such a large population of people, the crime rate is still pretty high but when assessed in relation to the population there’s a lower violent crime rate per capita than cities like Atlanta, Washington and Nashville.
1. The Statue of Liberty is in New Jersey
Technically, the Statue of Liberty is in New Jersey waters and is closer to the state across the river than the city it’s most commonly associated with. To be fair, Lady Liberty does have a New York City address, but that happened due to maritime law technicalities from 1664 – a couple of hundred years before the French gave Lady Liberty to the United States in 1886. But regardless of whether you reside in New York or New Jersey, the statue can be seen from both states.
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