Regardless of the kind of tourist someone is, there's no denying the fact that there's so much about their hometown they can share that most people have never heard of. If the whole world was in a position where it had to choose a capital city, the same way every country has its capital, New York would, without a doubt, be one of the top contenders for the title. New York is an amazing place to visit and even work in, with the only disadvantage of this great city being that life there is a bit too expensive for most people to afford.
New Yorkers have done a great job advertising their city to the rest of the world, and this has made so many people from different parts of the world to come to visit this city. However, regardless of how many times someone visits this city or how long their vacations here last, there's so much about this city they probably don't know about.
Here's a list of 30 things local New Yorkers know but are never too keen on sharing this information because they assume everyone else knows this. To someone who has never been to this city, all these facts are mind-blowing. To those who've been to this city a few times, some of these facts may be familiar, but they probably don't know the whole story.
30 New Yorkers Are Actually Nice People
The world has this perception that New Yorkers are snobs and rude to strangers but the locals tend to disagree with this. They are good people to talk to, that is, when they are not rushing to get somewhere. These few tips might be useful when dealing with New Yorkers: Get straight to the point and ask for what you need instead of giving your life history. Don’t block sidewalks. Don’t block subway doors. Lastly, don’t ask them to keep saying the word ‘coffee’ because you like the way they pronounce it.
29 Albert Einstein's Eyes Are Still In New York
Albert Einstein was a genius and a theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He was born in Germany but denounced his citizenship when Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933. He was already in the States at that time so instead of going back home; he decided to settle in America and became a citizen.
He pushed the United States government to start research on nuclear bombs because other countries were already doing so but he made it clear that he did not support these types of weapons. He was also part of a research center in Princeton and his intellectual contribution to the world will always be remembered. His eyeballs are currently kept in a safe deposit box in the New York City.
28 Locals Know The Explanation Behind The Nickname "The Big Apple"
There are numerous times we’ve heard New York City referred to as the ‘Big Apple.’ Have you ever wondered why this is so, or where the name originated from?
There are many theories out there about how the name came to be but the name became popular during horse races where the phrase ‘Big Apple’ was used to describe the big prize money that would be won after a big race.
There was also a sports writer in the 1920s by the name John Fits Gerald who liked introducing New York City by the name ‘Big Apple’ in every column he wrote.
27 Locals Know All The Confusing Acronyms In NYC
New Yorkers seem to always be in a hurry, they don’t even have the time to call a place by its full name. They’ve developed a few acronyms for places with long names. Some of these include: NoHo – North of Houston Street, SoHo – South of Houston Street, Nolita – North of Little Italy, Tribeca – Triangle below Canal Street, LES – Lower East Side, UWS – Upper West Side, UES – Upper East Side, FiDi – Financial District, DUMBO – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. You may want to keep a list of these acronyms to refer to when you visit New York.
26 There Are Copepods In The City’s Drinking Water
Before you quickly gobble down New York’s tap water, we thought you should know that the water contains microscopic crustacean organisms known as copepods. This mosquito-eating larva is clean and harmless if consumed by humans.
You can also not remove them from the water, as they are almost transparent and therefore difficult to see with the naked eye. Since locals seem to enjoy the water with this special ingredient in it, why should you shy away from quenching your thirst with this water as well?
25 The Statue Of Liberty Once Looked Very Different
The iconic sculpture of Lady Liberty located on Liberty Island in one of New York’s harbor was a gift from the French to the people of the United States. The statue arrived in New York in 1886 in 350 pieces that were packed nicely in 214 crates.
However, the arm of the statue was received much earlier in 1876 and was kept on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The statue did not have a proper pedestal to place it on so locals were encouraged to contribute money towards the project. Eventually, $100,000 was raised and Lady Liberty was erected.
24 The City Actually Has A Ton Of Great Beaches
The New York coastline extends to 520 miles and is longer than the coastlines of Miami, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles combined. Out of the 520 miles, 14 miles are beautiful habitable sandy beaches that you would not think of finding in the busy city area.
The beaches are located around New York in each one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. Some of the best beaches include Coney Island in Brooklyn, Rockaway Beaches in Queens, Orchard Beach in the Bronx, Great Kills Park beaches in Staten Island, and Long Beach in Long Island.
23 New York City Has Wildlife
Besides infrastructure, New York has its share of wild animals. Although coyotes like living in the woods, a few sneak into the city to look for food. They are mostly harmless and will look for food in garbage bins where they also kill small rodents.
Red foxes have also been spotted in the City as well as opossums and falcons. The water surrounding New York is home to one of the largest freshwater turtles, fin whales, and Ctenophores, which are jelly-like fish that float on water, but do not sting like the jellyfish do.
22 The Windowless Skyscraper Is Very Mysterious
If you ever get to visit 33 Thomas Street in Manhattan, be sure to check for the AT&T Long Lines Building that has no windows. The 550-foot tall building is covered by concrete walls and can supposedly withstand a nuclear attack.
The concrete building is officially used for telecommunications exchange. However, some locals speculate that the United States National Security Agency use it as a secret surveillance hub to spy on people by tapping into phone calls and faxes; but these are just speculations.
21 Subway Cars Are Thrown Into The Ocean
New York City has one of the most extensive subway systems in the world that has been operating since we can remember. When the trains become too old for use, the seat, straps, wheels and any other additions are removed until only a skeleton of the carriage is left. These carriages are then transported and dropped into the ocean.
Dumping metal in the ocean may seem like a bad idea but this is actually done for a good cause. The subway cars provide shelter to many sea creatures and provide cover for fish that easily fall prey to other fish because they cannot swim faster than their predators.
20 The Safest Day In New York City Was November 28, 2012
A lot of less than great things happen in urban centers, and New York is no exception. However, Monday 28 November 2012 was a very peaceful day in New York City.
On this particular day, not a single complaint was reported during the entire 24 hours. The city locals are surprised by this to this day but are glad that the chaos of the city decided to take a break for once.
19 NYC Is Made Up Of 5 Boroughs – And They All Have Their Own Flavour
New York City is not just Times Square and the surrounding skyscrapers, it is actually made of up of five administrative divisions known as boroughs and these are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.
These five boroughs were merged in 1898 to form the City of New York. Manhattan and Staten Island are islands on their own; Queens and Brooklyn are located on Long Island while the Bronx is located on the mainland. These islands are connected to each other using bridges and tunnels.
18 The Brooklyn Bridge Has A Rich History
The Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883 to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. To fund its building, the city had to rent out large vaults under the bridge to wineries, as the temperatures under it were favorable for the storage of wine.
After its completion, New Yorkers were however afraid of using the bridge until an American showman by the name Phineas T. Barnum led a parade of 21 elephants across it to prove that the bridge was safe to use. The suspension bridge, which lies on the East River, was also the first bridge ever to be lit by electricity.
17 14% of New York City Is Parkland
New York City is not all skyscrapers, 24% of the city is covered by trees, and 14% of it is municipal parkland. Some of the major parks in New York City include Central Park, Prospect Park, Forest Park, and Washington Square Park.
Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City. Central Park, which is located between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan, is a well-known park. It has been featured in over 200 films so far.
16 The Fashion Is Truly One-Of-A-Kind
New York City is one of the world’s fashion capitals. It is home to over 900 fashion companies and most of them have their headquarters located in the city. It is one of the big 4 cities, alongside Paris, London, and Milan, that hold major fashion weeks for international designers to display their collection of clothing items.
New York Fashion Week is held twice a year in February and September. The series of events on both months brings the country over $900 million per year.
15 Locals Avoid Times Square
Times Square, which is a commercial and entertainment spot, is similar to a town square but instead of it being a square, it shaped like a bowtie. It is located in midtown Manhattan and is a popular tourist attraction mainly because of its numerous bright advertisement billboards.
It was initially called Longacre Square up until 1904 when New York Times moved to the city. Over 300,000 pedestrians pass through there every day. The busy pedestrian area attracts over 50 million tourists in a year from all over the world.
14 The People Are Unlike Anywhere Else In The World
New York City, which has a population of about 8.6 million people, has one of the most linguistically diverse populations in the world. Over 800 languages are spoken in New York because 40% of the people living in the City have been born outside of the United States.
The city is densely populated such that if the state of Texas was to be as congested as New York is, the entire world’s population would be able to fit in it. New York City also has the largest Chinese and Puerto Rican populations outside of their respective countries.
13 The Subway Transportation Can Get Super Confusing For People Who Aren't Locals
The easiest way to get around New York City is by train. It is much faster and cheaper than using cabs. The New York subway system is one of the largest transit systems in the world. It stretches 722 miles long with 34 lines and 468 stations.
If the tracks were to be laid out, they would start from New York and end up in North Carolina. The longest subway route is route A, which spans out 31 miles. Traveling to all subway stops would take about 24 hours.
12 Real New Yorkers Can Identify The Best Restaurants
New Yorkers love their food. There are so many restaurants in the city that it would take you more than 12 years to visit all of them. There are also over 4,000 street food vendors. Pizza is a favorite among New Yorkers and is best eaten while standing.
The first pizzeria in the US was also opened in New York City in 1895 and since then the price of a slice of pizza has always been equivalent to the cost of a single ride on the subway train.
11 The Empire State Building Is Actually Worth It For Tourists
The 102-story building referred to as the Empire State Building is located in the Middle of Manhattan and is currently the 5th tallest building in the United States. It was once considered the tallest building in the United States after its construction in 1931 and held this record for 40 years.
When the weather is clear, its height enables you to see five states from its observatories. These five states are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The skyscraper is also struck by lightning an average of 23 times a year.
10 Locals Know The Best Time To Flag Down A Taxi
The yellow New York taxis are a common means of transport around the city and the streets are full of them. However, they were not always yellow in color, they were initially red, and green until a salesman back in 1907 suggested that yellow was the easiest color to spot especially from a distance.
The yellow color was soon adopted and has been kept since then. If you wish to operate a taxi in New York, you need to have at least $1 million for purchasing the license. Getting a taxi at around 5 o’clock in the evening is also a bit hard because drivers normally change their shifts at this time.
9 New Yorkers Hardly Ever Sleep
When most of the rest of the world is sound asleep getting their beauty rest, New Yorkers are still up and running. It’s not just the bars and restaurants that remain open into the wee hours of the night; New Yorkers generally operate under a 24-hour economy.
The subway system remains running throughout the night so that people can get around easily. If you wish to visit a nail salon at 2:00 am in the morning, you cannot miss one that is open. There are a number of shopping marts and gyms that also operate 24 hours a day.
8 Everyone Should Visit Brooklyn
People are always afraid of visiting Brooklyn in fear that they may get attacked or mugged. Locals reassure that there is nothing to be scared of in Brooklyn. If you ever make it to New York City, it is actually one of the first places you should plan to visit.
It has some of the best viewing spots and rooftop bars in the city. You can see much of the city and its bridges from Brooklyn. There are also great spots for food and flea markets with unique affordable items that can be carried as souvenirs.
7 New York's Federal Reserve Bank Contains An Absurd Amount Of Riches
New York City houses one of the country’s 12 Federal Reserve Banks on 33 Liberty Street. Federal Reserve Banks in the United States of America are responsible for implementing monetary policies as well as supervising and regulating financial institutions in the country.
The New York Federal Reserve, in particular, is the largest in terms of asset holdings, the busiest when it comes to transactions and the most influential of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. It also holds 25% of the world’s gold in its vaults.
6 Delivery Companies Are Always Faced With Fines
Delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx rake in up to $120 million in a year for the City of New York. Parking is a huge problem in the busy and congested streets of New York so delivery companies are forced to pay large amounts of money for convenient parking spaces.
However, others park in illegal spots and when found are fined heavily. The city can issue up to 7,000 parking tickets to delivery companies alone in a day. In 2006, UPS received 15,000 tickets and had to pay $18.7 million as a result.
5 The Street Signs Have A Fascinating History
If you walk around New York City, you will notice that each street is clearly named and marked. Most of the street signs are green and white, colors that were adopted from the United States highway signs.
Blue street signs, on the other hand, are an old style of signage that was used between the 1910s and the 1930s. However, the most interesting signs to note are the brown street signs, which were first introduced in 1989, to define historic districts. If you come across any of these, take a moment to appreciate that you are in a historic area.
4 The Lowline Park Is A Low-Key Underground Park
The Lowline Park, currently under construction, will be the world’s first underground park. It will be located under the disowned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on Delancey Street that is on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The one-acre underground park will mostly be lit by natural light but the artificial light will be on standby for use on cloudy days and nighttime. It is estimated that the entire project will cost $55 million and construction will likely be completed in 2020.
3 There’s A Secret Train Station
Rumor has it that there is a secret train station located in midtown Manhattan under one of New York’s luxury hotels, the Waldorf Astoria. The secret subway, known as Track 61, is mostly used by The White House as a secret passage.
Some of America’s former presidents have supposedly utilized it including Franklin Roosevelt who used it to enter the hotel quietly because he had a polio condition that he did not want the public to know about. George Bush and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson have also been said to have used it.
2 The Flatiron Building Is A Classic
The Flatiron Building is a 22-story building with a triangle shape and is located on 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. Because of its shape and location, the building created a dangerous wind tunnel at the tip of its triangle.
The wind was so strong that it would cause people's clothes to fly around. People were notorious for gathering there so that they could catch a glimpse. However, police officers would tell them to scatter, which gave rise to the phrase “23 Skidoo.”
1 The Narrowest House In NYC Holds A Ton Of History
75 ½ Bedford Street is the narrowest house in New York City measuring 9 feet and 6 inches wide. It is located in the West Village neighborhood in lower Manhattan. The house was constructed in 1873 as a carriage entranceway for Horatio Gomez who did not want to catch smallpox following its outbreak.
From 1923, the house was rented to famous artists who worked nearby, a poet, a coffee importer, and a cartoonist, William Steig. George Gund IV who is the son of sports magnate George Gund III bought the house in June 2013 and is still listed as the current owner of the property.