Misconceptions and myths can add intrigue to any situation. It creates interests and attracts people’s attention, especially if they are outrageous or surprising. It's no wonder that one of the most visited cities in the United States has collected various legends attached to its name.
From Canada to Australia, New York is very well known for its rich history and culture. If we were to believe all of the rumours we hear, the city would be overrun by alligators in the sewers, murderers, and cement buildings. However, NYC is a misunderstood city with a lot to offer. Its vast history is based on various cultures, grabbing the attention of people from different continents and backgrounds. They travel the globe to experience everything the city has to offer, the glamour and the filth.
False stories concerning the big city are an insight into the soul and pride of its growing community, giving us an understanding of local residents and what matters most to them. They shock us by making us question what is true or false, and force us to question the logistics of this wonderful city.
Information can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted, therefore believe what you may. Before you head out on the next bus with your gator-catching gear and a strong flashlight, you should inform yourself on the real truths of New York city. It’s not all you’ll expect, but you’ll still find surprises along the way.
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10 Too Dangerous and Threatening for Visitors
Let’s get the biggest myth out of the way. New York is actually ranked one of the safest big cities in the United States. Its murder rate is ranked the 2nd lowest in the country at 4.0 per 100,000, behind San Diego’s 3.5 per 100,000. New York’s image of tough streets with dangerous criminals is an outdated one. Police and crime fighters worked together through the 1970s to combat petty crimes, especially in the subway system, which helped tremendously lower all levels of crime. Visiting and living in New York is as safe as any other large city. It is still very important to remain vigilant against pickpocketing and other minor crimes, however visitors and residents can now enjoy all the city has to offer, without worry.
9 New York is Very Expensive
London, England is the most expensive city to visit or dwell across the globe. Nevertheless, rumours quote New York as the most costly. From cheap but amazing pizza slices and street food, to free art exhibits and events, the city has great options if you’re on a tight budget. Don’t get fooled by hundred dollar, three course meals, and over-priced boutiques. By doing a little bit of research ahead of time, you’ll find gems that are gentle on your wallet. Simply strolling through the downtown streets, visiting Times Square, and picnicking in one of the public parks is a great way to enjoy the big city without spending money.There are options for everyone, no matter their economical situation, so don’t shy away if you’re not made of money.
8 There Isn’t Enough Green Space
There’s a huge misconception of New York’s lack of grassy areas, putting off most nature lovers. This large city, lined with hundreds of streets of tall concrete buildings, may seem corporate and daunting. However, 19.5% of the land is designated to grassy, recreational, and public parks. Ranking it one of the highest in the country. Visitors will be able to enjoy strolls through public parks, allowing children and dogs space to run and play. These areas also give a break from the big city’s cement sea for corporate workers and students. There are art exhibits, theatrical shows, and festivals that can be found during the warmer months, attracting a wide range of different people. Visiting New York doesn’t mean you have to stifle yourself with a fast-paced, taxi-filled, concrete jungle. Try to visit as many parks as possible to find your perfect match!
7 New York is the Original "Big Apple"
Often hear of New York referred to as The Big Apple? While it was first believed to be a nickname for large and thriving cities, it was first used to refer to Los Angeles during the 1920s in Chicago’s newspaper the Defender. Due to the misunderstanding, it spread to NYC, thus branding it the Big Apple. Misconceptions leading to a popular nickname often happen, so there’s no big surprise here. Sorry, Chicago. It looks like The Big Apple name will never return to its original owner.
6 New Yorkers Don’t Drive
One of the first things that comes to mind when we think of New York City are the bright yellow taxi cabs. Leading us to believe that New Yorkers simply don’t drive or own their own vehicles. This is very untrue. While many residents enjoy using their bicycle, legs, or the trusty yellow cab drivers; 44% of the population who live within the five districts of the city own a vehicle. We shouldn’t rely on stereotypes to define the actions of a large population. Simply because New York taxis are so popular, does not mean that residents don’t own their own forms of transportation.
5 Alligators in the Sewers!
The legend of gator-filled sewers began in the 1930s, growing in intensity and ultimately becoming a local legend. The original story described wealthy New York families vacationing in Florida and bringing back living souvenirs in the form of baby alligators. When they grew too big, owners simply flushed them down the toilet. When Robert Daley decided to write a book detailing the underground maintenance of the city, entitled The World Beneath the City, he interviewed a gentleman by the name of Teddy May. Mr. May was the Commissioner of Sewers for the city of New York, and told the story of an albino alligator swimming in his direction in a sewer one day. Many of the other crew members had also seen these invading creatures, and Mr. Daley himself witnessed alligators of approximately 2 feet long. Mr. May and his crew began a form of extermination by attracting the gators with poisoned bait and flooding the side tunnels into the larger arteries, where men with rifles awaited the arrival of the animals. In 1937, Mr. May declared that no alligators were left in the sewers of New York City. This occurrence has never been proven true. It is unknown how the alligators got into the sewers, nor whether The World Beneath held accountable details. There were a few more sightings in the later years, however none were confirmed.
4 New York is Not a Coastal City
Warm sun, hot sand, and bikini-clad women are usually how you imagine a coastal state. However, cities like New York which do not share in these characteristics, are often regarded as not being true coastal cities. New York has a longer coastline than Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined. Its coastline measures 520 miles and provides New Yorkers with stunning views and experiences. So, next time you’re hitting the road towards The Big Apple, take the time to enjoy some of the amazing scenery from park benches lining to coast.
3 New York Is Not a College City
Simply because there aren’t sororities taking over 8 bedroom houses, doesn’t mean that New York isn’t a college town. NYC houses more students than Boston has in total population, showing just how important the big city is for students. They are able to enjoy restaurants, nightlife, and cultural experiences during the most enlightening years of their lives. It can be an excellent time to branch out from their usual surroundings and explore something out of the comfort zone. While New York doesn’t have the typical scenery of a college town, it has strength and character to create well-rounded graduates.
2 Manhattan Was Sold for $24 in Beads
Ridiculous myths surrounding the purchase price of Manhattan have always made for interesting stories. The legend goes that immigrants hit a sweet deal with their new fellow Americans, by sweeping up Manhattan into New York’s heart for only $24 worth of beads and novelties. In a letter from a Dutch merchant, in 1626, he states that the city of Manhattan was purchased for 60 guilders. Converting this price to today’s dollar, the myth has been disputed. However, it seems that it was actually purchased for approximately $1,000 at the time, totalling to $15,000 with inflation. That is still a pretty sweet deal.
1 New York Has the Latest Last Call in the Country
It is rumoured that New York City has the latest last call for alcohol in bars and clubs throughout the entire United States. While their last call is set for 4am, which is very late, it is not the latest in the country. New Orleans and Las Vegas both have agreements with their state officials to serve alcohol throughout the night, allowing them to offer alcoholic beverages to their guests at all hours. If you enjoy sipping on a cocktail at 5am in a trendy bar, New York is not the city for you. However, its nightlife has a lot to offer and shouldn’t be missed.
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