Folks, I was born in Iowa, right in the heartland of America. It’s a pretty awesome state. It has lots of corn and even more pigs. I’ll also have you know that it is home to not one but TWO of the world’s most iconic streets. The fact that my mom’s house is located on one of them is purely coincidental, okay? Anyway, although I love Iowa, I’m willing to concede that New York City is an okay place too. In fact, to prove this I have even compiled a list of 15 amazing facts about the biggest city in America. Enjoy!
1. The city is home to the world’s third largest library
Located on 5th avenue, the New York Public Library contains more than 55 million different items that you can borrow and then “forget” to return, including books, journals, and even musical records – just in case you’re still trapped in the 1950s, we suppose.
2. NYC is the most linguistically diverse city in the world
English is one of those languages, sorta. So is Spanish, for sure. Russian? Duh, Brighton Beach, guys. In fact, there are more than different 800 languages in total. So if you’re looking for a way to fill up your free time, why not create a challenge for yourself and learn all of them so that you can strike up a conversation literally with everybody in the city!
3. The Mall at Central Park was created for the Rich and Snooty
The Mall, originally known as the Promenade, is the only straight path through the city’s famous and largest park. Built between 1921 and 1923, its purpose was to allow the city’s wealthy elites to walk around with their noses up in the air, compare the lengths of their top hats, and show off their impressive monocols.
4. Honking a car horn in non-emergency situations is technically illegal in NYC.
Honking for no good reason carries a fine of $350, but whatever. It’s rarely enforced because New Yorkers are gonna do what New Yorkers are gonna do.
5. Traveling the entire NYC subway system would take 22 hours
Hey, do you have plans on Sunday? Well, you do now. Step 1: Fly to New York City (or if you already live there or nearby, drive/walk/take a bus). Step 2: get on the subway and take every single route. Excluding the time it takes to transfer by foot from one line to another, you’re looking at nearly an entire day of sitting in a subway car and basking in the weirdness that is the typical New York passenger.
6. Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of doo-dads and knick-knacks.
Dutch merchant Peter Schaghen bought the island from the Lenape Tribe for the equivalent of $1,050 in today’s money. Kind of unfair, right? Fortunately, it was the only time that the indigenous people would ever get totally screwed over.
7. If Brooklyn were its own city, it would be America’s 3rd largest.
In addition, the boroughs of Queens would be 4th, Manhattan 6th, and the Bronx 9th. What we’re trying to say is that NYC is pretty big, guys.
8. A permit to open a food stand in Central Park is insanely expensive
If you have around $415,000 to play around with, we have some good news: you can serve hungry New Yorkers $2 hot dogs at a prime spot in Central Park. That’s how much one vendor back in 2009 paid to set up their cart. Could that possibly be profitable? Well, the carts haven’t disappeared or anything, so apparently.
9. The nickname “Big Apple” is a reference to horse racing
This one is kind of a weird game of association. So…horses like apples, correct? NYC used to be notable for its horse races, and the cash prizes at major competitions were known as “big apple.” So that’s where the city’s nickname comes from. Still following me? Not really. Fair enough.
10. The Empire State Building has its own zip code
The 102-story New York City landmark is so huge and has so many businesses that it gets its own unique zip code: 10118. But listen closely, Empire State Building. Think you’re so special? Turns out that 42 other buildings in the city actually have their own zip codes as well, so maybe it’s not such a big deal after all. Sorry if I hurt your feelings.
11. Through the 1920s, May 1st was moving day in the city
For a large part of its history, New Yorkers who wanted to move apartments could only do it on one designed day: May 1st of the given year. Imagine the insanity. Crowds of people, boxes and furniture being carted around every which way, horses everywhere. Okay, probably just another typical day. In any event, the practice ended in the 1920s after which people could move whenever they damn well pleased.
12. New York is the birthplace of American-Style Pizza
Back in 1895, Italian immigrants in New York introduced pizza to the locals and more than a century later we haven’t looked back. Today there are more than 1,600 pizza joints in the city along with Lombardi’s, which opened in 1905, being the oldest still operating today.
13. The city actually has a skyscraper without windows
Located at 33 Thomas street and formerly known as the AT&T Long Lines Building, the building is so mysterious that nobody knows what goes on inside. Just kidding. It reportedly serves as a mass surveillance hub for the National Security Agency, so they’re probably spying on you right now. Doesn’t that make you feel better?
14. Federal Reserve Bank Sits on literally tons of gold
The Fed is believed to be the largest repository in the world with around 7,700 tons ($415 billion) of gold. That’s, like, probably enough to buy a nice house. Roughly 98% of the gold is owned by the central banks of 36 nations.
15. NYC was the first US capital after ratification of the Constitution
This is where George Washington was actually inaugurated as America’s first president. The city served as capital from March 4, 1789 until December 5, 1790 at which point it was moved to Philadelphia, which remains the capital today if the vandalized Wikipedia page is to be believed.