19 Things Even New Yorkers Don’t Know About NYC
Um, there’s shrimp in our water
1. The Empire State Building is home to so many businesses, it has its own zip code (it’s 10118, FYI).
2. For more than a year, NYC was named New Orange when it was taken over by the Dutch.
3. Women weren’t allowed in McSorley’s, the oldest bar in New York, until 1970. (Booooo.)
4. NYC is home to Albert Einstein’s eyeballs--they’re stored in a safe deposit box. The more you know…
5. If Brooklyn were its own city, it would be the fourth largest in the United States.
6. In the early 19th century, pigs were as common as pigeons, and roamed the streets, eating trash out of the gutters.
7. Why does New York City water taste so good? It contains tiny, microscopic shrimp that aren’t visible to the human eye. (OK, that probably doesn’t impact the taste but still.)
8. Forty percent of the NYC subway system is above ground.
9. New York taxis are yellow because of John Hertz--before his rental car business took off, he owned a fleet of cabs. He had a local university determine that yellow was the color that could be spotted most easily at a distance, and painted them all accordingly.
10. Over 800 languages are spoken here, including Urdu, Gujarati, Serbo-Croatian and Tagalog.
11. The lion statues in front of the New York Public Library have names: Patience and Fortitude.
12. Pinball was illegal in NYC until 1978.
13. For a hot second, NYC was almost renamed Brimaquonx, a combination of the names of all five boroughs. (Um, thanks for not doing that.)
14. There were actual sheep in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow until 1934.
15. When you walk through Washington Square Park, you’re stepping over thousands of dead bodies. It used to be an execution site, and an estimated 20,000 corpses are still underneath the park. Enjoy your picnic!
16. Until after World War II, every single New Yorker had to move on May 1 because all apartment leases expired simultaneously.
17. It can cost upwards of $200,000 to get a permit to run a hot dog cart.
18. And buying a New York City taxi medallion? It used to cost over $1 million, but prices have gone down to $700,000 since Uber became popular.
19. There’s a man who pans for gold in the cracks of the sidewalk outside the Diamond District in Midtown--he makes up to $800 a week.