5 Crazy Myths About New York City
Are they fact, fiction or somewhere in between?
A lot of weird stuff goes down in New York City. In a metropolis where pizza-loving rats run wild, women in Times Square can go topless and pigs were the original residents of Wall Street, it seems like pretty much anything could happen.
Here are the five strangest urban legends we’ve heard about NYC…and believe it or not, some of them are actually true.
The myth: There are alligators in the sewers
True. In 1935, The New York Times reported news that an alligator was found swimming in the sewer, and a few gator sightings have occurred in NYC since then. They’re likely escaped pets or boat passengers from warmer climates that fell into the water and got lost. Relax--they’re extremely rare and you won’t see one crawling out of your drainpipe anytime soon.
The myth: You can get arrested for manspreading
True. Well, sort of. Cops don’t troll subway cars looking for manspreaders to cart off to jail, but it is against the MTA’s code of conduct--two men who had outstanding warrants recently wound up in jail after taking up more than one seat on a crowded train.
The myth: The penthouse at 57 W. 57th St. is haunted
Uh, true? This duplex penthouse in the Medical Arts Building has a gruesome backstory. Edna Crawford Champion, the wife of the guy who invented spark plugs, purchased the property for her young lover after they killed her husband together. After their subsequent (and also violent) deaths, new residents reported sounds of high heels clicking and arguing at all hours of the night--one tenant reportedly disappeared, while another was sent to an insane asylum after trying to live there.
The myth: Dropping a penny from the Empire State Building could kill someone
False. The guys at Mythbusters tried it, and even if you poured a whole pocketful of change off the observation deck, you wouldn’t be a murderer. Air molecules slow down pennies and other small objects before they reach the ground. Getting hit might be annoying, but you definitely won’t get hurt or die.
The myth: Ice-skate at Wollman Rink and you’ll see the ghost of two Victorian sisters
Inconclusive. Janet and Rosetta Van Der Voort had NYC’s original helicopter parents--as children, they weren’t allowed to leave their Central Park South apartment alone, except to go ice-skating at the 59th Street pond. After dying as spinsters, their ghosts have allegedly been spotted skating together, all decked out in red and purple Victorian garb. Keep rocking the fabulous fashion, ladies.