Here is part 2 of Interesting Facts About NYC. For part 1, click here.

1-5 Interesting Facts About NYC

Hot dog vendor

1. There is a New York City hot dog vendor who pays $289,000/year for his location. – Source

2. There are four times as many abandoned housing units as homeless in New York City. – Source

3. In 1916, due to a compressed air leak, a worker in a subway tunnel under New York City’s East River was blown out of the tunnel, through the mud at the bottom of the river, up through the water, and 25 feet or so into the air. He received no serious injury. – Source

4. Most New York City apartment buildings are six stories tall because the water reservoirs for the city provide just enough pressure to get water six stories up. Above that you need a water tank on top of the building. – Source

5. Chinese mathematician Yitang Zhang could not get an academic job upon graduating, having to work as an accountant and a delivery worker for a New York City restaurant. He later went on to solve a math problem that had been unsolved for 150 years and won a MacArthur Genius Grant – Source

6-10 Interesting Facts About NYC

Windowless Skyscrapper

6. There is a 550 foot skyscraper in New York City with no windows. It was built to withstand the fallout of a nuclear blast for up to 2 weeks. – Source

7. 800 different languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city on Earth. – Source

8. 7 schools in New York City look exactly the same, apparently because they only had money for 1 set of blueprints. – Source

9. “Gotham”, as a nickname for New York City, was coined by Washington Irving in 1807 and literally means “Goat’s Town”. – Source

10. If you die homeless or with no money in New York City, you are buried by prisoners on Hart Island in a mass grave, up to 1000 per grave for children and 50 for adults, with the exception of Special Baby number 1, the first baby to die of AIDS. – Source

11-15 Interesting Facts About NYC

Hess triangle

11. In 1914 Daniel Hess refused to sell the last bit of his property to the city of New York after the rest his property had been seized via eminent domain, and today it remains on the sidewalk with a tile that reads “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes” – Source

12. In the 80s, New York City was terrorized by a street gang called the Decepticons. They had names like Megatron and Soundwave and they called Brooklyn “Cybertron.” – Source

13. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 crosswalk buttons in New York City function essentially as mechanical placebos. They haven’t worked since the late 1980’s. – Source

14. New York City homeowners can request that a tree be planted outside their homes for free. – Source

15. November 28, 2012 was the most peaceful day New York City ever had. It was without a single reported murder, shooting, stabbing or other incident of violent crime. – Source

16-20 Interesting Facts About NYC

Empire State Building

16. After the Empire State Building opened in New York City in 1931, much of its office space went unrented. It was nicknamed the “Empty State Building” by New Yorkers and didn’t become profitable until 1950. – Source

17. When an architecture student alerted engineers that a New York City skyscraper might collapse in an upcoming storm (Hurricane Ella), the city kept it secret then reinforced the building overnight (while police developed a ten-block evacuation plan). – Source

18. Until WWII, almost everyone who rented an apartment in New York City had to move on the same day every year. – Source

19. New Amsterdam was given to the Duke of York in 1664 as an 18th birthday present from his father. He then renamed the city New York. – Source

20. One of the aqueducts that provides half of New York City’s water leaks 35 million gallons a day, enough water to supply nearly half a million people a day. The fix will cost $1.5 billion and won’t be done until 2021. – Source

21-25 Interesting Facts About NYC

Organ grinder monkeys

21. After numerous complaints about the sometimes vicious creatures, New York City authorities finally banned organ grinder monkeys from the streets in 1887. – Source

22. Madison Square Garden has not paid property taxes since 1982 because a 10-year tax abatement was inadvertently made perpetual due to a clerical error. This has cost New York City (and saved MSG) about $200 million. – Source

23. Robert Moses, the extremely powerful New York City urban planner, hated the idea of poor people lowering the tone at the seaside, so he built low bridges over his parkways to ensure that only cars, not buses, could make the trip. – Source

24. Back when the New York City Subway used tokens, people called “token suckers” would jam token slots with paper and suck out stuck tokens with their mouths. To prevent this, some attendants would sprinkle chili powder into the slots. – Source

25. Nixon deployed 25,000 soldiers to New York City in 1970 to deliver mail after carriers went on strike. – Source

26-30 Interesting Facts About NYC

Wall Street Bombing

26. In 1920 a horse-drawn wagon filled with explosives was blown up on Wall Street in New York City, killing 38 people and injuring hundreds. The perpetrators were never caught. – Source

27. Grand Central Terminal in New York City has a ‘Whispering Gallery’, where people can stand at opposite diagonal corners and whisper to each other across the room. – Source

28. Pinball was banned in NYC as a gambling device until 1976, when Roger Sharpe testified by playing pinball in the courtroom while calling out precisely what he was going to shoot for and scoring, showing that it’s a game of skill and not chance. – Source

29. In 1882, a house, 5 feet wide, 4 stories high and 104 feet deep was erected on Lexington Ave, NYC to “spite” the neighbor, and block his views. It was known as “Spite House”. – Source

30. The ubiquitous voice of NYC subway announcements lives in Maine. Her name is Carolyn Hopkins and she is also the voice of 200 different airports. – Source

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Countries, Fact List, USA,

Last Update: October 3, 2016

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