To kick off the holiday season all around America, after
New York City has a rich and vibrant history. While this list barely scratches the service of the bizarre, funny, heartbreaking and unexpected things that can happen when tens of millions of people inhabit a densely populated tiny space, just absorbing a few of these information nuggets will make it clear: New York City is one helluva town.
1. The price of a slice of pizza and a single ride on the subway has been almost equal for the past 50 years.
2. McSorley’s, the oldest Irish ale house in NYC, didn’t allow women entry until 1970.
3. NYC is home to the first U.S. pizzeria, opened in 1897 at Lombardi’s.
4. It now costs $1 million to get a license, or “medallion,” to drive a taxi in NYC.
5. A one-year hot dog stand permit in Central Park can cost up to $289,500.
6. Sixty percent of cigarettes sold in NYC are illegally smuggled.
7. Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Bryant Park were once used as cemeteries.
8. After the hurricane of 1893, Hog Island, a one-mile-long island south of Rockaway Beach, was never seen again.
9. On Nov. 28, 2012, not a single murder, shooting, stabbing, or incident of violent crime was reported in NYC.
10. One of the first acts of domestic terrorism was in 1920. A horse-drawn carriage filled with explosives detonated on Wall Street killing 30 people. No one was ever caught.
11. Pinball was banned in the city until 1978. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia would have police officers raid machines, smash them with hammers and dump in the city river.
12. Toilet paper was invented in 1857 by Joseph C. Gayetty in NYC.
13. Times Square is named after the New York Times and was originally called Longacre Square until 1904.
14. NYC has the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel.
15. When the Dutch first arrived in New York, Manhattan was covered in massive oyster beds. Ellis Island and Liberty Island were once named Little Oyster and Big Oyster Island.
16. Though the idea would be incomprehensible and barbaric today, in 1906, the Bronx Zoo put a human being, a Congolese pygmy named Ota Beng, on display in the “Monkey House.”
17. In 1780, winter was so cold in New York that New York harbor froze over. People were able to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island on the ice.