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Surprising facts about New York City

14 Sep, 2022
Surprising facts about New York City

New York’s starring role in so many films and tv series might make it feel like one of the most familiar and well-known cities on the planet. Here, we explore some of the fascinating facts that could, nevertheless, still surprise you about this iconic US city!

1. Central Park is bigger than Monaco.

Measuring 843 acres, Central Park is larger in land mass than the principality of Monaco, which is just under 500 acres large. The perimeter of the park stretches six miles and contains within it twenty-six baseball fields, seven bodies of water, and fifty-eight miles of pathways.

2.The cost of a slice of pizza and a subway ride are almost always the same.

Since the 1960s, the price of a slice of pizza has been virtually the same price as that of a single subway ride. This strange phenomenon is known as the “Pizza Principle” to economists.

3. New York City is home to a quarter of the world’s gold.

25% of the world’s gold is vaulted in the Federal Reserve Bank located on Liberty Street in the Financial District.

4. The Statue of Liberty has a full name.

Whilst the 131-year-old attraction may most commonly be known as the Statue of Liberty, its full name is actually 'Liberty Enlightening the World'.

The statue was a gift from France to America in 1886 and the robed female figure represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. She holds a torch and tablet upon which is inscribed the date of American Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776).

5. In a pioneering environmental scheme, old New York subway cars were put into the ocean.

To date, over 2,500 decommissioned New York subway cars have been used to create an underwater reef for crustaceans and fish in the Atlantic.

The project, run by New York's Metropolitan transit authority, ended in 2010, but the cars have a new life beneath the sea.

6. New York City has 14 miles of beaches.


While New York may be more commonly associated with bustling squares and subways than sand and surf, it is in fact home to a range of beaches - 14 miles worth in total! One of the most popular beach areas is Coney Island, a peninsular neighborhood which is located on the southwestern part of Brooklyn.

7. New York is one of the “greenest” places in the country.

Despite being referred to as the ‘concrete jungle’ in times gone by, New York is actually a very environmentally friendly city. Because so many New Yorkers use public transportation, it has the lowest level of car ownership in the US. Its dense population also means most people live in apartment blocks, which are considered more energy-efficient than individual houses. The city also has more land devoted to parks than almost any other in the US, including the unique High Line, a park set on an abandoned elevated railway trestle.

8. A third of New Yorkers are born outside of the US.

One out of every three New York City residents today is foreign born, which makes the city extraordinarily vibrant and diverse. While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages! This makes it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

9. The city has long been a ‘melting pot’ of cultures and ethnicities.

New York’s diverse character is not new. It is thought that about 40% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to New York’s Ellis Island. Between 1886 and 1924, over 14 million immigrants entered the United States through New York Harbor.

10. The first European settlers in New York were Dutch.

Until 1898, the city was actually known as New Amsterdam. That changed when it was gifted to the Duke of York on his 18th birthday, and he decided to rename it New York.

11. New York taxis were originally red and green, not yellow.

The yellow cab is one of the most iconic symbols of New York City, but the first gasoline-powered cab company, founded in 1907, actually used red and green cars. In fact, yellow cabs were first used in a number of other cities throughout the US before they were adopted by New York in 1912.

12. JFK airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport.

Idlewild was a developer's name for a resort and later golf club on Jamaica Bay. It provided the unofficial name for the airport being planned in the 1940s. The name was originally a source of dispute between the City Council and Mayor LaGuardia, but when president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in December 1963, it was decided that the airport should be named in his honor.

13.Despite its size and international renown, New York City is not the capital of New York State.

New York State’s capital city is actually Albany, not New York as you may expect. Another interesting fact relating to country and state capitals is that from 1789 to 1790, New York City actually was the capital of the United States.

14. Times Square in New York City is named after the newspaper “New York Times”.

This iconic and bustling New York square was originally called “Longacre Square” . The name was changed when the New York Times moved there in 1904.

15. It is home to a city within a city.

Unbelievably, if Brooklyn – one of New York’s five boroughs – were its own city, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States!

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