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The Quirky Metropolis: 30 Weird and Wonderful Facts About New York City

Reynold Aquino

New York City, a bustling metropolis often referred to as "The Big Apple," is renowned for its iconic skyline, diverse culture, and vibrant history. However, beneath the surface of this world-famous city lie countless peculiarities and lesser-known facts that add to its unique charm. In this article, we delve into the quirky side of New York City, revealing 30 bizarre, intriguing, and sometimes unbelievable tidbits that will have even the most seasoned New Yorkers raising their eyebrows. So, whether you're a local or just visiting, join us as we explore the strange and fascinating secrets that make this city one-of-a-kind.

30 Weird and Wonderful Facts About New York City

  1. Manhattan was purchased from Native Americans for goods worth about $24 in 1626.
  2. New York City was briefly the capital of the United States, from 1785 to 1790.
  3. There is a hidden train platform beneath the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
  4. New York City's skyline has over 6,000 completed high-rise buildings.
  5. The Empire State Building has its own zip code: 10118.
  6. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York contains about 6,500 tons of gold in its vaults.
  7. The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York in 350 separate pieces.
  8. The Brooklyn Bridge was initially intended to be called the "New York and Brooklyn Bridge."
  9. There are approximately 280 miles of underground subway tracks in the city.
  10. The New York Public Library has over 50 million items, making it the third-largest library in the world.
  11. Over 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city on the planet.
  12. The city has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities.
  13. The Flatiron Building was originally called the Fuller Building.
  14. In 1930, there were over 1,000 active speakeasies in New York City during Prohibition.
  15. There's a tiny plot of land called the Hess Triangle, which measures just 500 square inches, in Greenwich Village.
  16. A pneumatic tube mail system operated under the streets of New York City from 1897 to 1953.
  17. The city is home to the world's largest collection of Chinese restaurants outside of Asia.
  18. New York City has a "Pizza Principle," where the price of a single subway token has historically been roughly equal to the price of a slice of pizza.
  19. There are more than 13,000 licensed taxi cabs in the city.
  20. The narrowest house in the city is located at 75 1/2 Bedford Street, measuring only 9.5 feet wide.
  21. The Times Square "Ball Drop" tradition began in 1907 as a fireworks display, but the ball was introduced in 1908.
  22. The entire state of Montana has fewer people than the borough of Brooklyn.
  23. It is illegal to honk your car horn in New York City, except in emergencies.
  24. New York City has its own indigenous species of ant, called the "ManhattAnt."
  25. The first pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi's, opened in New York City in 1905.
  26. The oldest building in New York City, the Wyckoff House, dates back to 1652.
  27. There is a secret, windowless skyscraper at 33 Thomas Street, which is rumored to be an NSA surveillance site.
  28. The term "The Big Apple" originally referred to horse racing and was popularized by a sports reporter in the 1920s.
  29. Central Park was designed in 1858 and took over 15 years to complete.
  30. The 102nd floor of the Empire State Building was originally designed as a docking station for airships.

As we delve into these fascinating tidbits, both locals and visitors alike will gain a deeper appreciation for the hidden secrets and remarkable stories that make New York City truly one-of-a-kind.


  1. NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. (n.d.). History of Parks. Retrieved from
  2. New York Public Library. (n.d.). About NYPL. Retrieved from
  3. The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. (n.d.). Statue History. Retrieved from


  1. Shorto, R. (2005). The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. Vintage Books.
  2. Goldfield, D., & Blum, D. (2014). The Empire State Building: A History of New York City's Iconic Landmark. Yale University Press.
  3. Jackson, K. T. (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). Yale University Press and New-York Historical Society.
  4. Burrows, E. G., & Wallace, M. (1999). Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. Oxford University Press.
  5. Roberts, S. (2019). A History of New York in 27 Buildings: The 400-Year Untold Story of an American Metropolis. Bloomsbury Publishing.

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Hi there! My name is Reynold Aquino and I am a passionate writer and traveler. I have always had a love for the written word and enjoy expressing myself through writing. In my free time, you can find me either planning my next adventure or trying out new restaurants and cuisines. I believe that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and I try to make the most of every moment. Whether I am exploring a new city or penning a new story, I am always seeking new experiences and challenges. I hope to inspire others to follow their passions and seek out new adventures, just like I do.


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