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20 Interesting Facts About New York City

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

New York City is the most populous, and the most densely populated, city in the United States of America. In fact, New York City is at the centre of the New York metropolitan area, which is the largest metropolitan area globally in terms of urban landmass. The city can trace its beginnings to a trading post established by Dutch colonists in 1624 on Lower Manhattan. However, despite all we might think we know about this fantastic cosmopolitan metropolis, New York still continues to surprise us. Here are 20 interesting facts about New York you might not know.

Linguistically diverse city

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As 37% of New Yorkers are immigrants, this has resulted in more than 800 languages being spoken in the metropolis! For instance, the five miles from Astoria to Forest Hills are densely interspersed with languages: Greek, Filipino, Urdu, Indonesian, Russian, Japanese, Lithuanian, and others, including more obscure ones like Chavacano, Waray-Waray, Minangkabau, and Bukharian. As a result, different ethnic enclaves are established throughout the city.

High costs of living

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Time to start using that piggy bank! The average rent price for a one-bedroom in Manhattan is presently around an astonishing $3400 USD per month! In comparison, one can easily find similar accommodations in Greece for about $350-400 USD a month. A disclaimer though – this is the average price of all rentals combined. High rentals here are due to the convenience afforded to people living in New York, where entertainment, food, shopping and transportation are a stone’s throw away from most locations.

There’s still lots to do, for free!

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Even though New York is known for its high cost of living as mentioned previously, there are still multiple things that locals and tourists alike can do for fun! Such activities include walking across Brooklyn Bridge (originally the longest suspension bridge in the world when it first opened in 1883), riding the Staten Island Ferry as pictured above, and visiting buildings like Grand Central Station & Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

Easy to navigate

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Although Manhattan seems to be very confusing to get around with so many skyscrapers in the concrete jungle, Manhattan is divided into numbered streets from north to south and avenues from east to west – making most places easily accessible. Buses are handy for navigating around Manhattan, as is the subway, which is an excellent transportation mode to other boroughs. Also, don’t forget to try out the famous yellow taxis of New York!

A City of Museums

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New York boasts an impressive array of museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) which has America’s largest art museum and is the fourth-most visited art museum globally; the Guggenheim Museum which boasts numerous renowned modern and contemporary exhibits displayed through semi-permanent thematic exhibitions. On another note, the American Museum of Natural History is also widely renowned.

Home to the world’s most famous city-centre park

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Central Park is the 5th-largest urban park in New York City, covering 341 hectares. 38 million people visit it annually, making it the most visited park in the USA. Furthermore, it is the most filmed location in the world. Highlights within the park include:

1. Sheep's Meadow: A massive meadow that is perfect for relaxing and taking in the picturesque scenery. 2. The Lake: Where one can try out rowing boats. 3. The Rambles: A thickly forested woodland which distinguishes it from the rest of the park 4. Strawberry Fields: The tribute to John Lennon

Pizza Principle

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New York City is home to Lombardi’s, the first pizzeria in the United States which opened in 1895. It still serves one of the best pizzas in America. In fact, the pizza in New York is special because the price of a pizza slice and a single subway ride has remained relatively equal for more than 5 decades, resulting in what economists call “The Pizza Principle.”

Breaking Wind in Church

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Fascinatingly, farting in a church could result in a misdemeanour. This is because there is a law that states that a person is guilty of disruption or disturbance of a religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service “when he or she makes unreasonable noise or disturbance while at a lawfully assembled religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service, or within one hundred feet thereof, with intent to cause annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof.”

New York’s Taxis

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Despite yellow cabs being one of the most recognisable symbols of New York City, the first gasoline-powered cab company which was established in 1907, actually used red and green cars. Even more surprisingly, yellow cabs were used elsewhere in America before New York adopted the colour in 1912. Speaking of cabs, when hailing one, try and get one on an avenue that's going in the same direction you are. Also, always remember to tip the taxi driver at least 15%.

Cowboy Patrols