The 50 Craziest Facts about NYC

NYC is home to roughly 1 out of every 38 Americans—but did you know it’s also the birthplace of the ice cream cone? With its culturally diverse population, New York City boasts a storied history unlike that of any other city. Check out these 50 obscure, fascinating, and downright strange NYC facts.

The 50 Craziest Facts about NYC
Text version
  1. There's a ZIP Code exclusively for the Empire State Building.

  2. With +800 spoken languages, NYC boasts more linguistic diversity than any other city.

  3. NYC's coastline is 520 miles. That's larger than the coastlines of Miami, Boston, LA, and SF combined!

  4. In 1975, someone bought a private island in the East River for a measly $10.

  5. Dutch colonial structures from 1642 are visible through a glass floor in the Financial District.

  6. NYC was the US's first-ever capital, enjoying the title for five years.

  7. Millionaires account for 1 out of every 21 New Yorkers.

  8. New York City is home to America's first pizzeria, Lombardi's, opened in 1905.

  9. NYC is home to roughly 1 out of every 38 Americans.

  10. The city has a literal gold digger, who makes +$600 weekly scouring sidewalk cracks for gold.

  11. Rather than search for a bathroom, some Times Square New Year's participants wear adult diapers.

  12. NYC boasts a total of 13,000 of its famous yellow taxis.

  13. The first item sent through the New York City Post Office's pneumatic tube system was a live cat.

  14. NYC's water supply is home to copepods, invisible and harmless crustaceans.

  15. At just barely 9 feet wide, 75 1/2 Bedford Street is NYC's narrowest house.

  16. NYC makes $120 million a year from the +7,000 parking tickets given to delivery trucks daily.

  17. The capital of New York State is not NYC but rather Albany.

  18. The unclaimed deceased in NYC are buried on an island known as Hart Island.

  19. You're 10 times more likely to be bitten by a New Yorker than a shark.

  20. Central Park is larger in area than the world's second-smallest nation, Monaco.

  21. If it were its own city, Brooklyn would be the fourth-largest city in the US. The same goes for Queens.

  22. Until the 1950s or so, people were allowed to move in NYC only on May 1.

  23. All lined up, NYC's subway tracks would stretch 722 miles in total.

  24. Leasing the space for a hot dog stand in Manhattan can cost as much as $362,000 per year.

  25. The population of NYC alone exceeds that of 39 US states.

  26. Until 1978, Pinball was banned in NYC, and the NYPD even orchestrated busts.

  27. The NY Federal Bank Reserve's vaults hold up to 25% of the world's gold bars.

  28. Park Avenue features a grate-covered 15-story hole between 36th and 37th streets.

  29. 33 Thomas Street is a windowless skyscraper that can withstand nuclear fallout for 14 days.

  30. Only 40 (mega-rich) people in NYC live at an elevation above 800 feet.

  31. NYC's subway system is home to over 15,150 different life forms.

  32. Times Square accounts for 10% of NYC's jobs and 11% of its economic output.

  33. In NYC, you can find more than 6,000 high-rise buildings and 237 skyscrapers.

  34. Farting in a New York City church is a misdemeanor.

  35. If Texas had the same population density as NYC, the global population could fit in its borders.

  36. The Naked Cowboy, a Times Square performer, is estimated to rake in about $150,000 per year.

  37. Butt dials account for about 38% of New Yorkers' 911 calls.

  38. Washington Square, Madison Square, Bryant, and Union Square Parks were all formerly graveyards.

  39. To boost World War I recruitment, the Navy constructed a fully staffed ship right in the center of NYC.

  40. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel harbors a secret train platform.

  41. In 1884, 21 elephants were paraded across the Brooklyn Bridge to demonstrate its stability.

  42. Over half of NYC's crosswalk buttons haven't functioned since the late 1980s.

  43. English is not the primary language of half of New Yorkers.

  44. The Dutch purchased what is current-day Manhattan for about $1,000, adjusted for inflation.

  45. Skyscrapers are mostly in Midtown and Lower Manhattan because of the area's strong bedrock.

  46. NYC is the birthplace of the ice cream cone, eggs Benedict, and pasta primavera.

  47. NYC boasts over 3 million foreign-born residents, with more than 25% having arrived since 2000.

  48. In 1993, a 16-year-old illegally drove a subway train for more than 3 hours before he was caught.

  49. For 50 years, the cost of a slice of pizza in NYC and a subway ride have been roughly the same.

  50. Brooklyn has a superhero supply store with a cape fitting room and an invisibility testing center.