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20 Facts About New York City

Updated on March 31, 2017
New York is one of the most famous metropolises in the world and the USA's most densely populated major city.  A vibrant and cosmopolitan place, NYC is famous for its restaurants which draw in food styles from around the world.
New York is one of the most famous metropolises in the world and the USA's most densely populated major city. A vibrant and cosmopolitan place, NYC is famous for its restaurants which draw in food styles from around the world. | Source

One of the world's most iconic cities, New York is a favorite destination for many in the USA and around the world. Also known as "The Big Apple", the city has an interesting history, beginning as cow pasture before evolving into one of the world's biggest financial, cultural, and diplomatic hubs.

Historically, the city is the premier gateway for immigrants to the USA, many passing through Ellis Island before international flights became common. There are many famous landmarks in NYC, with perhaps the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building being the most famous.

Below are my facts regarding this vibrant and cosmopolitan city.

1. Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. In 1898 the boroughs were consolidated into one city.

NYC is made of five boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx.  Out of the five boroughs, Manhattan.  is the smallest geographically but also the most densely populated.  Brooklyn is at the Western tip of Long Island.
NYC is made of five boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx. Out of the five boroughs, Manhattan. is the smallest geographically but also the most densely populated. Brooklyn is at the Western tip of Long Island. | Source

2. The city was originally called New Amsterdam. Many of the original European inhabitants were Dutch colonists fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

3. It was the nation's first capital, lasting from 1789 to 1790.

4. It is the most densely populated major city in the USA with over eight and a half million people living there.

With a population of over eight and a half million, New York is the most densely packed major city in the USA.  Manhattan has the most people living there, out of all the boroughs, despite being the smallest out of the five.
With a population of over eight and a half million, New York is the most densely packed major city in the USA. Manhattan has the most people living there, out of all the boroughs, despite being the smallest out of the five. | Source

5. The subway system is the world's largest rapid transit system (measured by the length of routes and number of stations).

6. There are around 50,000 homeless people living in the city.

7. The headquarters of the United Nations is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan.

The United Nations HQ is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, overlooking the East River.  Flags of the member states are arranged in alphabetical order outside.  NYC is a major center for international diplomacy.
The United Nations HQ is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, overlooking the East River. Flags of the member states are arranged in alphabetical order outside. NYC is a major center for international diplomacy. | Source

8. It has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia

The Statue of Liberty is one of New York City's most famous landmarks.  A famous symbol of democracy and the USA, the statue has greeted millions of immigrants as they arrived by ship from across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Statue of Liberty is one of New York City's most famous landmarks. A famous symbol of democracy and the USA, the statue has greeted millions of immigrants as they arrived by ship from across the Atlantic Ocean. | Source

9. The first American pizzeria opened in the city in 1895.

10. Except in cases of emergency, it is actually illegal to honk your car horn in NYC.

A little known fact is that it is actually illegal to honk your car horn in NYC, except in cases of emergency.  A law that is regularly broken.  Manhattan rightly has a reputation for being a tough place to drive.
A little known fact is that it is actually illegal to honk your car horn in NYC, except in cases of emergency. A law that is regularly broken. Manhattan rightly has a reputation for being a tough place to drive. | Source

11. It has the largest Jewish population of anywhere in the world outside Israel.

12. Between 1886 to 1924, more than 14 million immigrants entered the United States via New York harbor.

13. According to records, the coldest day in New York history was Februry 9th, 1943, when the temperature dropped to 15 degrees below zero.

In cold months the city is prone to temperature drops and blizzards.  In the the winter of 1934 for instance. It was so cold the Raritan Bay's shipping channel froze over, allowing people to skate from Staten Island to New Jersey.
In cold months the city is prone to temperature drops and blizzards. In the the winter of 1934 for instance. It was so cold the Raritan Bay's shipping channel froze over, allowing people to skate from Staten Island to New Jersey. | Source

14. It is the most linguistically diverse city in the USA. More than four out of ten households speak a non-English language and there are over 800 languages used.

15. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, were the worst single foreign assault on American soil. 2,753 people died in the attack, including many firefighters.

The internationally important and skyscraper crowded Financial District of New York City is situated in the Lower Manhattan area.  The famous Wall Street, and the two stock exchanges (the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ) can be found here also.
The internationally important and skyscraper crowded Financial District of New York City is situated in the Lower Manhattan area. The famous Wall Street, and the two stock exchanges (the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ) can be found here also. | Source

16. The Empire State Building was the world's tallest structure when building was completed in 1931 and remained so for almost forty years. After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001, the skyscraper became once again the tallest building in New York until One World Trade Center exceeded its height in April 2012. It is currently the 5th tallest (finished) skyscraper in the USA and the 34th tallest in the world.

Designed in an Art Deco style, the Empire State Building is an American cultural icon.  It has been visited by 110 milliion people, many of whom came to experience the stunning views of Manhattan available via the building's viewing platforms.
Designed in an Art Deco style, the Empire State Building is an American cultural icon. It has been visited by 110 milliion people, many of whom came to experience the stunning views of Manhattan available via the building's viewing platforms. | Source

17. An estimated sixty percent of cigarettes sold in the city are illegally smuggled in from other states.

18. The city buries its unclaimed bodies on Hart Island, which is situated off the coast of the Bronx. Almost a million bodies have been buried there since 1869.

19. Manhattan's Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions. It attracts around 50 million visitors each year. An estimated 330,000 people pass through each day.

Known as Longacre Square until 1904, when it was renamed, Times Square is located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.  Its nicknames include "The Crossroads of the World", and  "The Center of the Universe".
Known as Longacre Square until 1904, when it was renamed, Times Square is located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Its nicknames include "The Crossroads of the World", and "The Center of the Universe". | Source

20. Manhattan was occupied by the Lenape people, when the European colonists first arrived. The name "Manhattan" comes from "Manna-hata", meaning the "island of many hills" in the Lenape language.

Businessman and politician, Donald Trump was born and raised in Queens.  Trump took charge of the family business, The Trump Organization and ran it for four and a half decades.  In 2017 he became the 45th president of the United States.
Businessman and politician, Donald Trump was born and raised in Queens. Trump took charge of the family business, The Trump Organization and ran it for four and a half decades. In 2017 he became the 45th president of the United States. | Source

20 Famous People From New York City

  1. Richard Feynman - Physicist
  2. Billy Joel - Musician
  3. Christina Aguillera - Pop Singer
  4. Theodore Roosevelt - Politician
  5. Franklin Roosevelt - Politician
  6. Al Capone - Gangster
  7. Robert De Nero - Actor
  8. Jerry Seinfeld - Comedian/Actor
  9. Michael Jordan - Basketball Player
  10. Eddie Murphy - Comedian/Actor
  11. Billy the Kid - Wild West Outlaw
  12. Lady Gaga - Pop Singer
  13. Donald Trump - Businessman/Politician
  14. Woody Allen - Comedian/Actor/Movie Producer
  15. Sean Combs - Rapper
  16. Whoopi Goldberg - Actress
  17. Anderson Cooper - News Presenter/Journalist
  18. 50 Cent - Rapper
  19. Lil' Kim - Rapper
  20. Humphrey Bogart - Actor

Movie legend Humphrey Bogart was born on Christmas Day, 1899, in New York City.  After being expelled from the Phillips Academy, and a spell in the navy, Bogart went on to appear in movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Big Sleep
Movie legend Humphrey Bogart was born on Christmas Day, 1899, in New York City. After being expelled from the Phillips Academy, and a spell in the navy, Bogart went on to appear in movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Big Sleep | Source

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    • profile image

      mplo28 3 months ago

      Neat!

    • Travel-Wise profile image

      Travel-Wise 6 months ago

      These are great facts - New York is such a fascinating city! Thanks for sharing :D

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 6 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting.