12 Little-Known Facts About New York City

The nature of New York City is made up of many nuances and bits of history that have made it the living, breathing marvelous beast that it is. Some facts of its background are a little unsettling, others just weird, and others are ones that you’d totally expect. One thing that’s evident is that there’s no place like NYC, and these facts just add to the city’s character – one that’s unique, to put it mildly…

Here are 12 facts about NYC that span from uptown to downtown.



Island of the Dead

Off the coast of the Bronx, there’s a small island called Hart Island that exclusively houses unclaimed bodies. Since 1869, nearly one million bodies have been collected to permanently lay at rest on this island.



Tiny House

little-known facts new york cityThe West Village is home to the narrowest house in the city, located at 75 1/2 Bedford Street. It’s a whopping 9 feet wide.



Ghost Station

18th Street Station, now abandoned, lasted only from 1908 to 1948, and was once a stop on the 4/5/6 lines. You can still spot its remains from the local 6 train.



Sign of the Times

Times Square is named after the New York Times. Before it was called Times Square, it was Longacre Square until the New York Times claimed it in 1904.



A Harsh Commute

In the winter of 1780, New Yorkers had to walk to work, or rather tiptoe… because the city streets were frozen over during what’s considered the harshest winter in its history.



Parks With a Past

Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Bryant Park all used to be cemeteries.



United States of Brooklyn

little-known facts new york cityIf Brooklyn were its own independent city, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States.


Walls for Days

33 Thomas Street is a skyscraper in Manhattan that has no windows. None, zip. It’s floor-to-ceiling walls. The ominous structure is said to host secret NSA activity.


New Yorker Sighted: Swim At Your Own Risk

little-known facts new york cityNew Yorkers bite 10 times more people a year than sharks do. Proceed with caution.


Underground Ecosystem

There are reported to be over 15,000 organisms found on the NYC subway. Some include bacteria, bugs, pizza-eating rats, and hyper-caffeinated humans.


Concrete Garden

Rockefeller Center wasn’t always a mega-plaza. It used to be Elgin Botanic Garden.


Pearl of the Sea

little-known facts new york cityFolks in the Big Apple really like their oysters. There used to be so many at one point in time, their shells were used to pave Pearl Street.


Which fact is the most interesting to you?


Sources: BuzzFeed; NYC Dept. of Planning; List 25; AMNY; Fact Retriever

Image Credits: Preston & Child; Wikimapia; Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

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