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.
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
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
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.
Rockefeller Center wasn’t always a mega-plaza. It used to be Elgin Botanic Garden.
Pearl of the Sea
Which fact is the most interesting to you?
Image Credits: Preston & Child; Wikimapia; Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation