New York City in the 70s was known as “Fear City” and a very blunt tourist notice was displayed in order to keep tourists from ending up in dangerous situations.
In New York subways, booth attendants would sprinkle chili powder in coin slots to stop people from “coin sucking”.
The design of the tallest residential building in the world, 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, is inspired by a trash can.
Wall Street was named after a 12-foot wall that was built by the 17th-century citizens of New Amsterdam to discourage pirate attacks.
Towers in New York can fake and exaggerate how many floors they have, using tricks like different sets of elevators to hide the missing floors.
NY City used to use hollowed out trees as water mains in the early 19th Century. A working example was still connected to the city water lines as late as 2006.
In NYC there is a pizza sized plot of land sitting in the middle of a sidewalk. As a result of a surveying error, it was left as part of an estate. The heirs refused to donate the plot of land to NYC, instead putting a mosaic on the plot in 1922. The mosaic is still there, surrounded by sidewalk.
There are four times as many abandoned housing units as homeless in New York City.
Early NYC dive bars had no glasses, only barrels of booze connected to rubber tubes. For three cents you were allowed to drink till you ran out of breath.
There are NYC taxis that are actually undercover cop cars.