In 1906 Eleanor Roosevelt bought a chicken-wire cage for hanging from the window of her New York City townhouse for first child, Anna, to nap in—a practice known as “airing” for city dwelling children.
Essentially, the thinking was that this was part of a process to toughen up the babies, and make them better able to withstand common colds. It was believed that exposing infants to cold temperatures—both outside and through cold-water bathing—would grant them a certain immunity to catching minor illnesses.
In 1896, New York passed a law that alcohol could only be served on Sunday if it was with a meal. New York taverns then started “selling” inedible sandwiches (served with a drink). The waiter would collect the sandwich at the end of the meal, and serve it the next customer.
Until 1996, NYPD cars were painted blue. They phased out the blue cars in favor of factory white, resulting in a $1 million savings. Light blue shirts were replaced with dark blue to “hide coffee and donut stains”.
In the 1930s New York city planner Robert Moses deliberately built a number of bridges really low so that only cars could go under it – so as to prevent blacks (who mostly used public transport) from visiting New York’s ‘pristine’ beaches.
Back when NYC subways ran on tokens people would jam the slots with paper so they could suck the tokens out with their mouths. This was referred to as “Token Sucking” and some token booth attendants even tried to deter this crime by sprinkling chili powder in the slots.