All New Yorkers used to have to move on May 1st if their lease expired. It was known as “Moving Day” which led to massive traffic jams.
The Brooklyn Dodgers name stems from a nickname given in the 1890s to people who, in a matter of life and death, had to evade railcars speeding down the streets. They were known as trolley dodgers. Trolleys were new inventions, which led to two issues. First, cities lacked the safety infrastructure which protects pedestrians today (e.g. well-delineated pedestrian paths which minimize intersection with traffic to deliberately designed, high-visibility crossings). Second, trolleys were much faster than the alternatives with which people were accustomed (horse carriages), and so folks were much less prepared to deal with them safely.
The Statue of Liberty was originally proposed and built to be placed on the mouth of The Suez Canal. The project was initially scrapped, after a lack of funds. And later on, sent to the USA as a gift after successful procurement of funds.
A 1968 NYC sanitation strike brought the city to its knees in 6 days. A 1970 Irish banker strike had no effect on the economy for 6 months.
In the 1980s, teenagers in New York would jam the token turnstiles for the subway and suck out the tokens with their mouths so they could use them later. To combat this, employees sprinkled chilli powder or spray mace on the slots and see if they noticed anyone with red lips.
There is a neighborhood called “The Hole” in NYC. It has no streetlights, sidewalks, or sewers, and it sits 12 feet below the surrounding area (hence the name). It was once home to a farming town, black cowboys, the mob, until finally earning the reputation of the worst neighborhood in NYC.
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”.
100 years ago, motorised kick scooters like todays ”Bird“ scooters, were already a thing. They were foldable, had a top speed of 15 mph and were used by New York gangs as getaway vehicles.