The Statue of Liberty almost wasn’t built in New York because the governor wouldn’t use city funds to build its pedestal, but Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper articles inspired 160,000 people to donate. Though a majority of donations were less than $1, they raised over $100,000 in just five months.
The first doughnut machine was made in 1920 to meet the demand for doughnuts as a breakfast food item following WW 1. Adolph Levitt, a Jewish refugee who came to America fleeing czarist Russia, designed the machine and began selling fried doughnuts from his Harlem bakery in NYC.
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.
New York’s underground gay bars of the 1960’s (including the Stonewall Inn) were actually created and supported by the Mafia. It was illegal to be gay. The mob paid off local precincts to keep them from doing raids.
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.
Wall Street was named after a 12-foot wall that was built by the 17th-century citizens of New Amsterdam to discourage pirate attacks.
Back when the NYC Subway used tokens, people called “token suckers” would jam token slots with paper and suck out stuck tokens with their mouths. To prevent this, some attendants would sprinkle chili powder into the slots.