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.
The steam iconically shooting out of the streets of New York City comes from the underground new york steam system. The 105 mile system of pipes began providing services in 1882, it uses clean water and still delivers steam to over 2,000 city buildings today.
Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices, Manhattan gas stations are worth much more than the money the owner can make selling gas.
A dark patch was left intentionally on the ceiling of Grand Central Station’s main concourse to show how dirty it was before and after it’s first cleaning. The patch was swabbed and tested revealing the dirty ceiling was about 100 years of built up nicotine from cigarette smoke.
Nearly half the states in the US allow village and town judges to hold office without a law degree. In NY, these judges aren’t even required to have a degree of any kind and can preside over criminal cases.
Extremely high taxes ($5.85/pack) have made New York City the cigarette smuggling capital of America. 57% of cigarettes consumed are smuggled, usually from Virginia or North Carolina.
At least 43 buildings in NYC actually have their own zip code. Due to size, or amount of people who work there, or money they generate.
One of the most powerful unions in New York City in the 1960’s was the Bagel Bakers Local 338. They made far more money than engineers, policemen, and teachers at the time. If they went on strike, bagels simply weren’t available since the process hadn’t been automated yet.
New York City is one of four major cities in the United States whose drinking water is pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants. The city is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed.
Light bulbs in the New York City subway system screw in “backwards” (i.e. with left-handed threads) so people won’t steal them to use at home.