When Ozone gas was first identified in 1840 its harmful effects were not widely understood – it was associated with fresh air and recuperative properties. In 1882, a businessman coined the name Ozone Park (NY) to promote the area’s proximity to “fresh tonic ocean air”.
Oysters used to be one of the cheapest and widely available foods in New York City, and crushed oyster shells were even used as mortar to build the city and pave its roads.
The vast majority of “Push to Walk” buttons at intersections and “Close Door” buttons in elevators are disabled and only exist to give the illusion of control. In NYC, less than 10% of walk buttons are still even connected to the power grid.
There is a wire called an eruv that hangs above Manhattan encircling much of the borough, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the public streets into a private space, much like one’s own home that allows Jewish people to move about freely without having to worry about breaking Jewish law.
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.
Most of the native speakers of the critically endangered Germanic language, Gottscheerish, now live in Queens, New York City.
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.