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.
The famous “I ❤ NY” logo was drawn in the back of a taxi cab, given to New York for free, and makes New York State close to $30 million per year.
Despite how TV shows and movies depict it, New York only has a few alleys. Almost every alley scene is shot at the same location: Cortlandt Alley.
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.