Fifteen Fascinating New York Facts

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Home to more than 8 million inhabitants, New York is a captivating city – a melting pot of different cultures with an enthralling history. If you’ve ever wondered why the taxis are yellow or why New York is called ‘The Big Apple’ check out our fifteen fascinating New York facts.

1) More than 250 films are shot in New York each year

New York continues to be the backdrop of all manner of big screen productions. Some of the most famous films shot in New York include: Taxi Driver, Home Alone 2, Gangs of New York and American Psycho.

2) Buskers on the New York subway have to audition

Music to the ears of anyone that has suffered a terrible cover version on the way to work, New York’s subway buskers have to pass an audition process to verify their musical abilities.

3) Central Park is bigger than the principality of Monaco

The park is one of the city’s most iconic tourist attractions and sprawls over 3.41km2 of central New York. It dwarfs the European principality of Monaco by 130km2.

4) New York has more than 25% of the world’s gold

This veritable treasure trove is buried 80 feet beneath the Federal Reserve Bank on Wall Steet. This is worth in the region of $355 million. It’s estimated that a full audit of the gold would need 400 men to work for six months!

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5) Brooklyn has a population of South American parrots

The distinctive green parrots, more at home in Buenos Aires than Brooklyn have bred to a reasonable population. Their origin is uncertain; a pet store that went out of business and an improperly opened crate at JFK airport are rumoured to be the source.

6) Since 2005, New York has had the lowest crime rate of the 25 biggest cities in the USA

Once a notorious city for muggings in the 1970s, New York is far more family-friendly these days. The crime rates are continuing to decline year on year.

7) New York City’s taxis are yellow thanks to a study by the University of Chicago

Yellow taxis are one of the city’s most distinctive features and all because of a study that showed yellow was the easiest colour for the eye to spot. That was all John Hertz, founder of The Yellow Cab Company, needed to hear!

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8) New York has 722 miles of subway tracks

Equally impressive for the residents of many European cities is the fact that the subway stays open for 24 hours a day.

9) Brooklyn was an independent city until 1898

Now a large borough in modern day New York, Brooklyn was originally a city in its own right rivalling the size of NYC.

10) New York has over 4,000 street food vendors

As you’d expect from a city with such a diverse range of cultures, New York boasts an array of different street food from every corner of the globe. No matter what kind of cuisine you’re after, you’ll find it. Take a look at our Pinterest board for some examples!

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11) New York had the USA’s first pizzeria

Famed for its huge Italian-American community, New York first introduced the US to the pizza in 1895. Gennaro Lombardi is credited with being the first person to open a pizzeria.

12) New York City used to be known as New Amsterdam

This dates back to the city’s early origins, when Dutch explorer Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Algonquin tribe for trinkets and tools worth about $24.

13) 36% of the population was born outside of the USA

New York is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, which is why..

14) ..more than 47% of New York residents over 5 speak a language other than English

15) And finally, New York is called ‘The Big Apple’ because..

..well, it depends who you ask! For some, it was first used as a metaphor to describe how New York as ‘the big apple’ got a disproportionate share of sap from the US tree of wealth which was rooted in the Mississippi Valley. Alternatively, it could’ve been first used as a horse racing term to describe the city’s prestigious racing tracks. Whatever the origin, the name certainly became more common in the 1970s after it was adopted as part of a marketing campaign to bring more people to the city.

If you’re thinking of visiting New York, check out the Globehunters New York flights page or speak to one of our travel consultants on 020 3384 6000.

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