15 Little Known Facts About The City That Never Sleeps: New York City

New York city is one the largest city in the world. Home to numerous iconic landmarks such as Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Empire State building and a buzzing culture. New York is a city that wears many hats with elan. It is a vibrant city with a blend of history and modernity offering feasts for all. Check these 18 facts about New York to know why it stands tall among the plethora of other cities.

1. Empire State Building which was opened in 1931 had a great difficulty in finding tenants to fill its office Space. The continued vacancy led the people to nickname it as “Empty State Building.” The Building turned profitable only in 1950.

empire state building
Image Source: www.esbnyc.com

The Empire state building was built in 1931, 12 days ahead of schedule. It was the tallest building in New York dwarfing the newly completed Chrysler Building. Due to the Great Depression, the building had difficulty finding tenants. The tallest skyscraper of the ’30s was located far away from public transportations such as the Grand central station, this was another factor that contributed to the high vacancy rate of the building.

In the first year of its operation, the Empire State building observatory made as much money (2 Million USD) as the owners made in rent. The difficulty in finding tenants for the building lead the New Yorker’s to sarcastically call it as “Empty State Building”. The building became profitable nineteen years after its construction, in 1950.(source)

2. Roosevelt Island has AVAC(Automated Vacuum Collection) – An underground system of garbage collection that sucks the trash and sends them through pipes at 60 mph to a central disposal point to be packed in Big Silos. 

Island AVAC
Image Source: www.atlasobscura.com

The Avac designed in the late 1960’s is New York’s only pneumatic garbage collection system. The system runs under all the high rise buildings in the Roosevelt Islands. The Avac was used to facilitate garbage collection from the housing developments in the Roosevelt Islands.

When people throw their garbage through garbage chutes, the trash accumulates for a while. A trap door opens sucking the trash down a huge pipe. Then, a huge gust of air dispelled through air valves pushes the garbage down the pipe at 60 mph. The garbage comes out at the Avac center. They are dumped into two Silo-shaped cyclones where the trash is spun like cotton candy. The ‘cotton- candied’ trash zips through a chute into the huge containers.(source)

3. Under the law, A New York police cannot arrest a woman who goes topless in public places. But he can take strong action against the crowd who gather to watch the topless women.

Topless
Image Source: www.nydailynews.com

In February 2013, A memo issued by New York City police explicitly states that a woman cannot be arrested citing indecent exposure, public lewdness or other laws for exposing her bare breasts in public places. The police memo emphatically asks its officers to disperse the crowd gathered to watch the topless woman using strong-arm tactics if necessary but not to arrest or intimidate the topless woman at any given point of time.

The memo probably followed due to the suit initiated by Hally Van Voast, who is  known for baring her breasts regularly. Van Voast was arrested after every ‘topless’ act but the complaint was dropped due to the state’s highest court ruling that allowed women to be bare chested as a man in public as long as the exposure was not for commercial purpose.(source)

4. 20,000 bodies buried in Washington Square Park alone. Most of them are Yellow Fever victims. The Park was built on top of their graves.

Washington Square
Image Source: www.nycgovparks.org

Washington Square Park was the homeland of Native American Tribes. The Dutch India company forcibly evicted them from the land. The Dutch gave it as farmland to African American slaves. The farms occupied by African slaves served a strategic purpose for Dutch India Company who used it as a buffer zone between the hostile American Natives and Dutch Settlers. The land known as the Village of Greenwich remained a farmland until 1797. Minetta Creek bisected the area.

In 1797, the common council of New York purchased a tract of land east of Minetta, which was intended to be used as potter’s field or  burial ground. The cemetery was for the indigents who could not afford burial plots. Shortly after the purchase of the burial land, an epidemic of Yellow fever struck New York causing thousands of deaths. Fearing for health and safety, the city council decided to bury the Yellow fever victims outside the city precincts. The city buried them in the newly acquired Potter’s field. 20,000 bodies were buried in the cemetery. The burial ground remained active until 1825. Washington Square Park is built on this cemetery.(source)

5. In New York, the price of a slice of Pizza has always equaled the price of a subway ride since 50 years.

pizza and metro card prices
Image Source: mentalfloss.com

The “Pizza Connection” or a “Pizza Principle” is a rule that states that the price of a slice of pizza will almost always equal the price of the subway ride.  The Pizza principle is a tongue in cheek, but accurate law propounded by Eric M.Bram.  Eric Bram, a New Yorker observed that from the ’60s the price of a slice of pizza uncannily matched the price of New York Subway ride. The Pizza Connection or Pizza principle has interested several learned pundits and has featured prominently in New York newspapers.

The term “Pizza Connection” was coined by New York Times Columnist Claude Haberman in 2002. The New Yorker magazine in May 2003 graciously accepted the validity of Pizza connection which they promptly renamed as Pizza principle. The validity was accepted after it was proved that the Pizza connection accurately predicted the rise of the subway fare to $2.00 the week before.Haberman noted that the price of a slice of pizza was rising in 2005 and 2007. Citing the Pizza connection, Haberman alerted his readers about the probable rise of subway fares. The subway fares did rise once in June 2009 ($2.25) and once in 2011($2.50).(source)

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