As if you even needed more proof that NYC is the greatest city in the world, here are 10 inventions that the rest of humanity should be thanking us for:
1. The Manhattan Cocktail
This drink is rumored to have made its debut at the Manhattan Club, although that can’t be proven. New York City is also where the Bloody Mary was invented, so you can thank NYC for all those boozy brunches.
2. Eggs Benedict
The Waldorf Astoria and Delmonico’s are still arguing over who was the first to serve this dish, but regardless of which one it was, no one doubts that this brunch favorite was first invented in New York City.
3. Chop Suey
Chop Suey is actually an American invention; it’s not from China. Legend has it that when Chinese ambassador Li Hongzhang visited New York City in 1896, his cooks created this dish to satisfy both Chinese and American tastes. There are other competing theories, but we like this one the best.
Jell-O was invented by New Yorker Peter Cooper, after he unsuccessfully ran for president for the Greenback Party ticket. He patented the formula for powdered gelatin in 1845.
5. Toilet Paper
Can you imagine what life was like before toilet paper? You probably don’t want to. Luckily, New Yorker Joseph C. Gayetty produced the first packaged toilet paper in 1857.
Invented by Queens resident Alfred Mosher Butts (yes, that was actually his name) in 1931. The game’s roots are recognized today with a street sign in Jackson Heights.
7. The Teddy Bear
Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner and stuffed toy maker, was reading the newspaper in 1902, and saw a political cartoon making fun of President Teddy Roosevelt for refusing to shoot a bear that was tied to a tree during a hunting trip. Inspired, Michtom created a new stuffed toy: the Teddy bear.
8. The Cell Phone
A Motorola researcher named Martin Cooper developed his mobile phone in New York City in 1973. It weighed two and a half pounds and was 10 inches long.
Yup, you can thank NYC for the thing that’s saved your life in social situations. Staten Island resident Thomas Adams acquired chicle, a natural gum product in trees, in the 1860s, intending to make a rubber material. But we ended up with chewing gum instead.
Or rather, the Christmas celebration as we currently know it. The Puritans who originally settled New England banned the celebration of Christmas, but the original Dutch settlers of New York City began celebrating their tradition of Sinterklaas in the 1800s. Gift-giving was an important part of this tradition, which New York merchants quickly realized. By 1830, the week before Christmas was already the busiest shopping season of the year.
Cover photo credit: Stanley Zimny/Flickr