30 Weird Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About NYC

Katherine Ripley Katherine Ripley

30 Weird Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About NYC


You never know. These weird NYC facts could come in handy at the next trivia night.


1. About 1 in every 38 people living in the United States resides in New York City.

2. It is a misdemeanor to fart in NYC churches.

3. The Jewish population in NYC is the largest in the world outside of Israel.

4. The Chinese population in NYC is the largest in the world outside of Asia.

5. The Puerto Rican population in NYC is the largest of any city in the world.

6. Before World War II, everyone in the whole city who was moving apartments had to move on May 1.

7. There’s a literal gold digger in NYC. He mines sidewalk cracks for gold, and he can make over $600 a week.

weird NYC facts
[Daniel Shapiro/NY Post]
8. There was once a one-mile-long island called Hog Island south of Rockaway Beach. It was never seen again after the hurricane of 1893.

9. Up until 1957, there was a pneumatic mail tube system that was used to connect 23 post offices across 27 miles. At one point, it moved 97,000 letters a day.

10. Albert Einstein’s eyeballs are stored in a safe deposit box in the city.

11. On Nov. 28, 2012, not a single murder, shooting, stabbing, or other incident of violent crime in NYC was reported for an entire day. The first time in basically ever.

12. There was one homicide on 9/11, and it remains unsolved.

13. In eight years, Madison Square Garden’s lease will run out and it will have to move.

weird NYC facts
14. UPS, FedEx, and other commercial delivery companies receive up to 7,000 parking tickets a DAY, contributing up to $120 million in revenue for the city of New York.

15. Sixty percent of cigarettes sold in NYC are illegally smuggled from other states.

16. There are more undergrad and graduate students in NYC than Boston has people.

17. New York City’s 520-mile coastline is longer than those of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined.

18. The Empire State building has its own zip code.

[Chris Goldberg]
[Chris Goldberg/Flickr]
19. The East River is not a river, it’s a tidal estuary.

20. McSorley’s, the oldest Irish ale house in NYC, didn’t allow women inside until 1970.

21. Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Bryant Park used to be cemeteries.

22. There are 20,000 bodies buried in Washington Square Park alone.

23. In 2010, 38 percent of all 911 calls in NYC were butt dials.

24. Times Square is named after the New York Times. It was originally called Longacre Square until 1904 when the NYT moved there.

weird NYC facts
[Scott Beale/Laughing Squid]
25. The entire world’s population could fit in the state of Texas if it were as densely populated as New York City.

26. In 1975, the city of New York sold a private island in the East River for $10.

27. The winter of 1780 was so harsh in New York that New York harbor froze over. People could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island on the ice.

28. In 1906, the Bronx Zoo put an African man on exhibit in the monkey house.

29. Eating a New York bagel is equivalent to eating one-quarter to one-half a loaf of bread.

30. NYC buries its unclaimed bodies on an island off the coast of the Bronx called Hart Island. Since 1869, nearly a million bodies have been buried there. The island is not open to the public.

weird NYC facts

Cover photo credit: Daniel Piraino/Flickr


Tags: Trivia