Undoubtedly everyone knows the “city that never sleeps”, the Big Apple or as they call it New York. But what you may have seen in Hollywood  movies, showing many neighborhoods, shops, boulevards and parks, is definitely not enough! Such a changing and intense city, which many describe as the center of the earth, has much more to it than you think. Below we will present information that few know about the city.

The Big Apple

It is one of the most famous nicknames of New York, which also has an interesting story. The “Big Apple” referred to the awards given to horse races in the 1920s. As the term meant the ultimate and best prize, many musicians and journalists began to label New York by that name.

It is also said that in 1971, following a negative report in the city by a well-known newspaper, efforts were made to boost tourism. The New York City Tourism Board has decided to approve the nickname “Big Apple” as the city’s official nickname. Some of New York’s main nicknames are Empire City, City of Dreams, and The City That Never Sleeps.

Read 9 Underrated Places to Visit in NYC, here.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France

The Statue of Liberty may be one of the most iconic symbols of America. But did you know that it was a gift from France? French sculptors Bartholdi and Eiffel built Lady Liberty to celebrate the friendship between the United States and France.

But apart from the bridge between the two countries, it was also a gift for the centennial celebration of America in 1886. So in 1885, they sent the statue in 350 pieces packed in 214 boxes and it took more than 4 months to assemble it. However, 10 years earlier in 1876 they sent the right hand with the flame where it was presented at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia to raise money for the construction project.

Statue of Liberty- New York travel guide
The origin of the New York name

The original name of the city was New Amsterdam, as the Dutch were the first settlers in the area in 1624. In 1664, however, the city was taken over by the English and renamed in honor of the Duke of York. Other iconic parts of New York also had Dutch names that changed after the English, such as Wall Street was Waal Straat, Harlem was Haarmen and Brooklyn was Breukelen.

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New Yorkers speak over 800 different languages

As the largest city in the world and the largest financial center, New York is also the center with the greatest multiculturalism in the world. In particular, more than 37% of its inhabitants were born in another country and 4 in 10 households speak a language other than English. In addition, some of the languages, such as Quechua or Garifuna, that have been recorded, are extremely rare or even dying in their countries of origin. The number 800 may sound quite big, but it makes perfect sense since there are people in New York from all over the world.

More information on what to do in New York can be found here.

Taxis were not always yellow

Yellow taxis are one of the most recognizable symbols of New York. However, the first petrol taxi company, founded in 1907, used red and green cars. By the time New York adopted the color yellow in 1912, there were already yellow taxis in many other cities across the United States.

Times Square was a simple neighborhood

Its original name was Longacre Square, until the New York Times moved there in 1904 and changed its name to Times Square. So before 1904, it was a suburb of London and it was a simple residential neighborhood. The construction of tall buildings and large billboards with very bright colors turned it into the chaotic place it is today. Today, in addition to the spectacle offered by the huge screens and lights, which at night give the impression that it is day, the options for food and drink shops are countless.

times square
Several thunderbolts hit the Empire State Building over time

Lightning may seem like an unusual phenomenon in cities. In New York, however, and more specifically in the Empire State Building, 25 thunderbolts fell in a year! This is because it is one of the tallest buildings and at its highest point covered by antennas, there is a lightning rod.

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The first US pizzeria opened in New York

(One of our favorite facts about food!) The first pizzeria in the US opened in New York in 1905, after certification by the Pizza Hall of Fame. Lombardi’s Pizza at 32 Spring Street still operates today along with the remaining 1600 pizzerias in the city.

Bonus fact: The price of a slice of pizza and a one-way ticket on the subway has been the same for 50 years. When the price of tickets changes, it has been observed that the price of pizza also changes, a phenomenon that economists call “The Beginning of Pizza”.

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It takes over 24 hours to cover the entire New York Metro system

To most tourists, the New York subway is a chaotic place. But it is also the fastest and most economical way to get around the city. With 34 lines and 472 stops, New York City’s subway system is one of the largest public transportation systems in the world. Traveling to each stop, without leaving the system and without delays, will take you at least 21 hours and 49 minutes.

new york city subway guide

Read our guide to the New York subway here.