The city of New York is a remarkable place. From massive skyscrapers, to street food vendors, there is a diverse spectrum of experiences waiting for you if you plan on visiting.
But what makes this city even more exceptional is its history, because there is a wealth of uncommon information to find, and a quite a few secrets to uncover.
To make your visit here even more interesting, let’s take a look at a few of these intriguing revelations:
1. Unparalleled 360-degree view of the city
Contrary to what most tourists believe, the best view of the city might not be at the Empire State Building, but at Governors Island.
Once, Governors Island was a part of the political, social and economic tapestry of NYC.
Today, it is a scenic ground for arts, culture and entertainment against a backdrop of military heritage. It is also a skyline to one of the most amazing cities in the world.
Constructed last year, the island’s “The Hills” park comprises four hills that serve as a beautiful reminder of pre-colonial Manhattan landscaping. At 70-feet, the park’s Outlook Hill provides never-before-seen panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and Jersey City in the distance.
2. The many languages of the city’s residents
With a population of over 8.5 million, it comes as no surprise that the city of New York combines a mix of different cultures. However, what you may not know is that the city is home to more than 800 languages!
Close to 50% of the city’s resident population speaks a language other than English. Top languages include Spanish, Chinese (which includes both Mandarin and Cantonese), Russian, Italian, French, Yiddish, Korean and Polish.
The most ethnically diverse borough in terms language, and other cultural aspects, is Queens in Brooklyn, whose residents speak a total of nearly 140 languages.
So yes, it is safe to say, that NYC is in the lead for language density in the world.
3. Waterfalls in one of the world’s famous parks
There is a total of five waterfalls in—you may have guessed by now—Central Park. These presence of these natural elements is not common knowledge to the uninformed tourist, as the location of the waterfalls in somewhat discrete.
In the northern woods of the Central Park, there is a 90-acre woodland section, designed by the park’s designers to create a vibe similar to that Adirondack Mountains that lie towards northeast New York. The water that cascades down these gorgeous falls joins the stream that serves the NYC drinking water pipeline, the opening concealed near the Pool Grotto on W 100th St.
You know one of the places you are heading to on your tour in the Central Park!
4. The Ultimate Reveal: The Statue of Liberty
The renowned 152-foot 2-inch tall structure of Lady Liberty was not built in New York, or the US for that matter. The origins of this monument can be traced back to the design expertise of engineer Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and the craftsmanship of sculptor Gustave Eiffel. It is said that statue was modeled after the features of sculptor’s mother, Charlotte Bartholdi.
Yes, the statue most tourists look forward to admiring in person was built in France. It was in fact a gift to the city of New York, dedicated to it on July 4th 1884, and finally arrived in June of 1885 to the New York Harbor.
The statue was shipped as 350 pieces, distributed in 214 crates. It took four months to reassemble it on its current residence, Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay.
5. The whispering gallery in Grand Central Station
Towering domes and curving walls, an architectural structure comprising these components can often produce more than just elegant designs. It can produce amazing acoustics qualities.
The Grand Central Station is more than just a transportation hub for New York’s subway system. It is a landmark that comprises shopping, dining and cultural experiences, and a few secrets.
You can find one of these, the whispering wall, at the archway just outside Oyster Bar and Restaurant (an incredible eatery to visit if you are looking for mouth-watering seafood in NYC).
Stand at one diagonal corner of the archway, and have your friend stand at the other, and you will be able to hear each other perfectly, even if you talk in whispers. A whispering gallery uses the features of curved spaces to create an extraordinary sound experience.
6. Amusing origins of “The Big Apple”
A lot of cities in the world have nicknames, most of which are pretty much self-explanatory. Chicago for instance, is called the “The Windy City” for the chilly gusts that travel from Lake Michigan. Paris is famously known as “The City of Lights” for its role in the age of enlightenment, and because it was one of the first few cities in Europe to use gas lightening. Now the question is: why is New York called the “Big Apple”?
Though the city is one of the top apple-growers in the country, the production of this healthy fruit does not have a direct involvement in the city’s nickname.
The real story involves an interpretation, when journalist John Fitz Gerald, who was covering the horse racing event in the 1920s, overheard a few of the event’s stable hands saying that they were going to the “The Big Apple” for work.
Back then, apples were the prizes for the winners of racing. Gerald found this phrase interesting enough to use it in one of his articles to dub the city of New York as “The Big Apple”.
From that time, the name was used on and off by various parties till became the city’s official nickname. In the 1930s, it was employed by jazz musicians, and then again in a tourist campaign in the 1970s.
Interesting tidbit of history: one of the earliest nicknames given to NYC was “New Orange”. When the Dutch took control of New York in 1673, the city was dubbed as “New Orange” to honor Prince William III of Orange. Once the city returned to English control, the nickname faded. Quite the fruity past!
Consumed by wanderlust after reading this? You can book an in-depth NYC group or private tour package with My NY Tours!
Reach out to us today to arrange sightseeing tours in New York City you won’t forget!