I’m a sucker for trivia and fun facts so when my husband and I moved to The Big Apple, I quickly started rounding up the most interesting facts about New York City.
It’s always helpful to have some fun trivia in your back pocket just in case you find yourself in a situation that requires small talk, right?
New York City has fascinated me for years. I’ve spent many sleepless nights reading any book that had the faintest mention of NYC.
Little did I know how many history lessons and fun NYC facts would expose themselves this way. So today I’m rounding up the most interesting facts about New York City that I recently learned.
I’m not one for small talk so let’s get to it!
Interesting Facts About New York City
#1. New York City is home to the first pizzeria in the country
Everyone knows you can’t visit New York City without eating your weight in pizza, but few know that New York City is actually home to the first pizzeria in the country.
The best part? The pizzeria is still churning out delicious hot pies to this day (surprisingly, it happens to be one of the best pizzas in New York City).
Lombardi’s Pizza was opened in 1895 and is still pleasing customers on a daily basis. Considering there’s an estimated 1,600+ pizzerias in New York City, that speaks masses! P.S. The clam pie is exceptional (trust me).
Pictured above: Interior of Prince St. Pizza
#2. New York was first called New Amsterdam
A historic fact about New York City that few folks know is that NYC was originally called New Amsterdam.
Seems like everyone was just fine with the city’s name until the city was gifted to the Duke of York in 1898 as a birthday present (say what?).
In a swift act of vanity, he promptly renamed the city in his honor and thus New York City was born.
But fret not, if you find yourself nostalgic for the good old “New Amsterdam” days, take a stroll down Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side and experience the charming buildings donning irresistible triangular roofs that are sure to transport you back to the city’s old-world European charm.
Another fun NYC fact for history buffs: New York City was the first capitol of the United States of America before a negotiation led to the capitol being moved to Washington D.C.
Tip: If you LOVE history, I highly suggest getting this little number before visiting New York City. I can’t get it out of my mind!
#3. Central Park is the most filmed location in the world
Here’s a fun fact about New York City — the city’s pride and joy, Central Park, is featured in more than 530 movie credits (and counting) making it the most filmed location in the world!
Movies are filmed in Central Park way more than any other place on earth. For example, the second most filmed location in the world is Trafalgar Square in London, with 131 movie credits (compared to 530+)!
As a resident in New York City, I can confirm that a lot of shows and movies get filmed in New York City. On numerous occasions I’ve taken a random stroll through Central Park and accidentally walked by a film shoot — it never gets old!
#4. About 22% of New York City’s land is used for public parks
If you’ve ever visited New York City then chances are high that you’ve seen some of the splendors of NYC’s parks first hand — or even stumbled upon them by accident.
That’s because NYC understands the importance public green spaces like parks and acts on that knowledge. In fact, 22% of the city is dedicated specially for public parks — how’s that for an interesting fact about New York City?
Also, 99% of New York City residents are a mere 10-minute walk from a park, and NYC has some of the most beautiful city parks in the country to boot.
Pictured above: Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden in Spring
#5. The Empire State Building has its own zip code
The iconic Empire State Building is currently the 4th largest building in New York City and the 6th tallest building in the country. You probably already knew that the Empire State Building is huge, but did you know that it has its own zip code?
That’s right! If you need to mail something addressed to the Empire State Building you will need to use a zip code unique to the building — 10118.
Want to know another fun fact about New York City? The Empire State Building gets hit by lightning 23 times a year on average.
#6. The New York Public Library is the second largest library in America
You simply can’t visit New York City without seeing the New York Public Library. It’s a breathtaking sight and something I highly recommend for all first-time visitors.
Enthralled by the grandeur of the building, I understood how important it was for New Yorkers. But I was surprised to learn just how BIG the New York Public Library actually is.
Ready for an impressive New York City fact? The New York Public Library is home to 50 million books! Effectively making it the second largest library in America (after the Library of Congress), and the third largest library in the world.
As an avid bookworm, all I can say is pinch me!
Pictured above: People enjoying Bryant Park next to the New York Public Library
#7. There are more than 200 languages spoken in New York City
On any given day you’re bound to hear a language you’ve never heard before on the streets in New York City, that’s because there are more than 200 languages spoken in NYC.
Some folks say there are more than 800 languages spoken in the Big Apple but I wasn’t able to find evidence to support that.
Regardless, 200+ language is a lot! This is the reason New York City is often considered the most linguistically diverse city in the world, it’s a true melting pot!
What’s more, more than 37% of New Yorkers are born outside the the United States, so allow me to share another surprising fact about NYC: 4 out of 10 households (nearly half!) speak a language other than English.
Pictured above: Celebrating our new apartment in New York City!
#8. More than 8 million people call New York City home
Here’s another interesting fact about New York City — it’s the most populous city in the country. With more than 8.5 million residents, New York City is home to 1 in every 38 people living in America.
For me personally that’s a tough NYC fact to fathom! Think of all the people that live in America and one out of every 38 live in this specific (magical) city.
Trust me, I completely understand the allure, there’s no place in the world like New York City so it’s hard to blame folks for wanting to call this magical city home.
To put it another way, New York City has more people than 40 of the 50 U.S. states. Wow!
#9. Let’s talk about the “Pizza Principle”
There’s a little known economic concept called the Pizza Principle which argues that the cost of subway ride and a slice of pizza should remain relatively equal.
Currently, a one-way metro pass will run you $2.75 and you can definitely find a slice for that price range!
The cost of these two items rising in tandem has been the case for more than 50 years and has resulted in the term “Pizza Principle.” This is one of those fun NYC facts that gives me a kick.
#10. The Brooklyn Bridge is older than London’s Tower Bridge
This is a great NYC trivia question for anyone looking to impress friends. When asked, most folks would guess that London’s famous Tower Bridge is older than NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge but that’s not the case!
The Brooklyn Bridge is 11 years older than London’s Tower Bridge — making it iconic and wise.
#11. New York City embraces diversity
New York City is a very diverse city. How diverse? Well, how’s this for an interesting fact about life in New York City: NYC is home to the highest Jewish population outside of Israel, the highest Hispanic population of any US city, the highest Chinese population outside of Asia and the highest Puerto Rican population in the world.
Hard not to love a city that welcomes all people!
#12. New York City is a birders paradise
It’s nearly impossible to walk through Central Park without spotting birders, especially during the migrating season (spring) and the reason is simple — New York City is a true birders paradise!
In fact, of the 800 known North American bird species, 275 have been spotted in Central Park alone. Some birders claim to have spotted 100 species in a single day during migrating season — wow!
My husband is an avid bird watcher and was surprised to learn this exciting fact about New York City because he thinks of NYC as a concrete jungle — not a place full of greenery and parks that birds would flock to.
#13. Brooklyn is bigger than you think
This is a very interesting NYC fact that caught me by surprise. Here it goes: With 2.6 million residents, if Brooklyn were a city (rather than a borough), it would be the 4th largest city in the country.
#14. The rich have spoken
New York City is home to more billionaires than anywhere else in the world. Clearly, something about the City That Never Sleeps appeals to the lifestyle of the wealthy.
What’s more, there’s more than 380,000 millionaires in the city, too.
The best part about this fun NYC fact is that you can’t always tell the millionaires apart from the rest — you never know who you’re sitting next to on the subway or who’s in front of you at the cafe.
But I will say this: Seeing a celebrity in the street never gets old!
#15. There’s 520 miles of coastline in NYC
Could this fact about New York City be true?! Yes, but it gets even better! New York City has more coastline than Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston combined!
At face value, this NYC fact might be hard to believe but you must remember that the city consists of five boroughs and all of them boast expansive coastlines, plus Manhattan is an island.
In any case, you can easily find views of the water whenever you want. Thankfully there’s a lot of public parks that sit right at the water’s edge, what a great way to spend an afternoon!
#16. Central Park is larger than Monaco
Central Park is 843 acres, which means it is larger than the country of Monaco, which is only 520 acres.
#17. The MET is the fifth largest museum in the world
Housing more than 2 million works of art spanning 2.2 million square feet, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, better known as the Met, is officially the fifth largest museum in the world.
Due to its size, even the most ardent weekly visitors wouldn’t be able to see all of the splendors within the museum in one lifetime.
#18. NYC is a mecca for foodies
New York City is home to a whopping 69 Michelin-Starred restaurants — the city with sixth highest concentration of Michelin-Starred restaurants in the world.
The creme de la creme is a restaurant called Eleven Madison Park which has 3 stars to its name.
I hope you enjoyed this quick list of interesting facts about New York City. Let me know if there’s any I missed and I’ll add them to the list!
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Until next time,