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10 Things You Didn’t Know About New York City

The Big Apple, the greatest city on earth, these are just a few of the names and descriptions are given to the United States’ largest and arguably most important city. To many New York City is just a name. Even for those who have visited it. They only get a brief glimpse of a complex urban microcosm that often defies the tourist understanding. To remedy this, we bring you the 10 things you didn’t know about New York City.

New York City

10: Dutch and English Rule

The ritual New York was no York at all but an Amsterdam, specifically New Amsterdam. In the early 17th century this Dutch settlement was located on the tip of the southern part of the island of Manhattan and was tiny by today’s standards. It was originally acquired through a purchase that would be deemed cheap by any standard today. $24 in trinkets and baubles and even adjusted for inflation, it was still pretty cheap. As in today’s money, it would come to just under $1000. Later on, in the infamous Anglo-Dutch wars, the English conquered the island and settlement and took it for their own, name it after the Duke of York. However, a great deal of the older districts retains their original Dutch names. Remnants of the earlier Dutch presence can still be found throughout the city if you look hard enough.

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9: Well Organized and Numbered Streets

In contrast to many cities in the Old World, such as London or Paris. Which were built haphazardly without much planning for the future? New York was built up in a much more systematic manner. What is meant by this, is that virtually all the streets and avenues with a few exceptions follow a formula of simple counting from one to 100 and beyond. This means that unlike in London, even as a tourist was completely unfamiliar. In New York City, it is very difficult to get lost because almost every street is numbered in a linear fashion. Which does not require rote memorization and the degree of familiarity needed for other much older cities. Many things are difficult to do in New York City but getting around is not one of them.

8: Largest Hungarian Community in the World

Although it might be surprising to hear New York City has the largest Hungarian community in the world, outside of the capital city of Hungry, Budapest. With a certain area being referred to sometimes as a little Hungry. There about 150,000 Hungarians in New York City. Most of them live in the district alluded to. Although there’s been a Hungarian presence in New York City since the 19th century.

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The population grew exponentially after the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Many Hungarians who have the means flee into New York City to escape Soviet oppression if they could. Since then Hungarians have remained an indelible presence in Manhattan. They have many restaurants, bakeries, churches and other cultural testaments dotting the landscape of the city. New York City might be the last place most people think of when it comes to meeting Hungarians. But it’s actually the second-best place, just after Budapest.

7: Film Industry

Well almost everyone in the world has heard of Hollywood and regularly associates the film industry with it. One little known fact was the earlier prominence of the film industry in New York City. In fact, the heart of the American film industry was based on the east coast of the country before the birth of Hollywood in the early 1930s, specifically in New York City. Major cinema companies including Paramount Pictures. Which is the second oldest surviving film studio in the country? And fifth oldest in the world base their operations in New York. Where several films, such as the first Sherlock Holmes sound film, The Return of Sherlock Holmes were shot at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens.

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The historic studio was built in 1920 was declared a national historic district in 1978. They produced major Hollywood films including, Good Fellas, In Carlito’s Way and several classic American television programs including, Sesame Street and The Cosby Show were later shot.

6: Cuisine

If there’s anything someone coming to New York City must know? It is at nowhere else in the US and possibly the world is there the degree of variety in cuisine. If you have a craving for something to be conventional. Such as New York style pizza or something more exotic such as authentic knishes food. New York City will definitely have it and this is what differentiates the city from everywhere else in the country. As you can literally fulfil your palates desire on a whim. They merely googling the location of whatever cultural and ethnic cuisine you want, assuming you have the money. This great accessibility is, of course, a product of the ethnic melting pot that New York City has become over the years, for so many people from all over the world have come to settle down.

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5: Languages

Speaking of ethnic melting pots York City is home to more than 800 languages spoken on its streets. Of course, English and Spanish are the most common and more or less official languages. But merely venturing out onto the streets of any of the boroughs of New York City will expose you to a breathtaking array of languages. The vast majority of which most people cannot even identify. The borough of Queens, in particular, has more foreign languages concentrated in any place in the entire world. With merely walking for a few blocks can expose you to the sounds of a new tongue you probably have never heard before.

4: The Buttonwood Agreement

The Buttonwood Agreement - 10 Things You Didn't Know About New York City

In March 1792, 24 of New York City’s leading merchants met secretly at a hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to rest it from the competitors, the auctioneers. Two months later on May 17, 1972, these merchants sign a document named the Buttonwood Agreement, named after their traditional meeting place a buttonwood tree. The agreement called for the signers to trade securities only among themselves to set trading fees. And to not participate in other auctions of securities. These 24 men had founded what was to become the New York Stock Exchange. The exchange would later be located at 11 Wall Street.

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This was the beginning of what would later become the financial capital not for just the United States but for all of the world. Though it has taken some hits. Wall Street remains dominant in the minds and memories of all who are financially savvy. It might be an arguable, the New York Stock Exchange remains the most important one in the world. Even in the year 2018. Washington might be the capital of the USA. But in many ways, New York through its status as a financial center is the capital of the world.

3: Wildlife in New York City

People might joke around and call New York a concrete jungle. But there actually is a surprisingly high concentration of wildlife in the city. There is a wealth of wildlife to be discovered across the concrete jungle. Such as the world’s highest concentration of peregrine falcons. Which are said to set up their nests on bridges and skyscrapers around the city. Thousands of animal species are found in the city parks including in Staten Island. Which hosts a diverse selection of wildlife from hundreds of bird species to white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits and snapping turtles, one of the largest freshwater turtles. Other animals to be spotted include coyotes in the Bronx, opossums are North America’s only marsupial, striped skunks set to prefer the parks of Northern Manhattan and baby bats, the most common species of bats in New York.

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2: Chinese Immigrants

The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Manhattan’s Chinatown in the 1800s. When it was part of the former Five Points neighborhood. Which came to be known as one of New York’s worst slum areas, played by crime, disease, and a red-light district known as the Mulberry Bend. The first person to have highlighted the devastating conditions of this part of New York was English author Charles Dickens and his travelogue titled American Notes. Which prompted several upper-middle class New Yorkers to visit the area to glimpse the incredible scene for themselves. Today housing nearly 150,000 Chinese residents across a two square mile plot of land.

Manhattan’s Chinatown is home to the largest concentration of Chinese people in the western hemisphere. It is one among the 12 Chinatown spread across the New York metropolitan area. Including in the neighboring tri-state area of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Which forms the highest population of Chinese people outside of Asia, with nearly 813,000 Chinese residents. Nearly 575,000 in the five boroughs New York City alone making New York’s Chinatown the largest in America, as of last year. Most of New York’s Chinese population resides in the borough of Queens. Where flushing is home to one of the fastest growing and largest Chinese communities outside of Asia.

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1: New Yorkers

New Yorkers have something that no other inhabitants of any other city in the US have and that is a certain stubborn and unrelenting pride in a city that is so complex that it often defies description and is not even well understood by New Yorkers themselves. Surely, New Yorkers will complain about rush hour in traffic jams, the rent being too high and just about everything else under the sun that is blotted out by the skyscrapers, that populate the place. But at the end of the day, the New Yorkers feels a sense of attachment most people just don’t to the concrete jungle and world city they call home.

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So, that was our today’s list 10 things you didn’t know about New York City? What do you guys know more about New York City? Don’t forget to check out our other lists and thanks for staying with us for a while.

Written by Patricia Lillian

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