NYC is far from being a concrete jungle. About 14 percent of city land, around 29,000 acres, is parkland. There’s also 14 miles of beaches, virtually all of it reachable by subway and bus.
What’s the largest park in New York City? If you said Central Park, you would be wrong. Central Park is the most famous, but the largest NYC park is Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, with 2,765 acres including Orchard Beach. Central Park is the city’s fifth largest park, with 843 acres, more than twice as large as London’s Hyde Park at 350 acres. See the NYC Dept. of Parks list of 10 largest city parks for the rest.
Staten Island was claimed both by the future New York City and future state of New Jersey during Dutch Colonial times in the 1680s. What was then called New Amsterdam and the settlement of Carteret had a sailboat race around the island, the the winner got to claim it. Staten Island Historical Society article.
With nearly 50,000 restaurants and snack bars, pubs and taverns, fast food joints and food trucks in New York City, if you ate at a new one every day for 12 years, you still would not have visited them all. Plus, you would never get done, since new restaurants open every day somewhere.
New York’s Federal Reserve Bank vault is the world’s largest depository for monetary gold, and you can visit the many millions stashed here in a FREE tour of the Gold Vault. See how on the NYCOTC page of Best Free Things to Do in NYC
The Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan was the world’s tallest building when it opened in 1913, surpassed by the Chrysler Building in 1931, which was surpassed by the Empire State Building a few months later. It remained the world’s tallest building until 1972, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center opened for business. Of course, NYC has lost the world title to places like Dubai and Taiwan. Find out more about the world’s skyscrapers at the world’s only Skyscraper Museum, in Lower Manhattan. Click here to find out how to visit the 9/11 Memorial and National September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center.
Some NYC neighborhoods got their names from their original history or residents, such as Hell’s Kitchen, which was a tough area where many NYC dock workers lived. Think Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”.
Other NYC neighborhoods got their names from their location. Tribeca stands for the Triangle Below Canal Street. DUMBO stands for Directly Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Soho is South of Houston, and Noho is North.
Grand Central Terminal is the world’s busiest station, used by more than a half-million commuter railroad and subway passengers a day, plus thousands of tourists taking selfies.
The first commercial airport in New York City was not LaGuardia or Idlewild, now called JFK. It was Floyd Bennett Field in Queens, which opened in 1930 and was used by many aviation pioneers to start or end history-making flights, including Howard Hughes, who took off and landed here for his July 1938 record-setting circumnavigation of the globe in ninety-one hours, as depicted in the 2004 film The Aviator. Floyd Bennett Field is now part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, one of several NYC sites that are part of the National Park Service.
Read more about the best of NYC on our Best of New York page.
See other fabulous facts about New York City on this recent article on the Mental Floss website.
And even more on this recent article on BuzzFeed.
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