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22 Jaw-Dropping Facts About New York City That Will Shock You

New York City, where dreams shine brighter than the city lights and the sky is adorned with skyscrapers. A city is known for its culture, presence, and glamour. It’s where the sky is the limit, and everyone wants to fly; in a place where every person is trying to be more unique than the last, some pretty unique things are bound to happen.

You will have to determine for yourself whether this glamour is all smoke and mirrors or if there is actual substance behind the high-life façade.

Here are the 22 jaw-dropping facts about New York City.

1. Friends Wasn’t Entirely Filmed in NYC

Did you know that Friends, which to date is one of the single most popular TV sitcoms in all of history and continues to be watched worldwide, was not majorly filmed in New York? It is based on six New Yorkers who are best friends and navigating the big world outside together. The popular sitcom was heavily filmed on the Warner brothers’ ranch in California, where the indoor set was based.

The real-life city scenes were shot in New York, London, and England. Despite this, the show bases itself on New York due to the appeal of the lifestyle and as an ode to appease viewers. Of course, wherever it is based, we will continue to love and enjoy friends as much as we love the next person!

Lego Friends characters (1994)
source: Unsplash

2. Is Honking Illegal in NYC?

Yes, you read that correctly. It is illegal to honk your horn in New York City. Since it is more populated than most states of America. It was observed that noise pollution had become a public nuisance. Hence, the law was passed. However, it is not followed rigidly, and you can expect to hear horns honking.

Busy Road
source: Unsplash

3. A Museum Dedicated to Marijuana

The House of Cannabis is a museum dedicated to the role of THC in pop culture and modern media. It is a literal shrine to appreciating substances, including music, art, cinematography, and fashion.

A 30,000 sq. Ft, 5-floor immersive experience of 6,000 years of weed history and an utter cram of knowledge on the marijuana plant. Now, rolling and smoking up is not allowed. Yet, the establishment plans to reserve a lounge area for all your consumption needs.

What makes this place truly special is that it is not hidden underneath the cover of New York but open and proud, wanting people to learn about marijuana culture truly!

The House of Cannabis
Source: Official website of The House of Cannabis

4. New York’s Verdict on Nudity

Did you know that the City of New York allows women to be topless wherever they wish? In a show of gender equality, the law was passed on the basis that if men can do it, why can’t women? There are now rallies promoting toplessness and a great movement called #freethenip. 

There is a decent amount of buzz on social media regarding this decision and a lot of controversy, too. Relaxed law or not, we believe you should let people live how they want.

lady holding a balance scale.
source: Unsplash

5. Broadway: the Epitome of Theatre

The highest-grossing show on Broadway was The Lion King. This story about a lion and his patriarchal destiny recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022 and has grossed the highest numbers of any Broadway show.

The longest-running show, however, or the one with the most performances, is undoubtedly The Phantom of the Opera, with over 13,900 performances to date. Have you ever been to Broadway?

Because New York is not New York without its dramatic theater.

Broadway street
source: Unsplash

6. The Met Gala is Held in New York

This primetime exclusive event for the rich and the famous, focusing on extravagant fashion and creative liberty, is held for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Organized by Vogue, the Met gala is one of the most sought-after invitations in the world with the notion that no matter what field you specialize in, if you receive an invite to the Met ball, you have made it in life. The gala hosts a different theme every year, according to which the various participants are to come up with their wildest adaptations of what they think fits the theme.

Some of the world’s most iconic looks (and fails) have come from the Met Gala.

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Source: Official website of Metropolitan Museum of Art

7. The Origins of an Eggs Benedict

This famous breakfast item, consisting of an English muffin, bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce, is considered an everyday food for most in New York.

But did you know that it originated right here in New York? The account varies in credibility, but the story goes that Lemuel Benedict, a retired stockbroker from Wall Street, walked into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 hoping to find a cure for his Monday morning hangover.

He ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of hollandaise,” as he stated in an interview for the ‘Talk of the Town’ column of the new yorker, 1942. Being so impressed with this combination, the head waiter put the menu item on the breakfast and lunch menus, substituting the bacon for ham and toast for an English muffin.

Eggs Benedict plate
source: Unsplash

8. Was the Statue Of Liberty Brought to America in Pieces?

Lady Liberty, the copper symbol of freedom and secularism in the United States, was a gift from France. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and created by Gustave Eiffel. 

The process of building the Statue of Liberty, though strenuous, was rewarding. Once completed and designs finalized, it was taken apart piece by piece and shipped in crates to the United States, where it was reassembled.

The idea of the Statue of Liberty was proposed by Édouard René de Laboulaye, president of the French Anti-Slavery Society and a dedicated activist. Shifted in pieces or not, the Lady Liberty has become a beacon of independence and is a marvel.

The statue of Liberty
source: Unsplash

9. A World of Languages

With New York City’s utter diversity, it is only natural that many languages are spoken. But did you know that over 800+ languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistic City in the world?

New York is a hub for culturist growth and cultural difference, making a beautiful mosaic of traditions and people. Around 2021-2022, New York was also home to around 3 million residents born outside the US, giving it the title of the largest foreign-born population in the world.

So, the next time you visit Chinatown or Soho, see how many languages you can spot or speak!

source: Unsplash

10. Why is New York Nicknamed the ‘Big Apple’?

The Big Apple is a trendy nickname for New York, and it is used excessively by its inhabitants and even by people who have never set foot in the City. It is used through popular pop culture references in songs, movies, shows, and more.

The nickname ‘The Big Apple’ comes from horse racing and how people assumed the horse racing scene in New York City to be the ‘Big Apple’ in the world of mammalian running games.

In the 1920s, John J. Fitz Gerald, a New York Morning Telegraph writer, wrote that “the NYC horse racing circuit was “the big apples” of competitive racing in the United States.” This column by sportswriter Gerald was how the term big apple originated and then popularized, but it was genuinely pop culture media that carried the term to stardom.

An apple
source: Unsplash

11. There’s a Comedy Show in New York Where Everyone is Naked

Held in Boston, this is an absolute experience of a night, with everyone having the option to be stark naked with the stand-up comedian. You could only imagine the types of jokes you would be able to crack up here.

A comedian’s fever dream, imagine everyone naked if you are nervous! But they are naked, and so are you. Photography and phones are not allowed. New York is known for its out-of-the-box mind-bending experiences, and we can promise this is one of the funniest things in the Big Apple if you are into a specific kind of thing.

source: Unsplash

12. 1 Out of Every 21 New Yorkers Is a Billionaire

Have you ever met anyone wealthy in New York? Have you ever wondered what statistic they were a part of? According to data from Wealth Insight, around 4.63% of the New York population has a net worth of over a million dollars. Statistically, this is about 1 out of every 21 people.

You could walk down the street and pick a random 30 people; one of them would probably be pretty wealthy. With such raised living standards and costs, we can understand why that type of wealth would be needed to survive in such a high-stakes environment.

People migrating to New York with no money, hoping to make a lot of money, probably wouldn’t be too happy to know that it is tough to become one of those 1 out of 21 people living like kings in the City.

Man holding money
source: Unsplash

13. New York Drinks 7 Times More Coffee than Other States

Have you ever wondered why the characters always seem to have a coffee in their hand during the screening of any show or movie set in New York City? Or do they bump into each other in coffee houses (rom-com) or are they late to something because they need to grab a coffee? Well, coffee seems to be an integral part of the New York lifestyle.

Are you even a New Yorker if you do not consume 2 Liters of caffeine daily? In a city like New York, you need coffee to keep up with the high life 24/7. Statistically, New Yorkers drink seven times more coffee than any other state.

You might just bump into the love of your life, too, so remember to get coffee during your stay in New York!

source: Unsplash

14. You Can Get Free Condoms in NYC by Calling a Number

New York has a free condom hotline. Call 311, and you will get a package with safe sex tools to use for free. This seems like a measure that should be implemented everywhere, and the fact that New York has taken these steps gives us the highest esteem for them.

This, however, is not much use when New Yorkers do not like to use condoms. Perhaps birth control or IUDs have taken preference in the Big Apple. Studies have found that only 31.8% of sexually active New Yorkers use condoms, which is 1 in 3 people. 

For the City that never sleeps, a condom hotline seems pretty fitting.

source: Unsplash

15. The New York Central Park is Larger than the Principality of Monaco

Monaco, a country in Europe, majorly popularized in Shake Spears ‘The Merchant Of Venice,’ is a quaint little country with a population of about 36k. What’s shocking is that New York Central Park, where many movies are filmed, is bigger than the whole country.

This describes just how big New York City is and how up-to-date you must be to be on top of it. Of course, conquering the Big Apple is no small feat; it is genuinely the Himalayas of the capitalistic world. Just imagine standing in New York Central Park with an acknowledgment that this park is larger than the country!

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Source: Official website of New York Central Park

16. New Yorks Chinese Population

Outside of Asia, New York has the single largest Chinese population. This fact, though shocking, is imaginable considering the various forms of Chinatown scattered throughout the City. Chinese culture, in turn, is very ingrained in the New York way of life, from things as simple as Chinese takeout to large Chinese festivals that are celebrated in full force.

Even with such an explosive nonnative population, the number of Chinese individuals takes the cake. It is heartwarming to see how much culture the Chinese are willing to share with the world!

China town New York.
source: Unsplash

17. Farting in New York Churches is a Misdemeanor

Have you ever just needed to let one out? Thankfully, in the rest of the world, it is very much acceptable to do so, but not in New York churches. Passing some gas is considered a proper misdemeanor in New York churches; we feel for the Christians going to Sunday mass.

Though it sounds absurd, we can see how it would be considered heavily disrespectful. It is a holy place, and you are to try to atone for your sins. Putting Christianity aside, however, there are very many religions in New York City, but Christians make up around 59% of all New Yorkers, putting them in a heavy majority.

source: Unsplash

18. The First Pizzeria in the USA was Opened in New York City

Lombardi’s, located at 32 Spring Street on the corner of Mott Street, in the Nolita neighborhood, enclaved in Manhattan, was the first pizzeria ever in the United States! It was opened in none other than New York City

This pizzeria is recognized in the Pizza Hall of Fame as the first and has become a tourist attraction. In addition, Lombardi’s was opened in 1905.

It is wild to think the USA didn’t have pizza until the early 1900s! We know for a fact that this place serves some of the best pizza imaginable, given its prestige. It is a bucket list item to visit when exploring the world and the world of pizza.

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Source: Official website of Pizza Hall of Fame

19. Tiny Invisible Shrimp in New York Water

Every glass of New York tap water you drink probably contains hundreds of microscopic little shrimp called copepods. These organisms help filter the water and clear it of mosquito larvae.

These tiny little frustrations have caused an ample amount of controversy as, technically, the water is not kosher, offending orthodox Jewish communities.

There have even been reports of them making the water taste better. Not to worry, though. These organisms are not harmful and are completely safe to consume. It is, however, a fun little fact to think about every time you have a glass of water in New York City.

glass of water
source: Unsplash

20. Nov. 28, 2012: a Crimeless Day for New York City

In a city fostered on the spirit of competition and population, crime and hate are sure to spread, as it has in some parts of New York. Always remember that big cities, though glamorized in the media, are not all sunshine and rainbows. Bad people who have bad intentions will exist everywhere.

Considering this, on November 28th, 2012, not a single incident of any violent crime was reported for an entire 24 hours. This would have been considerable for any populous state, but for New York, it was extraordinary. It is known as the most peaceful day in New York City, where everyone did good deeds, and nobody was stabbed to death!

Shadow of a violent crime.
source: Unsplash

21. The Empire State Building has its Own Zip Code

This 102-story building, with its history and magnificence, is the 7th tallest skyscraper in New York City, the 9th tallest skyscraper in the United States, and the 54th tallest skyscraper in the world.

With its sheer size and hate, the Empire State Building has been given its zip code! 

Famous for its bird’s eye views and ambiance, the Empire State Building has been one of the most monumental monuments ever created. And in all rights, a sky flee deserves a standing ovation for its phenomenal architectural beauty.

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Source: Official website of Empire State Building

22. A Single Cab From LA to NYC Can Cost You $17K

Ah, Los Angeles. It is famous for its spectacular views and brilliant forest structures. It is one of the most visited cities in the USA for tourism and is also nicknamed the City of Angels.

However, did you know that a single cab ride from New York City to neighboring Los Angeles might cost close to $17,000? This is just one way!

Since New York and Los Angeles are some of the most bustling states, we understand prices are slightly inflated, but this is beyond extreme.

Yellow Taxi
source: Unsplash


There is a lot of glamour to New York City, the lifestyle, the people, the fun, random weird facts, and worldly Easter eggs to find. The high life, though not for everyone, has a certain appeal, which is why so many people migrate to New York and its higher standard of living.

But for all its worth to the people who enjoy the minutes of stardom the City gives them, I would say it is a valid trade. It is a city that holds immense culture, experience, and people. It also very occasionally makes small-town dreams a reality, and really, what more can you ask for in a city?

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Khushahal Malakar