NYC Odds and Ends

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Tue 19 Jul 2011 22:57
Some Odds and Ends and a Few Factoids of New York City
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The James A. Farley Post Office Building is the main post office building in New York City. Its ZIP code designation is 10001. Built in 1912, the building is famous for bearing the inscription: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. In 1982, the post office was officially designated The James A. Farley Building, as a monument and testament to the political career of the nation's 53rd Postmaster General. The Farley Post Office is home to "Operation Santa," made famous in the classic 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street, although we love the Richard Attenborough remake and watch it every Christmas. The post office is open three hundred and sixty five days a year, twenty four hours a day. Apparently there is a fashion (and queue) to send a postcard at midnight on New Year’s Eve to get the postmark 01 / 01 / ---- sent from 10001. 


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  • Over 10,000 books have been written about the city.
  • 44,000,000 annual visitors to NYC, 7,000,000 are international.
  • Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were served ice cream, baffled many tried to spread it on their bread.
  • Only about 45% of the population bother to own a car in New York City. Parking is a real issue here.
  • The taxi drivers speak over sixty languages between them. They are eighty five nationalities amongst them.
  • No one really knows who invented the first bra, but Manhattan socialite Mary Phelps Jacobs, who improvised an undergarment out of two handkerchiefs and pink ribbon, was the first to patent one. Unfortunately the brassiere company Jacobs created could not make a profit, so she sold the design, quite happy with the $1,500 she received. Years later that very design was sold for $15,000,000.
  • In the late 1920's there were more than 150 mini golf courses on New York roof tops - as stress relievers to the bankers and brokers.
  • 500 feet is the distance required by zoning between a strip club and a school.
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  • In 1961, the Matisse painting the Boat, hung upside-down for two months at the Museum of Modern Art. None of the 116,000 visitors noticed. What have I always said...
  • Two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo were engaged in a stable relationship. When they had been together six years the zookeepers noticed them trying to hatch a rock, they entrusted them with an extra egg from another pair of penguins and the boys did a good job: Tango, a female, was born approximately five weeks later.
  • $528,783,552,000 is the estimated value of the 843 acres of Central Park. It is home to 51 sculptures and 29 is the maximum number of model boats allowed on Conservatory Water (the sailboat pond).
  • While the United Nations sits squarely on the east side of Manhattan, the land it occupies is an international zone with its own postal service, fire department and security force.
  • Central Park comprises its own US Census tract (number 143, to be exact), and according to the last report, the park’s population was 12 males and 6 females with an average age of 38.5 years.
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  • The black spots visible on sidewalks all over the city are discarded pieces of chewing gum that have hardened and over time have become imbedded in the concrete. On a really busy sidewalk there may be as many as one hundred and twenty per square. We found a ‘clean place’ tucked away and a main walkway to show the difference.
  • Since 2001 more people have sent postcards of the World Trade Centre than any other building in the world.
  • When telephone area codes were first assigned, New York, the largest city in the country (and hence the one most frequently called), was given 212 because it took the least amount of time to dial on a rotary telephone.
  • The most common surname in the NYC telephone book is Rodriguez – followed by Williams, Smith, Brown and Rivers.
  • Of the five boroughs in NYC, Brooklyn has the most people (2.5 million); Queens is the largest in terms of area.
  • Author Washington Irving gave New York City the nickname “Gotham,” in an issue of Salmagundi, a satirical periodical. He didn’t coin it, however: Gotham is the name of an English city where all the residents once faked insanity to discourage the king from settling there, knowing that his taking up residence would have raised their taxes.
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  • There are sixty horses in the NYPD on active duty
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in the Bronx, where he learned to speak Yiddish.
  • There are more Irish people in New York City than in any other city in the world; the same goes for Jews, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. Also more Brazilians in NYC than in any area outside South America, more Greeks than in any city outside Greece, and more Chinese than in any city outside Asia.
  • The first roller coaster in the world was built at Coney Island in 1884.
  • 60 ashtrays a day were stolen from the Stork Club on east 53rd street during its heyday in the 1950’s.
  • The kitchen at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in midtown has a meat locker with its own security system. 
  • An unbelievably rude waiter at Oscar’s Tavern so amused Muppet creator Jim Henson and Sesame Street director Jon Stone that he inspired the creation of Oscar the Grouch.
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  • The all-boys Collegiate School was founded in 1628, making it the oldest school in the United States.
  • There are roughly twenty blocks going north / south to a mile.
  • The angel on top of the Cathedral of St Divine was the creation of sculptor John Gutzon Borglum, best known as the designer of Mt. Rushmore
  • One explanation for New York's nickname "The Big Apple" goes like this: In the 1920's, there were four important racetracks in and around the city and one in upstate Saratoga. To the stable boys who worked with the horses, New York City was seen as working "the big time" and took to calling it the "Big Apple". Credit for making the nickname stick with a wider audience was when racing newspaperman John Fitzgerald (also in the 1920's), for the Morning Telegraph in a column he dubbed "Around the Big Apple".
  • Half of all the world's skyscrapers of fifty stories or more are in new York City.
  • The restaurant exterior featured in Seinfeld belongs to Tom’s Restaurant at West 112th Street and Broadway, the same restaurant immortalised in the Suzanne Vega song “Tom’s Diner”.
  • The East River isn’t actually a river, but a tidal estuary – an arm of the sea where salt water meets fresh water running off the land.
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  • A little unusual, we found ourselves looking at three gorgeous and rather big fish tanks whilst waiting for the ferry on Staten Island, this handsome angel fish just one of many.
  • Once a common type of residence, the “walk-up” is slowly vanishing from the New York City landscape and lexicon, due to the fact that, since 1987, any new residential building of more than two stories is required by law to have an elevator.
  • 530,000 dogs call NYC home.
  • 1,787 residents one hundred years of age or older.
  • 11,000 tons of garbage per day are generated in NYC
  • The cockroach most common in New York City apartments is the German cockroach; the most prevalent rat is the Norwegian rat.
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  • As of April 2010 there are 23,499 restaurants in New York City. Bear’s favourite just up the road from the marina served this turkey dinner – complete with gherkin and salad garnish for the princely sum of three pounds and sixty pence.
  • All the boroughs except Manhattan have a "Main Street".
  • On the 16th of April 1912, the Titanic was supposed to dock at Chelsea Pier, its final destination.
  • Between 5’6” and 5’10” to be a Rockette. Thirty six Rockettes to the dance line doing two hundred “eye-high” kicks per show with nine costume changes.
  • The most frequently stolen car is the Honda Accord – ten to fifteen years old to be stripped for parts.
  • $160,000 was the amount paid to the Beatles for their Shea Stadium concert on the 15th of August 1965.
  • When the Monkees played several concerts in 1967 at the West Side Tennis Club in Queens, their unbilled opening act was a young Jimi Hendrix. 
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  • There are 6,000,000 manhole covers in New York City, weighing in at three hundred pounds.
  • New York City zip code 10021, Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has generated more money for presidential candidates than any other zip code in the country.
  • The original American Express card was introduced in New York City in 1958. For the first year, it was made of paper, not plastic – and for the first eleven years, it was purple, not green.
  • Donald Trump’s first major real estate deal was converting the Commodore Hotel, next to Grand Central Station, into the Grand Hyatt in 1980.
  • Between 1980 and 2000, NYC had more than 2,000 inoperative fire hydrants (from 34th Street south to Battery Park) whose only purpose was to generate revenue in parking fines.
  • In the late 1970’s, graphic sex scenes for the porno classic Debbie Does Dallas were secretly filmed in the library stacks at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, one of the most highly regarded art colleges in the country.
  • Several window cleaners lose their lives each year cleaning the ‘between one and infinity’ windows. 65,000 alone in the Empire State Building.
  • The black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes of Breakfast in Tiffany’s sold in 2006 for $807,000.
  • The famous shot of Marilyn Monroe’s dress blowing up as she stands over the subway grate was originally filmed on location at 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Crowd noise made Billy Wilder re-stage the entire scene on the 20th Century Fox movie studio lot. It took forty takes before Marilyn got her lines right.
  • 14 per cent of NYC is parks and gardens
  • It takes an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes to swim around the island of Manhattan.
  • 674 places in NYC are on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Yankees great Lou Gehrig was the first to appear on a box of Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions”.
  • Charles Dow, the financial reporter who founded the Wall Street Journal and created the Dow Jones Industrial Average, never graduated from high school.
  • The largest Sunday edition of the New York Times was delivered on the 14th of September 1987; it was 1,612 pages and weighed twelve pounds – pity the paper boys who had to fight with that.