Ten Things You Don’t Know About New York City – Even If You Live There!

Your GypsyNesters found the wild, weird and wonderful not-so-known sights, sounds and flavors of The Big Apple!

Even if you are a New Yorker –  we bet you don’t know most of these!

The dirty patch on the ceiling of Grand Central StationThere is a dirty rectangle on the ceiling of Grand Central Station. When the ceiling of the main concourse was restored in 1994-98, a patch was left untouched to show just how filthy it had been.

It took us forever to find it, but now that we know it’s there, we can’t stop picking at it.

The lions in front of the New York Public Library are named Patience and Fortitude. This is Fortitude, and the easiest way to tell them apart is that Fortitude is closest to 42nd Street. Get it? 42/fortitude?

The lions in front of the Public Library have names – and a cool way to remember them: Patience and Fortitude are the two lions that guard the entrance to the massive archives. Fortitude is pictured above, and the easiest way to tell them apart is that Fortitude is closest to 42nd Street. –> 42=fortitude!

See more about our adventures at the NYC Public Library!

Governor's Island at the beach in New York City

There’s a “tropical beach” off the coast of Manhattan. We found a place to get our feet in the sand without straying far from Manhattan! We took the free ferry ride, rented bikes and spent the day in (relative) quiet on Governor’s Island.

The island boasts a fort, an outdoor art gallery along the bike and foot paths, laid-back attitude and a sandy beach — complete with a snack shack and plastic palms.

We discovered new sides of Lady Liberty and the busy heliport across the channel. A perfect tropical getaway in the middle of the city.

George Washington lived here: The first executive mansion was at what is now the base of the Brooklyn Bridge

The first “White House” was where the Brooklyn Bridge now stands:
After looking high and low, peaking through fences and around construction barriers, we got a peek at a decrepit old inscription marking the spot of the The Samuel Osgood House, our nation’s first executive mansion.

Yes, all that is left of the site where George Washington lived and worked as our first president is a dirty old marker on an abutment of the Brooklyn Bridge.

See more about what’s left of colonial NYC

NYC pizza tours

There are tours dedicated to the history of pizza in NYC: If there is one food that screams New York City from the top of the Empire State Building, it has got to be pizza.

How did this happen? We didn’t know, but we do now–because we took a pizza tour!

See all of our adventures in New York City!

40% of the NYC subway is above ground

40% of the subway system is above ground. And it’s LOUD. The trains rumble noisily overhead — setting off car alarms in their wake, but they’re still referred to as subways.

Other subway fun facts:
-Over five million people ride on an average day.
-There are 840 miles of track.
-The deepest station is on 191st Street in Manhattan at 180 feet below street level.
-Back when tokens were still in use, thieves would suck tokens from the turnstiles with their mouths. Yuck!

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Manhattan’s Little Italy is not the only game in town. The Bronx version might be even better. We love Saturdays on Arthur Avenue when the markets are in full swing.

Fight little old ladies for the best cuts and finest cheeses before settling down to some of the most delicious Italian food this side of the Atlantic.

Whispering Wall at Grand Central Station

The Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Station. Walk around Grand Central Station until you find the Oyster Bar Restaurant and a bunch of folks who look like they just got sent to “time out.” Were these folks exceptionally naughty? Nope, they are sending secrets to each other via the Whispering Gallery.

Whisper into one corner and a buddy can hear it behind you in the opposite one all the way across the hall! We tried it out — it really works! Kinda creepy, but fun.

The Library Hotel in NYC

There’s a hotel based on the Dewey Decimal System: Books are everywhere at the Library Hotel and, from the moment we checked in at the card catalogue-decorated front desk in the shelf-lined lobby, to the hundreds of titles in each room that correspond to its number in the Dewey Decimal System.

For example, our room, 905, is based on 900.005 in the famous library-organizing system, which is the travel and geography category. Absolutely a perfect fit for us, and we fell asleep blissfully reading of far-off places every night.

See more about our stay as Writers-in-Residence at the Library Hotel!

Batteries on the subway tracks

There are ALWAYS batteries on the subway tracks. A great mystery to us. Every station, every time. We always look and they are always there.

Why? What are they used for? Are they left over from back in the days when walkmans used AAs?

Is this where all of the “batteries not included” end up?

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

If you want to make your travel hassle-free and more fun, make sure to use  Vertoe which is America’s Leading Daily Luggage Storage Service with 300+ locations, Vertoe is America’s first highly rated daily luggage storage provider near you starting at $5.95/day/item. Book Luggage storage in NYC, near most happening places like Midtown, JFK airport, Port authority, grand central, Brooklyn, Penn station & more. Items are insured up to $5000. Also, read 10 tips for new york.

See all of our adventures in New York City!

YOUR turn: How many did you know? Did we stump you? Have you got one to share?

This post may contain sponsored links.

Did you enjoy what you just read? Then you'll LOVE our book!
Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All Going Gypsy One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All 

- See how it all began!
ORDER NOW - Wherever Books Are Sold!
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - IndieBound - Books-a-Million
Also available as an audiobook from Audible.com

29 thoughts on “Ten Things You Don’t Know About New York City – Even If You Live There!”

  1. Aaah, why did I not know these things when I was in New York this summer?! Will keep this in mind for next time! 🙂

  2. I have a good one. Did you know there is a piece of the Berlin Wall tucked in an urban cafe style park called 53rd st. Plaza we had a heck of a time finding it and knew we were near. I asked New Yorkers over and over and none knew. One sweet (of the many kind nyers we encountered) noticed we were looking for something and offered to help locate on her phone. Then directed us. Found it! That was a thrill for me as I hadn’t seen this before. Very moving.

  3. The batteries are from littering subway workers flashlights, they keep the tracks as clean as they can themselves.

  4. It’s called Grand Central “Terminal”, not Station. Grand Central Station is the subway station beneath G C Terminal, as all the Metro North trains “terminate” here.

  5. Bahaha! This is amazing! We love New York and have never noticed half of these things. My fav is number 7. Thanks for posting!

  6. I think this is the first time I’ve seen your new site look – love it! Really enjoyed learning these things about NYC – I’m always learning more about the city.

  7. I saw this as I was in New York and immediately had to head to Grand Central to see the Whispering Gallery. It’s really a quirky aspect to the terminal. I didn’t spot the dirty rectangle however.

  8. I think my favorite part of NY was that there is a store for everything. My favorite when I was kid was a sci fi store. I do not know if it is there anymore but if it is not I am sure there is a new one somewhere.

    I hope you are enjoying NY

  9. NYC street food is the best. I used to work in midtown Manhattan and often had shish kebab or felafel for lunch.

    Here's another little known thing about New York. There's a waterfall in Bronx Park, right next to the Bronx Zoo.

  10. The main street in manhattan, Broadway, was first called the Wiechquaekeck Trail. Broadway is a little catchier, I think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.