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12 Facts about New York City You May Not Know

Last Reviewed and Updated on June 7, 2022

New York City is one of the most iconic metropolises in the world, a hub for culture and commerce. However, there is more to NYC than just what you see on the surface; it has a colorful history and many unique things to offer. Read on and learn some of the most interesting facts about New York City.

1. New York is the most populous city in the United States

We’re kicking off this list of facts about New York City with numbers. With over 8 million people living in New York, this city is the largest in the United States. It has more than twice the population of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the United States.

While the largest in the US it still does not make the list of the top 10 most populous cities in the world.

2. It consists of 5 boroughs

New York consists of five boroughs, each of them so unique enough that they could be easily considered separate cities. The boroughs are The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

3. It’s the most linguistically diverse city in the world

There are about 800 different languages spoken in NYC, which makes this city the most linguistically diverse in the entire world.

English is the most spoken language, followed by Spanish, Chinese, Italian…

4. It was first named New Amsterdam, but was later renamed New York

What we now know as New York City, started as a trading post founded by Dutch colonists in around 1624, and the settlement was named New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam) in 1626. It was charted as a city a year later.

When the city came under the control of the English in 1664 it was renamed New York.

5. It was renamed again, to New Orange (for a year and 3 months)

The Dutch regained the city in 1673 and renamed it New Orange, a name that lasted for one year and three months. After that, it was renamed again to New York in 1674 and the name was unchanged since then.

6. The Statue of Liberty was gifted by the French

It was a gift given by the French to commemorate the alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution.

7. In the precolonial era, the NYC area was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans

The present-day area of New York City was inhabited by the Algonquian Native Americans.

8. The first pizzeria in the US opened its doors in New York City

One of the coolest facts about New York City is about one of the coolest foods. Pizza is one of those dishes that has managed to spread to almost every corner of the world and is the most popular food on the planet. It’s a popular dish in the United States and it was in New York where the first-ever pizzeria in the US opened its doors.

Lombardi’s pizzeria opened all the way back in 1905 in the Little Italy section of Manhattan where it can still be found today. This particular pizzeria is also where the famous New York Style pizza was developed.

9. It’s nicknamed “The Big Apple”

You are probably familiar with New York City’s nickname “The Big Apple”, but do you know how it got this nickname?

It all started with a column for the New York Morning Telegraph written by a sports journalist John J. Fitz Gerald. He was writing about many of the horse races in the areas and more specifically about the prizes, which he referred to as “the big apple”. The term started gaining traction and was adapted by musicians and show biz in general.

Later on, in 1971 an advertising campaign was launched, aimed at tourists, making the big red apple the logo of the city.

10. Central Park is the most filmed location in the world

There are many popular filming locations across the world but none made it to as many movies as the central park did. The location can be seen and is credited in more than 500 different movies. It’s the superstar celebrity of movie locations.

11. Empire State Building was the first building to exceed 100 floors

Empire State Building is one of the most well-known buildings in the entire world. When it was built in 1931 it was the first building to ever exceed 100 floors and it was the tallest building at that time.

It stood as the tallest building for almost 40 years, until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1970.

12. Times Square is often referred as “the Crossroads of the World”

Being a major commercial intersection, entertainment center, and tourist destination, Times Square is always very lively so it’s no wonder it’s often nicknamed the crossroads of the world.

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