Being an avid traveler, explorer, runner, and fan of everything relating to New York City, I wanted to share with AlleyWatch some of my favorite facts about the “Big Apple”.
1 – The Bronx is NYC’s only borough that is part of mainland North America. (Note: Marble Hill, which was considered to be part of the Bronx until the rerouting of the Harlem River in the late 1800s, is in Manhattan but also part of mainland North America.)
2 – In conjunction with fun fact #1, there is only one way to walk from Manhattan to mainland North America (while staying in New York City) without encountering vehicular traffic. High Bridge is the only pedestrian bridge to connect Manhattan and the Bronx; it reopened this summer after being closed for 40 years.
3 – Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse is Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse, AKA “Little Red Lighthouse”, located under the George Washington Bridge. The lighthouse’s nickname comes from Hildegarde H. Swift’s & Lynd Ward’s 1942 book, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”.
4 – Todt Hill in Staten Island maintains the highest natural elevation on the East Coast, from Cape Cod to Florida.
5 – The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world.
6 – There is a “secret” track from Grand Central Station, Track 61, which was first used in 1938 and most notably used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his time in office. FDR used Track 61 to take him to the “Waldorf (Astoria) Platform”, where he would sneak into the hotel to possibly shield the fact he was in a wheelchair, suffering from polio.
7 – The border of Brooklyn and Queens has been a historical issue for residents of both boroughs. Prior to the 1980s, street signs were color-coded by borough to eliminate confusion, ie. if you were in Queens the signs consisted of blue letters on a white background, in Brooklyn the signs consisted of white letters on a black background.
8 – The Statue Of Liberty/Liberty Island is actually located in New Jersey waters, although generally considered to be part of New York.
9 – Roosevelt Island is the only residential area in the United States to use an AVAC (Automated Vacuum Collection) system to get rid of waste.
10 – The highest street number in Manhattan is 228th Street.
Image credit: CC by John Cunniff