Weird Facts about NYC Even New Yorkers May Not Know 


There’s more to the city that never sleeps than meets the eye. Apart from the obvious advancement and beauty New York City is known for, we’re here to delve into the weird, the peculiar, and the strange side of the city that hides behind the facade of skyscrapers and night lights. Some weird facts about NYC are sure to pique your interest—well enough so that you would be interested in traveling to the city itself. As for New Yorkers and seasoned migrants who think that they know everything there is about the city, some of these may stump even you.

5 Weird facts about NYC

1. New York City? More like New Amsterdam

Saying the name “New York City” rolls off the tongue just right, so imagine if the city had a different name. Would it be as satisfying to say or hear it out loud? Probably not—especially once you find out that the city was once called New Amsterdam. 

The origin of the name New Amsterdam came from the Dutch, as they were the first settlers to arrive in the area in 1624. The name didn’t last long, as it was soon replaced in 1664, when the English came and changed the name of the city in honor of the Duke of York. 

Another fascinating fact about the city is that several street names were once written and called in Dutch. Take Wall Street as an example; it was formerly known as Waal Straat, and Brooklyn was formerly known as Breukelen. 

2. Nov. 28, 2012 was the most peaceful day for New York—ever

It’s sad to think that this never happened again, but on the 28th of November, 2012, crimes took a vacation. Imagine that a city like New York didn’t experience a single crime that day, and that’s as peaceful as the city can get. 

3. English muffins weren’t created in the UK 

What? English muffins weren’t created in the UK? Now we all know that everything we ever knew about this breakfast delicacy has been a lie. 

Don’t be too bummed out because the person who actually invented this pre-cut crumpet was a Brit named Samuel Bath Thomas, and his creation was all made in the land of the free—the US. 

4. Washington Square Park is an actual burial site 

The Washington Square Park hides under the guise of a normal park—nothing out of the ordinary, right? But what if we told you that this popular tourist spot was an cemetery until 1825? 

A staggering 20,000 bodies are buried beneath the park. So, the next time you visit the park, keep in mind that you’re standing directly above the deceased. 

5. The Bronx Zoo had a scandalous past 

This fact is hard to swallow, especially when the city’s reputation is at stake. Sadly, the city can’t deny this particular scandal because it’s been recorded in history and because evidence of it is scattered all over the internet. 

Basically, this scandal took place at the Bronx Zoo, where they decided to have a black man named Ota Benga displayed in one of their monkey enclosures for white folk to gawk at and view as “amusing.” 

Although the current administration at the Bronx Zoo has apologized for this racial slander, the dark past of the zoo will never be forgotten, and truth be told, no amount of apology can ever make up for the trauma Benga experienced during his time at the zoo. 


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting the Village Voice and our advertisers.