New York City celebrates its 350th birthday on Sept. 8 after being officially renamed from New Amsterdam. Here's a list of wacky, weird and wonderful facts about one of the greatest places in the world.
1. The Interborough Rapid Transit Subway was the first subway company in New York City. On Oct. 27, 1904, the first subway line opened.
Some facts: 10,000 men were employed to construct the subway. More than 71,000 tons of steel and nearly 10,000 tons of cast iron were used as well as more than half a million yards of concrete and nearly a million square yards of waterproofing.
2. The longest-running show on Broadway is Phantom of the Opera. It officially opened on Jan. 26, 1988.
3. Strawberry Fields, a living memorial to John Lennon, is designated as a quiet zone in Central Park, meaning dogs, running, rollerblading and bike riding are prohibited.
Historical photos of New York
4. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's gold vault is on the basement floor. As of 2012, the vault housed about 530,000 gold bars, which weigh about 6,700 tons. The vault is able to support the weight because it sits on the bedrock of Manhattan Island, according to the Federal Reserve website.
5. The iconic Hudson River, where Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III miraculously landed a plane in 2009, was first explored by Henry Hudson in 1609.
6. Weekend at The Waldorf in 1945 was the first major motion picture filmed completely in a hotel and outside of Hollywood's studios.
A flock of pigeons try to steal horses' food in NYC's Central Park.
7. There were 19,651,127 people living in New York compared with 316,128,839 living in the USA in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.
8. The original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx was baseball's first triple-decked structure, according to MLB.com. It would also be the first to be called a "stadium."
9. Leslie Buck designed the signature Anthora cardboard coffee cup, which was first used in the 1960s. The simple text, though there have been variations, was "We Are Happy To Serve You." Variations of the cup have been sold as tourist memorabilia, including mugs, change purses, tote bags and cuff links.
10. In 1883, The Times dropped its daily price to 2 cents on weekdays to compete with The Sun and The World. The daily crossword puzzle was introduced in 1950. Now, seven-day delivery of The New York Times costs under $9 a week. (That's with the 50% off the regular subscription rate). And home subscribers get unlimited access to digital platforms.
11. Where does the term "The Big Apple" come from when referring to New York? According to Barry Popik, it was a phrase from the New York Morning Telegraph sports writer John J. Fitz Gerald in the 1920s. In one column, he said: "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York."
12. In 1976, the Empire State Building Observatory welcomed its 50 millionth visitor. And in 1980 the building got its own ZIP code: 10118.
13. According to the New York City Department of Homeless Services, the annual survey found 3,357 unsheltered individuals living on the streets, parks and in other public spaces of the city this January. It is a 6% increase over the previous year.
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