78 Curiosities Of New York That Will Surprise You

Marching a dose of New York trivia! When you walk the streets for the first time, you don’t know where to look. Everything is a constant surprise: the buildings, the people, the rhythm of the city.

After a few years living here, some aspects of the Big Apple are already ‘normal.’ However, others continue to hallucinate us as much as the first day.

For this reason, today, we collect 54 curiosities that will surprise you, details that, for us, make this city of madness unique in the world. Tell us in the comments what surprised you the most!

Would you like to know about Auto Transport in New York?


People greet with a how are you. When you enter any store or restaurant, they greet you with a Hi, how are you? (Hi, how are things?). The funny thing is that it is not a rhetorical question: the usual thing is to answer it and ask the other person how they are.

Even those will ask you how the day is going if you have done something interesting. As if you have known each other forever, even if you only go for a coffee!

… and says goodbye wishing you a good day. When you leave a place, instead of saying bye, the usual thing is to say  Have a great day or  Have a good one

American flags fly everywhere. On the street, in front of homes, in shops … After the attack on the World Trade Center, the sale of flags grew a lot, and today you will see the Stars and Stripes throughout the city.

People eat out every day.  Stop by a restaurant any day of the week, and you will find it as bustling as if it were Saturday. New Yorkers, especially young people, cook little (tiny kitchens in the flats do not help), and eating out is very common.

People eat out every day.  Stop by a restaurant any day of the week, and you will find it as bustling as if it were Saturday. New Yorkers, especially young people, cook little (tiny kitchens in the flats do not help), and eating out is very common.

Food delivery men pedal the streets at all hours. If eating out is typical, asking for food to be brought home ( take-out ) through websites like Seamless is even more so.

Delivery drivers often use bicycles, and they often ride on the sidewalk or in the opposite direction to go faster. 

The sirens of the ambulances are deafening. And those of the fire trucks, too. The sound is so loud that you can hear it from blocks away.

The streets are (very) dirty. Anyone who expects to find the pristine streets of the movies will be surprised by sidewalks full of garbage bags and filth. 

There are few supermarkets and many delisYes, there are chains like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but New York has few supermarkets with various products compared to many cities.

Instead, you will find a deli or winery on every corner; mini-supermarkets often open 24 hours that sell everything from food to necessities.

However, there are thousands of pharmacies large chains that sell medicines, beauty, and cosmetic products, household products, and some industrial foods at the same time.

They are usually more expensive than supermarkets, but they are everywhere. The most famous chains are Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

Everyone walks around with a cup of coffee in hand. Even if you’re not in a rush, most people buy their coffee to go, to go. You will see many people sipping their drink on the street, in the subway …

Cafeterias are offices. While some order their coffee to go, others plant the laptop on a table and turn the cafeteria into their office. The first time we entered a cafeteria and saw all the tables full of young people working on their Macs, we were amazed. Still, we soon realized that it is something ubiquitous: for the price of a coffee, you can spend a few hours working connected to the  Wi-Fi free without anyone harassing you.

Rush hour on the subway tests patience.  At rush hour, the cars get so crowded that you can’t even move your arms. But it does not end there: if you have to change at a bustling station, such as Union Square when you get off the car, you will have to join the human tide and queue to get to the stairs, queue to go up, queue to get on the next metro…

Curiosities Of New York

If you can, avoid the rush hour  (more or less between 7:30 and 9 in the morning and 4:30 and 6 in the afternoon).

All restaurants are rated with a letter A, B, or Changing at the entrance. The health department carries out surprise inspections and assigns a letter to the restaurants according to the irregularities it finds (hygiene, food handling, pests …).

The best grade they can get is an A and the worst a C. The truth is that we have rarely seen C letters, but B’s are pretty standard. Look at the lyrics before choosing a restaurant!

The streets are lined with food carts, which give off a characteristic smell of spices from afar.

Typical New York food carts sell coffees, bagels,  hot dogs,  pretzels,  and Middle Eastern or Asian dishes, with chicken, lamb,  falafels,  and rice, for about $ 6. The funny thing is that they attract all kinds of customers, from students to workers in suits.

New Yorkers love lines. The 50-minute queue for brunch? Of course. The queue to enter the cinema? Tell me who the last is. Thirty minutes for free ice cream? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

New Yorkers seem to have a magnet for the queues: they see people waiting in the street, and they are at the end.

People walk very, very fast. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a hurry or not: when everyone around you is walking briskly, you mimic them and also start walking at lightning speed without realizing it.

When we return to New York after spending a few days abroad, we are always surprised (and a little stressed) by the pace of the pedestrians.

Brooklyn and Queens also have skyscrapers. Manhattan gets all the praise, but boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens are also starting to build towering skyscrapers. Of course, the claim they use to promote themselves is the views of Manhattan that you have from the upper floors.

The meter is a parallel universe. Inside the wagons, some put on makeup, devour chicken wings, groups of young people who do acrobatics on the bars ( it’s showtime! ), Preachers who assure that doomsday is approaching, homeless who sleep lying on the seats …

And the platforms are full of musicians playing drums or singing, vendors of churros dragging their carts, artists who sell their paintings.

It is not strange to see famous people. It is no myth: between the filming of series and movies in the streets, the signatures after Broadway plays, and the premieres and red carpets in New York, you may come across more than one famous person.

In addition, many personalities live in relative anonymity in the city since the paparazzi and flashes do not persecute them in the same way as in Los Angeles and other places.

Steam escapes from the sewers of Manhattan. Indeed you have ever seen an orange chimney releasing a cloud of smoke on the city streets.

It is steam from the underground pipes that supply buildings. One of those curiosities of New York that we already associate with the city automatically, right? 

Most prices do not include taxes. The prices of most objects and services do not include taxes, which usually amount to 8.87% of the total. For example, a dish that is advertised at $ 10 will end up costing you $ 10.9.

Everything is ten times bigger (minus the floors). The soft drinks, the dishes, the food in the supermarkets… Everything is American size: even the cats are the fattest we have ever seen!

Each store has its ATM. Although they accept card payments, stores and restaurants usually have their ATMs, automated teller machines on the front or inside the business. The usual thing is that they charge you a small commission (about $ 2) for withdrawing money.

And also his bank on the street, next to the door. They are supposed to be benches for the establishment’s clients, but, in practice, they have become another part of the urban landscape that everyone uses to sit down for a while, have a coffee 

Many people do not have curtains on their windows. This is not exclusive to New York, as it happens in many American cities, but it still makes us very strange to walk down the street and see someone preparing dinner at home, a family sitting in front of the TV 

Nobody gets rid of pests. Rats in the streets and the subway, cockroaches in homes, bed bugs in mattresses … Not even the cleanest and most refined are spared from fighting at some point against the pests of the city.

Neither of the squirrels, although, luckily, they are much more adorable than the other pests. You will not only find them in parks but also in residential neighborhoods, browsing the streets and even climbing over electrical wiring.

New York pizza is an institution. Forget everything you’ve learned about pizzas in Italy: in the Big Apple, the star is the New York Style Pizza, with a thin crust and an oily surface.
It is bought in portions, the slices, and eaten by folding the 

Pedestrian traffic lights do not turn green but white. This is how they indicate that you can cross. But, in addition, two seconds after the little man turns white, a red hand appears blinking, indicating that you hurry.

There are eight thousand types of bagels. Well, maybe not that many, but it won’t be easy to choose between the variety of these round muffins eaten for breakfast. The most famous is the plain  (with nothing), sesame  (with sesame seeds), and the everything bagel  (with a lot of seeds and spices on top).

The streets hide beautiful historical buildings. We all came to the city attracted by its most mythical skyscrapers, but, walking through the Big Apple, you will also come across other lesser-known architectural gems, but just as incredible.

A beer can cost you $ 8. The first time you open a drink menu in any restaurant, you may think you have read it wrong: $ 6- $ 9 for a beer, $ 10 for a glass of wine, $ 12- $ 15 for a cocktail …
Alcohol is sold at the price of blood. Unicorn; Luckily, until 7 

Alcohol is sold at the price of blood. Unicorn; Luckily, until 7 pm, many bars have happy hours with discounted drinks.

The waiters are super friendly. In restaurants, you are expected to leave a good tip, so the workers pamper you to the fullest: they fill your glass of water as soon as you drink a sip, they come every two for three to ask if everything is going well.

The Big Apple is not the only nickname for the city. Gotham, The City So Nice They Named it Twice, The City That Never Sleeps.

People walk a lot. Perhaps looking at the map, it seems a lot to you to walk 30 streets and two avenues to your destination. But, if the weather is more or less good, it is much more pleasant than getting on the subway or hailing a taxi that will most of the time end up stuck in traffic.

While in other places, you would take a 10-minute drive (here most people don’t), in New York, it’s normal to end up walking for an hour to go somewhere without even realizing it. It even seems close to you!

In Manhattan, a good part of the traffic corresponds to taxis, who hurry to reach their destination and drive like crazy, overtaking, changing lanes, and crossing the pedestrian crossings without any regard.

Jewish communities have a significant presence in the city. In New York, more than a million Jews (according to some sources, even close to two million) of different branches. You will see restaurants that are advertised as kosher and, at Christmas time, for each Christmas tree, you will also find Hanukkah decorations, such as the nine-branched chandelier.

The mythical yellow taxis lose ground. They are a classic in the city, but yellow taxis have been in the background since there are applications such as Uber or Lyft, which allow passengers to organize a trip through their mobile in a matter of minutes.

People leave the objects they no longer want in front of their houses. You will see that in residential neighborhoods beyond the center of Manhattan. People leave boxes in front of their homes with all kinds of objects they no longer need: books, utensils, clothes.

Many times, accompanied by Free posters. We love this kind of neighborhood reuse network; it’s one of the best curiosities in New York!

The diversity is incredible. Sometimes you have the feeling that in New York, there is no one from New York, that we have all ended up here from other corners of the world.

Enjoying the diversity of people, cultures, and cuisines that coexist in the city is incredible.

More than 800 languages ​​are spoken in New York. Speaking of diversity, this data is incredible. The most widely spoken are English, Spanish and Chinese. And Russian, French-based Creole languages, and languages ​​like Hindi and Urdu follow closely behind. And, even if you communicate in English with people, it is widespread for each person to speak it with their accent.

People dress little. Even in the depths of winter, when the city is snowy, and the cold is freezing, you will see people in sneakers and ankle-length pants. Meanwhile, you wear waterproof snow boots, a scarf that bulges more than your entire body, and earmuffs under the hat.

Manhattan has as many facets as neighborhoods. The typical images of the island are usually those of Times Square, the Financial District, Central Park …However, Manhattan has dozens of neighborhoods, each with its personality. You will be surprised how a few blocks can separate such different places. 

Standing in the middle of the sidewalk is one of New York’s deadly sins. It is an unwritten law: if you stop for a millisecond in the middle of the pavement to look at your mobile or the map, you are lost.

The tide of pedestrians walking at full speed behind you will turn into a herd of grumpy zombies. The best way to stop is at one end of the sidewalk or in a doorway.

Many museums are free. It might be surprising in a city where it sometimes seems like you’re spending dollars just breathing, but many museums offer free admission at least one day a week.

There are as many scaffolds as there are skyscrapers. Or more! The Big Apple is constantly being built and modified, and massive scaffolds are erected on almost any street. Strolling through New York, you will have to dodge them or walk through the corridors that they build under these giants.

The Statue of Liberty is much more miniature than it appears.  In the movies and aerial shots, Miss Liberty looks like a giant. But, although it is undoubtedly majestic, many people are surprised to observe it closely and see that it is smaller than they imagined.

You will see a lot of people sleeping and begging on the street. Perhaps one of the most shocking and saddening aspects of the city is seeing homeless people sleeping on the street even in the middle of winter, surrounded by cardboard and blankets.

Junk food can be cheaper than eating right. With McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King on every corner offering fast food for just a few dollars, it is surprising to walk into a supermarket and find that fresh food is so much more expensive.

Even so, don’t give up: here, you have alternatives to eat well and at a reasonable price in New York (and not drive home!).

Dogs are better cared for on the street than many people. At first, we were hallucinating when we saw people pushing dogs into a cart, as if they were babies with bows in their hair, clothes for every occasion …

Now it is one of those curiosities in New York that we hardly notice, but Deep down, they make us a little envious because they live better than many of us!

Neighborhoods are gentrifying with mind-boggling speed. Perhaps that almost abandoned industrial neighborhood you visited a few years ago today is one of the most expensive and modern in the city, full of yoga studios, juice shops, and art galleries. New York and its neighborhoods are changing by leaps and bounds.

There are police patrols on horseback. Indeed you’ve seen a picture of a mounted police officer in New York. They usually patrol the Times Square area, although they also exist in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. In total, in 2016, in the city, there were 55 police horses.

Fire escapes are hardly used. They are one of the most picturesque features of New York, but although you always see people using them in movies, the truth is that most of them are so old and rusty that they are hardly used.

Did you know that it is forbidden to place anything on them (not even plants) so as not to obstruct the escape route? Although there are always those who turn them into their private balcony, chairs, table, and barbecue included.

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