Feel free to impress your next date with these Manhattan facts few people know:
I was talking to a friend yesterday about the fact that no matter how long we live in Manhattan, we will never walk every inch of pavement, see every street, or discover all the secrets it holds. Even when you think you have a hold on things, the city has a way of smacking you hard in the face and reminding you that you will never fully figure it out, because it is ever-changing and expanding like a vagina that constantly gives birth to equal parts of creativity and angst. Still, there are a few long-standing secrets about the island that hold true to this day, so I have collected five of them here.
Manhattan was originally purchased for $24.
Way back in 1609, a man named Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from Native Americans for $24, which equals out to about $1,050 in today’s economy. At the time, Manhattan was heavily colonized by the Lenape Indians, who had already started stamping out a foot trail where Broadway stands to this day.
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It is possible to catch a run of green lights.
We have all been in that cutesy cab scenario where we catch a million green lights and actually make it somewhere early. That isn’t a coincidence. The lights in the city are programmed so that if you go about 28 mph, you can catch every green light.
6½ Avenue DOES exist.
It may not really be officially recognized, but there is a semi-hidden pedestrian walkway called 6 ½ avenue that stretches from 51st to 57th Street. I don’t know about you, but I personally feel like 6½ is the perfect number.
The city’s first subway was built in secret.
Invented by Alfred Ely Beach, the first underground railway met a lot of opposition, so in 1869, he secretly built a full-size prototype that stretched under Broadway from Warren to Murray Street. He then unveiled it as a surprise. The original was eventually destroyed, obviously, because humans.
Manhattan DOES have a main street.
I know you probably think Broadway is main street, but technically there is an actual Main Street on Roosevelt Island, which is legally part of Manhattan. Seriously, if you haven’t been to Roosevelt Island, hop on that tram (it takes your metrocard), and spend a day relaxing in the peace and quiet, and weirdness of Manhattan’s crazy younger sister.
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