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41 Facts About New York City That Will Blow Your Mind

High Line Park was once called "Death Avenue."

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1. Doyers Street in Chinatown has a rare 90-degree curve called the "bloody angle" which was once home to the most murders per square foot in New York City.

2. The "Seaman-Drake arch" is a large marble arch that sits at Broadway and 215th Street. It originally served as the entrance to a long, winding driveway that led to a mansion that belonged to the Seaman family.

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3. There is a secret basement ten stories below Grand Central and it was guarded so heavily during WWII that you would be shot on sight if you ventured down to it.

4. The listed train departure times at Grand Central Station are wrong. Each train leaves a minute later than indicated, so commuters have a little extra time to catch their train.

5. Grand Central has a "whispering gallery". If two people stand at opposite arches, you can whisper to one another and still be heard.

6. Underneath the Waldorf-Astoria hotel there is a secret train platform. It's rumored that it was used by President Franklin Roosevelt so he could avoid the public while traveling.

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7. There's a boat graveyard in Staten Island and it's where dozens of abandoned and decomposing boats go for their final resting place.

8. St. Augustine's Episcopal Church has slave galleries--two concealed rooms behind the balcony, where African-American worshippers could hear a service without being seen.

9. A Cold War bomb shelter was found in the Brooklyn Bridge in 2006, still stocked with crackers, medical supplies and water drums.

10. An insane asylum used to sit in place of Columbia University. The only remnants of the asylum are a series of tunnels beneath the university and Buell Hall, the oldest building on campus.

11. The site now known as High Line Park was once called "Death Avenue" due to the amount of freight train accidents that occurred there.

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12. There's a place in Ozone Park that is detached from New York City's sewer system and it is known as "the hole." The hole is "notorious for mobster activity" and the bodies of many mobsters have been discovered there.

13. North Brother Island is an abanonded island in the East River. It was the place where Typhoid Mary died and in the 1950s it was where drug addicts were "banished and locked in a room until they were clean."

14. If New York City's population density was the same as Alaska's, there would be about 28 people in the city.

15. During the Great Depression, residents of Times Square moved uptown where the rent was cheaper. Saloons, brothels, burlesque halls and dime houses were built in their place, giving Times Square a scandalous reputation until the '80s.

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16. If a homeless New Yorker dies and cannot be identified, he is buried on Hart Island in the East River using prison labor. The island is a cemetery of countless unmarked graves.

17. Scrabble, the teddy bear, and the deep-fried Twinkie were invented in NYC.

18. Commercial toilet paper was also invented in New York City!

19. Bowery is currently one of the most upscale places in New York City, but it was once so run down that 25,000 homeless people slept on the street each night.

20. Every time a President comes into town, they stay in the Waldorf-Astoria's presidential suite, which is equipped with bulletproof glass windows.

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21. Cabs are yellow because salesman John Hertz determined that yellow is the color that "stands out strongest at a distance."

22. From the rooftop of 845 Gerard Avenue you could see perfectly into the old Yankee Stadium. Neighbors and cops used to gather and sit on milk cartons to watch games.

23. NYC's entire subway system "consists of 842 track miles."

24. There is a hidden subway station beneath City Hall. It's been inactive for nearly 70 years, but can still be seen from the downtown six train.

25. There is a secret art gallery in an abandoned subway station in Williamsburg that is illegal to enter. It is known as the Underbelly Project.

26. In 1945, a B-25 bomber plane crashed into the Empire State Building at the 79th floor.

27. Madison Square Park, Union Square Park and Washington Square Park used to be cemeteries.

28. Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show in Broadway history, with over 9,000 performances.

29. Wall street earned its name in the 17th century, when the Dutch built a wall to protect themselves from attacks by pirates and Native Americans.

30. The first immigrant on Ellis Island was a young Irish woman named Annie Moore.

31. New York City is home to America's first pizzeria, opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi.

32. The 1919 World Series was rigged inside New York City's iconic Ansonia Hotel.

33. When tokens were still in use on the NYC subway, people used to rig the slots then suck the tokens from them.

34. From 1904 to 2014, the price of a single fare subway ride rose from five cents to $2.50--that's 5000%.

35. During the Great Depression, thousands of homeless families camped out on the Great Lawn in Central park, which was an "empty reservoir" at the time.

36. Chumley's, a speakeasy in Manhattan, had a secret exit on Bedford Street that the guests used in case of a police raid during the prohibition era.

37. George Washington's presidential inauguration was held in New York City at the site of the current Federal Hall.

38. If a homeless person has a guaranteed place to stay, the city of New York will pay for their one-way ticket.

39. The locker rooms in Madison Square Garden are round because it is believed to "faciliate team unity." The shape makes it easier for teammates to look into each other's eyes.

40. In 1981, a mafia leader was charged with a double murder over a spilled drink in the Shamrock Bar of Queens.

41. Each member of the Beatles has performed at Madison Square Garden, but they've never performed there as a group.

Thumbnail Credit: JH Images.co.uk via Compfight cc

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