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I Never Knew That About New York

Christophr Winn

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Queen Mary 2, the largest ocean liner ever built, has a specially designed, flattened funnel so that she can fit under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to get into NY Harbour. At timesthere is only 10 ft of clearance.

At Battery Park there is an unusual statue, the American Merchant Mariners Memorial. It is set 40ft out in the harbour on a breakwater.Three men are balancing on a tilting deck, one of them lying on his stomach with a hand reaching for a fourth man in the water. As the tide rises, the drowning man vanishes below the waves, only to reappear when the tide drops, to play out the agonising scene day after day. The drowning man appears to bob up and down in the water as the waves break over him.

The sculpture was based on a photo taken by a German Uboat which had torpedoed an oil tanker the Muskogee. None of the American sailors were rescued, so you are looking at a tableau of men who are about to die.

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Charging Bull, a Wall St icon, appeared on Christmas night 1989. The sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, placed bull in front of the NY Stock Exchange as a gift to the city. The police tried to impound it for obstructing traffic, but a public outcry led to the bull being shifted to Bowling Green. It is said that rubbing certain parts of its anatomy will bring you good luck.

25 Nov 1783 the British evacuated NY. As a parting gesture they ran a Union Jack over Bowling Green, then cut the lanyard and greased the pole to make it hard to remove. So when George Washington rrived he would see the British flag still flying above the city. But the plan was foiled by a young sailor who used iron nails as cleats to climb the pole and bring the flag down.

The Canyon of Heroes is the stretch of Broadway where ticker tape parades are held. Ticker tape tradition started 1886 parade ceelbrating dedication of Statue of Liberty. An office worker at one of the brokerage houses along the street threw streams of shredded paper from the stock ticker down on the parade and others joined in.More books on Travel

Trinity Church on Broadway is the richest parish in the world. In 1705 Queen Anne gave Trinity a grant of 200 acres of land west of Broadway. Trinity still owns 26 commercial buildings erected on this land, generating millions of dollars of rents each year. Asa postscript, Trinity also has the rights to any Manhattan shipwrecks or beached whales.

TriBeCa stands for 'Triangle Below Canal' - the area south of Canal and north of Chambers between Broadway and the Hudson River.

SoHo stands for 'South of Houston' (pronounced 'Howston').

Today 1155 Broadway is site of the Broadway Plaza Hotel, but in 1894 it was a former shoe shop converted into the 'Kinescope Parlour', the world's first cinema. 10 machines, each showing a different 20 second film which was viewed through a peephole. 50 cents to view all of them.

Empire State Building. The story begins 1859 when John Jacob Astor III built a mansion at 350 Fifth Ave. In 1862 his younger brother William built next door. There his wife Caroline presided over a huge ballroom that could hold 400 people. The 400 who Mrs Astor deemed worthy of inviting represented the top echelon of NY society in the late C19.

In 1890, JJA III died, and his son William Waldorf Astor tore down the house and built the luxury Waldorf Hotel, mainly to piss off his aunt Caroline, who he hated. Caroline retaliated by tearing down her own house and building the even more luxurious Astoria Hotel, In 1897 the two hotels merged, joined by a corridor across Peacock Alley. The new combo was named Waldorf=Astoria, with the double hyphen representing both the connecting corridor and the equality of the two branches of the Astor family.

In 1928 the hotel moved uptown, and the site sold to Empire State consortium. Architect was asked "How tall can you make it that it won't fall down?" And the answer turned out to be 102 floors - the first skyscraper ever to go over 100 floors.

At the height of the Great Depression, the building was completed in 410 days. hard to get tenants at that time and became known as the Empty State Building. But the observation deck made 2 million dollars in the first year. Even today makes more money from ticket sales than from renting office space.

The NY Public Lib on Fifth Avenue is guarded by two lions made of Tennessee marble. It was one of these lions who got up and accompanied Dorothy and her dog Toto on her (film) journey through Oz.

Washington Irving coined the nickname Gotham for NY after a little village in Nottinghamshire England, where the inhabitants in C13 had feigned madness to evade paying taxes to the king. Gotham City was later popularised by the Batman comics.

There are 39 theatres that are officially Broadway theatres - with a minimum of 500 seats. Off-Broadway theatres have 100 - 500 seats, and Off-Off-Broadway less than 100, offering low budget, experimental shows with unknown actors.

One Times Square was the second tallest building in the world when erected in 1904. In 1996 it was encased top to bottom in a giant frame hung with adverst and tv screens, transforming it into the world's biggest billboard. The building has no tenants, the only people in it are workers maintaining the screens.

America's first color tv broadcast was made 28 August 1940 from CBS transmitter atop the Chrysler Bldg and received at CBS Bldg Madison Ave.

The New-York Historical Society is the oldest museum in city. Dates from 1804, at a time when the city's name was still spelled with a hyohen.

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