5 Things You Didn’t Know About New York

There’s no doubt that New York City is the most famous city in the United States and maybe even the world. Home to over 8 million people, it’s the most populated city in the country. It’s also the nation’s most densely populated urban area.

New York is famous for the Empire State Building, Wall Street, and Broadway. But there is so much more to New York than these monuments.

Here’s a list of some of the things you probably didn’t know about the city.

  1. America’s First Capital

The capital of the United States has not always been Washington D.C. After the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation established New York City as the capital. The city was also the first capital under the current Constitution.

As the nation’s capital, the city was the location of the first Presidential inauguration and first congressional session. These events took place at Federal Hall on Wall Street.

Today, Federal Hall is a national historical monument and tourist attraction. The museum contains George Washinton’s inaugural Bible along with other historical artifacts.

New York City remained the capital until 1790. Philadelphia was chosen as the new capital. It wasn’t until 1800 that the seat of government of the United States was moved to Washington D.C.

Even though the city served as the nation’s capital, it is not the capital of New York State. Albany is the state’s current capital.

The state’s capital has moved several times, and at one point in time, New York City was the seat of the state’s government.

  1. It Wasn’t Always New York

The first residents of New York were the Algonquian Native Americans. The first recorded European arrival was in 1524. The explorer Verrazzanno named the city Nouvelle Angoulême, or New Angoulême.

The area was later explored by the Dutch, who called the territory New Netherland and referred to the city as New Amsterdam.

The English and Dutch fought over the territory until it was ceded to the English in 1667. The English named the area New York after the Duke of York, who later became King James II and VII.

During the American Revolution, New York was the location of many historical events and battles. Since then, it has been part of the United States, but the English name New York has stuck.

  1. A Long History of Weed

Substance control has a long history in New York. The most famous example is the implementation of prohibition, which prohibited the sale of alcohol.

Unsurprisingly, the banning of alcohol made New York famous for speakeasy bars.

Cannabis was restricted in New York as early as 1914. Since then, the legal status of marijuana has been controversial. Currently, marijuana is permitted for both medical and recreational use.

For more information on that, here is a list of cannabis dispensaries in New York.

  1. Linguistic Diversity

Given the cultural diversity and population density of New York City, it’s not surprising that so many languages are spoken.

Over 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most diverse linguistic city in the world.

For more information about languages in New York, check out these linguistic maps showing the most spoken languages in different areas of the city.

English is the most commonly spoken language in most neighborhoods followed by Spanish. Other common languages include Russian, Yiddish, and Chinese.

  1. Food Inventions

You’d be surprised how many of your favorite Italian dishes weren’t invented in Italy. Many pasta dishes including spaghetti and meatballs, pasta primavera, and penne alla vodka were all invented in New York.

Other famous dishes originating from the city include General Tso’s chicken, the Waldorf salad, Eggs Benedict, and the ice cream cone.

Countless other foods have been adapted here. Examples include New York bagels and the city’s famous thin-crust pizza.

New Yorkers claim that these foods can’t be replicated anywhere else because of the unique quality of New York tap water.

Here’s a list of more foods that were invented in New York.


New York is a cultural melting pot that is full of surprises. No matter how long you live in the city or how many times you visit, there’s always something new and exciting to learn about the city that never sleeps.

Related Articles