Things You May Not Know About NYC

First capital city of the USA under the Consitution. A prior City Hall was rented out to the Federal Government from 1789-1790. It was located at Wall and Broad Streets. George Washington took the oath of office there, in his honor there is a statue of President Washington in front of the former Treasury building on the site. Sadly the original building was torn down.

Pinball was banned in NYC from 1942-1976. Pinball in 1942 worked differently than today. The pinball flipper would not be invented until 1947 and for this reason, the only way to manipulate the ball was the tilt and hit the machine. The seemingly random outcome of games made Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia think it was more a game of chance than skill, i.e. gambling. He held prohibition style raids where machines were rounded up and smashed. In 1976, pinball owners decided to petition the city council that Pinball was a game of skill using Roger Sharpe, a pinball historian who impressed city legislators by calling shots before they were taken, Babe Ruth style.

The New Year’s ball was a response to a fireworks ban. The New York Times moved to 42nd st and 7th ave (what we now call Time’s Square) because the primary financier of the new subway wanted a bustling neighborhood in the middle of his new transportation network. Celebrating its new headquarters and the neighborhood named after it, every New Year’s Eve the paper would have a big public party culminating with fireworks at midnight. However after a few Years the City government said it would be a fire hazard as more and more buildings were being built. As a response, a brightly lit ball was dropped down a pole. It’s been a yearly tradition ever since.

– Mark Gilman, Tour Guide



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