More Strange Facts About NYC

Until the 1920’s everyone moved out on May 1st. The law required landlords to give 3 month’s notice on rent changes by Feb 1st. The idea was to give New Yorkers 3 months to find a new place. But since rent was due on May 1, *everyone* moved out on that day. It was pure pandemonium in the streets, and much worse than a packed Time’s Square.

The Statue of Liberty is supposed to be green.  While the statue of liberty was originally a shining copper, the eventual green color was part of the plan. The statue of liberty had to be of all things, durable. Copper does not rust, like iron. It patinizes, creating a thin layer of corrosion that’s airtight, preventing further damage to the metal. While the current statue may not be as dazzling as it was in 1886, it still marvels.

No one knows where the term “Big Apple” comes from. We’ll never know who coined the iconic phrase, but we do know it’s earliest mention is in a 1909 book, The Wayfarer in New York by Edward S. Martin.

The water is not technically kosher. Ironically, the municipality with that largest number of Jews outside Isreal has water that is considered traif, unfit by Jewish law. In 2004 an examination of the tap water in NYC showed it was home to copepods, microscopic crustaceans. These are harmless creatures found in the water supplies of other cities, like Boston or San Francisco. Unfortunately, they are considered shellfish, which Jews cannot eat. Some rabbis said that copepods must be filtered out, others said no.

Ellis Island was for the poor. Immigrants with a first or second class ticket, were allowed into the United States after a brief screening. All others were sent to Ellis Island to have their physical and mental health examined. It was believed that people who could afford more expensive tickets would not likely harbor illness. There were instances of poorer passengers paying to “upgrade” their tickets to avoid the more rigorous screenings.

– Mark Gilman, Tour Guide


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