"London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it." — Dorothy Parker
A PERSONAL CONNECTION TO NEW YORK CITY
As a child, I never knew my mother's extended family. Her mother passed when she was just an infant, and her father eventually remarried unfortunately resulting in the well-known Cinderella's evil stepmother scenario. My grandfather passed away when my mom was just 19, and she almost immediately devised a plan to be her own hero of her fairytale and move to the United States, leaving her stepmother and brothers behind in Brazil.
Her brothers never came to visit, but as I got older we would occasionally take a summer road trip from Chicago to New York City to visit my mom's uncle and cousins who lived there. As my only connection to my mother's side of the family, this was such a special opportunity for me to gain perspective about my mother, the grandparents I never knew and her family history in general. New York City will always remind me of these summer childhood vacations to a place where we had the opportunity to enter, if only briefly, into a different world of family, friendship and culture with my mom. Today, New York City is like an old, dear friend of mine that I am fortunate enough to travel to and still spend time with, as I frequently get to travel to the city for business.
FUN CITY FACTS ABOUT NYC
1. NEW YORK TAXIS WERE ORIGINALLY RED + GREEN.
The yellow cab is one of the most recognizable symbols of New York City, but the first gasoline-powered cab company, which was founded in 1907, actually used red and green cars. In fact, yellow cabs were used in a number of other cities throughout the United States before New York adopted the color in 1912.
2. NEW YORKERS SPEAK APPROXIMATELY 800 LANGUAGES.
Over 37 percent of New Yorkers were born in another country, so it is not surprising that the city's residents speak a wide range of languages — but by any account, 800 is impressive!
3. THE FIRST AMERICAN PIZZA JOINT OPENED IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1905.
Pizza is probably the food most frequently associated with New York City. Italian immigrants introduced the delicious, cheesy delicacy to the city all the way back in 1905, and New Yorkers have never looked back. In fact, Gennaro Lombardi is credited with crafting the first pizza in the United States using his bakers trade he learned in Naples, making Lombardi's the first pizzeria in the USA. Today, there are approximately 1,600 pizza restaurants in the city.
4. IT WOULD TAKE APPROXIMATELY 24 HOURS TO NAVIGATE THE ENTIRE SUBWAY SYSTEM.
And, this is if you were in a major rush. With 34 lines and 469 stops, the New York City subway system is one of the largest urban mass transportation systems in the world. Traveling to every single stop (without leaving the transit system) will take you at least 21 hours and 49 minutes — traverse the whole system in less time than that, and you’ll have broken the current world record.
5. THE STATUE OF LIBERTY WAS DELIVERED IN 350 PIECES.
Housed in 214 crates, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City in 1885, in 350 pieces. The statue’s iconic arm, meanwhile, actually arrived in the states a decade earlier, in 1876, where it was put on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia to raise money for the construction project.
6. UNTIL THE 1920s, EVERYONE MOVED APARTMENTS ON THE SAME DAY.
From colonial times through the beginning of the 20th century, May 1st was "Moving Day" in NYC — and nearly everyone who needed to move apartments did so on that day. The custom caused chaos and traffic jams as the streets became clogged with horse-drawn moving vans and furniture. Fortunately, this odd practice began to die down in the 1920s, and of course, modern New Yorkers can move whenever they want.
When New York City is in pain, we are in pain with it. Taking into consideration the recent loss of city life and life itself due to COVID-19, our team is continuing to pray for NYC, and we have no doubt that it will rise again stronger than ever.
Jaq Jaq Bird's Cities of Wonder Erasable Book Collection allows children to trace and illustrate their travels, in-person or imaginary, all while learning to love the world around them. Each book includes an educational, interactive map guide featuring landmarks, facts and more about the city.