New York City is the city that never sleeps, and yet holds a few secrets that make it one of the most intriguing places in the world. Fortunately, taking a trip back to the city’s history is easy to do via places that still exist today and that are reachable through means such as Go New York Tours: double decker bus tours among others. Here are a few stories that are bound to peak your interest.
A Plug Holding NYC Together
In the southern part of Central Park is a barely noticeable, small and rusty spike. It was discovered in 2004 by geographers and is believed to be part of a marker system used by John Randel Jr. in 1810 for creating the city’s grid. Together with his team, Randel went through the entire island setting out delineated grid spots that eventually became streets and avenues intersections.
The spot marked by the rock means that part of Central Park would have become another intersection, if the park were not carved out of the plan in 1850. However, the rock that gives a glimpse into NYC’s history is not protected, so its exact location is still a secret.
The Lost Neighbourhood
The history of Marble Hill neighbourhood is traceable back to the earliest days of Dutch occupation. In the 18th century, the area was quarried to provide building material for new construction occurring in New York. During this period, Marble Hill was located at Manhattan’s northernmost tip.
However, in 1895, a canal plowed through the southern section of Marble Hill, effectively severing it from the rest of Manhattan and creating a separate island. This helped create a route for sea vessels to move between Harlem and Hudson rivers.
Take a seat, as things get even weirder! The new island was then joined to The Bronx through filling the waterway towards the north. And, like an amoeba, Marble Hill broke from one borough to join up with another.
A Park Named After a Traitor!
Fort Tryon Park is one of the most romantic and lushest spots in Manhattan. Peculiarly, the park is named after Sir William Tryon, the 39th governor of New York as a British Province. Tryon led the British forces in burning and plundering civilian outposts in New England in the Revolutionary War.
Tryon was considered as an urbane monster. However, the name has stuck as a haunting reminder of the violence that occurred in 1776. Coincidentally, the road leading towards the park is named after Margaret Corbin who is the first woman to take part in active battle during the Revolutionary War, as well as the first to get military pension.
A Smart War Memorial
One of the most interesting memorials in Battery Park’s collection is the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Dedicated in 1991, the structure shows a soldier’s silhouette cut into a granite obelisk. However, the statue’s angling has a special annual function.
Each year, on July 27 at around 10 in the morning, the sun shines through the silhouette’s head, casting a spotlight on a plaque located at a nearby sidewalk. This is the exact moment when South and North Korea consented to a peace agreement that saw the end of the war in 1953.
New York City is famous for focusing on what’s new and hip. The city, as well as its people, is constantly undergoing some kind of transformation through one or another type of makeover: new fashion, new buildings, new electronics, new trends and new things off all types – everyone within and outside the city is preoccupied with what is hot right now. However, every now and then it is fun to remember that the Big Apple has a long, interesting history!