THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CENTRAL PARK

Beautiful Central Park of New York

Central Park is arguably New York’s most notable and revered landmark. Nowadays, an amazing number of 42 million people pass through Central Park a year, enjoying Sheep Meadow’s gorgeous lake, and enchanting gardens. Here are some facts about Central Park you may not know.

IT WAS BUILT TO RAISE PROPERTY VALUE
Back in 1853 the city’s governing body passed a law which stated 750 acres of land will be allocated for a park. However, according to Set Kamil, whose company has been offering tours of Central park for over 25 years, most of the land which now makes Central Park was of little value. He believes the purpose of the park back then was to increase the value of the neighboring properties. The terrain was too hard to be leveled, as well as unappealing, which lead to the decision for the area to be converted to a park.

THE IDEA OF A PARK IN MANHATTAN WAS FIRST PUBLICALLY SUPPORTED BY A NEWSPAPER EDITOR.
The first proponent of the park was New York Evening Post’s editor William Cullen Bryant. He first asked for a new park in 1844, saying it would be good for people’s health and for the city in general. The designing rights were won in an open public competition. The winners of the competition were Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who managed to gain the rights to design Central Park in 1858. Sheep Meadow, Belvedere Tower, Bethesda Fountain and the rest of the key features came into being thanks to these two.

THERE ACTUALLY WERE SHEEP PRESENT IN SHEEP MEADOW BACK IN THE DAY
According to Kamil, the sheep were there for aesthetic reasons. However, they were only released into Sheep Meadow twice a day and otherwise kept somewhere else. Central Park was meant to be a miniature picture of New York. As you move from the north to the south you will be reminded of the hills and woods surrounding the city, and as you reach the southern part you should be reminded of the city and its upscale suburbs surrounding it.

THE CASINO WAS EXTREMELY POPULAR AT THE TIME OF PROHIBITION
The Ladies Refreshment Salon was a place where single women of the 19th century could go without the company of a man. Later on, the Salon was converted into the Casino, which during the Prohibition offered really good entertainment by mayor Jimmy Walker.

CENTRAL PARK IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ALASKA
The government body of New York City acquired the land of today’s park for an astounding $7.4 million. In comparison, the US bought the entire state of Alaska for $7.2 million from Russia.

THERE WAS AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY LIVING ON THE LAND
Called Seneca Village, there were over 250 people living and owning properties on the west side of the park. The city methodically displaced all the families from the land.

THE GRASSY AREAS WERE NOT MEANT FOR CHILDREN
The designers designed the park for people to enjoy a long walk and admire the views. They explicitly stated they didn’t want children to run across the grass.

THE CANNONBALLS UNDER BOW BRIDGE ARE A MYTH
According to Kamil, every book on the subject claimed that there were cannonballs inserted into the foundations of the bridge. However, when it was renovated, no such things were found.

THE ROADS ARE INTENTIONALLY CURVED
The roads and paths of the park were intentionally designed like that in order to prevent horse and carriage races. The designers foresaw the people’s need for speed, and tried to act accordingly.

THINGS ABOUT TIMES SQUARE YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT

New York Time Square
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Without a doubt, one of New York’s most popular landmarks is Times Square. Here are nine facts you may not have known about Times Square.

Almost everything can be seen or heard on Times Square, from impatient drivers and their horns to tourists taking countless snapshots. All of those are just a tiny part of the essence that makes this place what it is. Due to its location, in central Manhattan, the number of people passing through is in the millions. However, despite all of the madness and chaos, Times Square is packed with historic bits and pieces that are hard to find. Let’s take a look at the things this iconic location has to show.

ONE TIMES SQUARE GENERATES ENORMOUS PROFIT EVEN THOUGH IT’S MOSTLY VACANT

While the ball drop at New Year’s Eve makes it very popular, this piece of architecture has little else to offer. Built in 1904, a time when the city was only starting to develop, with the purpose serve as the HQ building of the New York Times. It was only reconstructed into the huge advertising board that it is today in 1995 by the Lehman Brothers. It is now owned by Jamestown Properties. Apart from the first three stories and the top one, which are being rented, the rest of the space is completely empty. However, that huge advertising board brings more than $20 million annually.

THE CURRENT NAME, TIMES SQUARE, HAS ONLY BEEN AROUND FOR A CENTURY

Longacre Square was the first name of the place. It was named Times Square only after the New York Times brought their HQ in 1904. The thing is, although the word square is in both names, it’s actually not one. Times Square actually has the shape of a triangle.

ONCE UPON A TIME, IT WAS NOT AS DECENT AS TODAY

It’s not a widely known fact that during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ’80 of the 20th century, Times Square was completely opposite of today, in terms of safety and popularity. In that period people would go anywhere in New York but there. It was the place where prostitution and adult industry thrived the most. Also, it was the fear of all the other criminal activity in the area that kept people out.

A SOUND IS COMING FROM BELOW AND IT’S NOT UNINTENTIONAL

The textured sounds originate from a subway grate. According to its creator, Max Neuhaus, the constant loop of sounds is intentionally created to not be simply noticed by everyone, but only the adventurous individuals.

THE MURALS BEAUTIFYING THE SUBWAY ARE PAINTED BY ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Lichtenstein, born and bred in New York, created this masterpiece for the subway. Using comics as a source of inspiration, this mural portrays a train from the future which shoots through the subway.

THE FRAGMENTS OF HISTORIC LUXURIOUS THEATERS CAN STILL BE SEEN

In the beginning of the 20th century, Times Square was the heart of the city’s Theater Districts. Many theaters were built there, and some of them were pretty luxurious. Most of these structures, however, ended up either in ruins or repurposed as movie theaters and porno theaters after the Great Depression. Nevertheless there are still fragments of those dazzling structures at a number of locations.

TIMES SQUARE WAS THE LOCATION OF THE NATION’S MOST FAMOUS KISS

Although it is still unknown who the people in the picture are, the whole world has seen the photograph, taken on Times Square, of a soldier kissing a nurse which marks the end of WWII. That particular photograph was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

THE EXISTENCE OF A HARD-TO-FIND BAR WHERE POPULAR BROADWAY ACTORS HANG OUT

Located in a townhouse on W. 46th Street, many popular theater actors visit this hidden establishment called Bar Centrale. Although it’s not the only bar of its type in the city, this bar does offer the utmost discretion.

IT IS SO BRILLIANTLY ILLUMINATED IT CAN BE SPOTTED FROM SPACE

If you don’t pay attention to your watch, it’s really easy to lose track of time on Times Square. The way it has been lit, it can easily fool you into thinking its natural daylight. It is visible from outer space.

THE PLAZA; A GLAMOROUS HOTEL WITH WORLDWIDE FAME

ENTRANCE OF THE PLAZA HOTEL NEW YORK

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The Plaza is a 110-year-old hotel in New York which was named a National Historic Landmark. The building stands 19 stories tall and has an unparalleled charm and glamor. Here are a few fun facts about The Plaza.

ORIGINAL RENT AND TAXI FARE

When the Plaza opened, its rent for a single night was $2.50. As a comparison, rooms can cost from $800 to $30,000 per night now. $30,000 is the price for the Royal Plaza Suite which boasts three bedrooms with amazing decor, a kitchen and dining room, a library and most interesting of all it has a secret door in the master bedroom that heads outside. Exciting, isn’t it?

First motorized cabs in New York that replaced horse driven carriages were present at The Plaza when it opened, to transport guests from one point to another. A ride cost 30 cents for a half mile and then 10 cents for each quarter mile.

SEVERAL MOVIES WERE SHOT HERE

The first ever movie filmed at The Plaza was North by Northwest by Hitchcock in 1959. Almost Famous, Sleepless in Seattle and The Great Gatsby are some of the most famous movies that were shot here over the years. However, the movie leaving a lasting impression was Home Alone 2. There was a scene in the movie in which the character played by Macaulay Culkin had to slide across the floor into the elevator. As the floor was carpeted, this was not possible. So, for this scene, the carpet was removed. What it revealed was a mosaic tile floor that was so artistic and beautiful; the carpet was permanently removed from the floor.

ELOISE; THE INSPIRATION FOR THE HOTEL’S DESIGN

Eloise was a fictional resident of the hotel, created by Kay Thompson for a children’s book. She was an inspiration for some of the hotel’s design and was thus honored by hanging her portrait (created by the book artist) opposite the Palm Court. Other mentions to Eloise are made by having a kid’s menu named after her, her own gift shop and an Eloise suite. There’s also a tricycle garage decorated in Eloise style red and white stripes, which offers free tricycles to guests.

PET-FRIENDLY HOTEL, EVEN LIONS ARE WELCOME!

In 1908, Hungarian princess Elisabeth Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy moved to America along with her several rather exotic pets. These included alligators, guinea pig, an owl and even a bear. Where most hotels would have politely refused to house her, The Plaza welcomed her and her animal entourage. The Princess got a lion cub during her stay at the hotel. The hotel staff, instead of complaining, gave the cub its own room, making The Plaza even more famous than it already was.

CELEBRITIES AND THEIR PARTIES

The Plaza had a men’s only bar named The Oak Room. People as famous as Bill Clinton and actor George M. Cohan would come here. Cohan came to the bar every day from 4 PM to 7 PM to have cocktails before the theater show. He was honored after his death by fixing a bronze plaque above the booth he usually occupied.

Countless parties and weddings, including celebrity weddings, have been held at The Plaza. In 1966, a huge party was thrown by Truman Capote on the release of his book, In Cold Blood. It was a masked ball that saw some 540 guests and cost around $16,000 at the time.

HOTEL OWNERSHIP

The Plaza has been owned by Conrad Hilton and then by Donald Trump, who bought it for $390 million. Today, it is owned by both Sahara Group and the Saudi Arabia-based Kingdom Holdings.

STORM DISAPPEARS BUT LEAVES TRAFFIC DELAYS BEHIND

Traffic Delays New York

AIR TRAVELLING

Due to the recent snow storm in America, air travelling has been effected the most with more than 39,000 flights cancelled on just a single day and an expected 41,000 more cancellations in the coming days. 900 flights have already been cancelled for just Monday according to Flight Aware.

The reason behind such huge amount of flight cancellation is the closure of two major airports with flights to Washington DC and Dallas and limited number of flight operations being carried out on Balti-more Washington International Airport. All the airports with flights to New York Newark, Le Guardia and Kennedy are operating but the snow storm has also effected the flight operation on these airports. On Sunday more than 950 outbound flights were cancelled along with the cancellation of 900 inbound flights. 200 outbound and 140 inbound flights have already been cancelled for Monday on these airports which is an alarming situation for the New Yorkers along with the people who were to be on their way to New York on Monday. The Philadelphia International Airport started operating again on Sunday but there were news about many carriers still not flying.

Now if we look at the carriers with the most cancellation American Airlines tops the list. All the flights to Baltimore and New York were cancelled on Sunday but the carrier has announced to carry on the flight operation to both of these cities along with Dulles and Reagan. The operation for Philadelphia was limited on Sunday and due to the cancellation of flights the carrier is waiving fees for itinerary charges on flights schedule.

United Airlines are planning to resume their flight services on all the airports of Washington DC on Monday. The carrier announced to start a limited number of operations on the New York airports on Sunday along with waiving the fees for flight changes in the areas where flights have been effected for Tuesday.

Delta is another big carrier being effected by the storm. The carrier which started its services on Kennedy Airport and Philadelphia Airport on Sunday has announced to waive off the flight change fees on Monday.

There were a number of travel delays in all the areas effected by storm so all the carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta and JetBlue have updated their websites with lists of destinations with fee waiver for flight change due to cancellation or delay.

TRAINS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Amtrak has stopped its services this Sunday between Washington DC and Virginia along with Washington DC and stations in the Southeast. The service between Washington DC and Boston will be open on a modified schedule on Monday and passengers are advised to go to the company’s site for further information. In the New York City the travel ban has been finished but Grey Hound expects cancellations for days.

FAMOUS SITES AND HOTELS

There are many special offers that are in their expiration dates now when we look at the hotels and most of the tourists will miss these offers due to the storm but Loews Regency Hotel in New York is still offering its special snow rate which is $229 a night which is ending on Sunday( book using the code SNOW). If you are not stuck in New York City you can still have a lot of entertainment as Broadway Theatres will be performing shows and famous museums including Metropolitan Museum of Arts and American Museum of Natural History are waiting for the visitors. Smithsonian Museum and National Zoo in Washington DC are still closed for the visitors.