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5 Interesting Facts About New York

New York is one of the thirteen original colonies and was very important during the Revolutionary War. It is home to Niagara Falls and the Big Apple. It is also the first place the millions of immigrants would see of America. New York City is the most populated city in the United States.  

Moving Day

For most of New York City’s history, everyone moved on the same day. May 1st was known as Moving Day and anyone who needed to move would be moving on that day. It was a tradition that went back to colonial times. On February 1st, landlords would inform their tenets what their rent would be for the upcoming year and then those who wanted to move would spend the next couple of months looking for a new place to live. Everyone needed to be out by 9:00 a.m. May 1st when their leases expired. This would send thousands into the streets moving their belongings. As the years went by and the population grew it became even more chaotic. By the 1920s, it is estimated that around 1 million people would be moving on Moving Day. People began to choose other dates to move and the practice was officially ended after WWII due to a housing shortage and rent control. 

Pizza

The first pizzeria in America was opened in New York City in 1905. Gennaro Lombardi, an Italian immigrant from Naples, opened a grocery store in New York City in 1897. It was a popular lunch spot due to the tomato and cheese pies they sold for takeout. They were wrapped in plain paper and loved by workers who could eat them at the jobsite hassle free. Lombardi turned his grocery store into a full-time pizzeria in 1905. The pizzas were baked in large coal fired ovens. If you are interested in seeing what the first pizzas in America tasted like, you can still get a slice at Lombardi’s but they did move to a new location up the street in 1984.  

Albany

The capital of New York is Albany. It was also the first European settlement in New York. The Dutch first settled there in 1614 and built Fort Nassau for fur trading and in 1624, bult Fort Orange. Then the English took over in 1664, and renamed the city for the Duke of Albany who would become James II of England and James VII of Scotland. The charter for the city was created in 1686 and it became the capital of the state of New York in 1797. Albany is the longest continuously chartered city in America and one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original thirteen British colonies.  

Empire State

New York is known as ‘The Empire State’. No one is entirely sure where this nickname came from but there are a few theories. One of the more commonly accepted stories is that when George Washington received a map of New York before the Battle of New York, he referred to it as “The Seat of an Empire”. Another theory is that it had something to do with the trade routes that went through New York. There is also the belief that it came about when New York’s population grew higher than Virginia’s in 1819. Most historians agree that it was in wide use by the 1820s, even if they don’t necessarily agree with how the term originated.  

Smallest Church

The World’s Smallest Church is located in Oneida, New York. It has a floor area of 51”x81” and only seats two people. The non-denominational Cross Island Chapel was built in 1989 and “Dedicated as a witness to God.” Not only is it the smallest church in the world, it is located on a dock in the middle of a pond. It is open to the public by request and you can even schedule an appointment for a ceremony. People who are married there tend to have their guests anchored in small boats nearby since the chapel only has room for the couple and the minister.