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August 2nd, 2007


by Lawrence Pfeil Jr

One side effect of being a jaded New Yorker is that you think you know everything there is to know about the city, and that’s really annoying to those of us who do. As any 3rd grader can tell you, Manhattan was purchased from the Native Americans who lived here by the Dutch for strands of glass beads. But…they probably can’t tell you what tribe they belonged to…Can you? No…not the Manhattan Indians! (Most accounts say the Canarsee Indians.) The following New York City trivia quiz will really separate the Rockefellers from the Knickerbockers…

1) What is Mahattanhenge?

2) What is the estimated real-estate value of Central Park?

3) Until what year did sheep still graze on the Sheep Meadow in Central Park?

4) A finalist for The New Seven Wonders of the World, The Statue of Liberty was originally named/entitled what? Bonus Question: How many points are on Lady Liberty’s crown and what do they represent?

5) The base of the TV tower on the Empire State Building was originally designed as what?

6) When the current Grand Central Terminal opened on February 2, 1913, the main concourse only had one staircase. But during the $200 million dollar restoration in the 1990’s the second one was added to balance the Beaux Arts interior of the room. Which staircase is the original one? Bonus question:What are the staircases modeled after?

7) How many stars adorn the Mediterranean night sky on the ceiling above the 80,000 square feet main concourse at Grand Central?

8) What is the only Art Nouveau theatre in existence in the US and probably the entire world?

9) Under what highly traversed four acre plot of land are found over 15,000 corpses?

10) How many Madison Square Gardens “arenas’ have there been? Bonus Question: What were their locations?

11) How many subway lines are there in the city? Bonus question: What will the new Second Avenue line be called?

12)What are the names of the two lions outside the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue?

13)What is New York’s longest running musical?

14)What is a Knickerbocker?

15) The gilded statue overlooking the fountains and ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza is of whom?

16)What determines if a VIP will ring the opening or closing bell at the NYSE?

17)Where is the smallest privately held parcel of land in the City?

18)What are Ruthville and Gehrigville?

19)Who introduced the Hot Dog to America in 1867 on Coney Island?

20)Why is it called “The” Bronx?

The Answers:

1. The setting sun will be aligned perfectly with Manhattan’s east-west grid, which happens only twice a year. (The most recent was July 13th.) Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, coined the term Manhattanhenge in Natural History magazine in 1996.

2. According to Wikipedia, the property-appraisal firm Miller Samuel estimates its current market value at $528,783,552,000 (Give yourself a point if you came within a hundred billion of the right answer.)

3. 1934. They were moved upstate since it was feared they would be used for food by impoverished depression-era New Yorkers.

4. “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Bonus Answer: Seven…representing the seven continents and seven seas of the world

5. A dirigible mooring mast. One attempt to moor a privately owned blimp was successful for three minutes. The second, in September 1931, was a Navy Blimp that went out of control, nearly sweeping the dignitaries in attendance off the building and dumping its water ballast on unsuspecting pedestrians below. Ultimately, a mooring mast designed to service the transportation of the future was abandoned.

6. The staircase at the western end of the main concourse (by Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse) is the original. Bonus Answer: The Grand Staircase at the Paris Opera House.

7. There are 2500 stars, and the 60 largest–marking the constellations–were originally lit by light bulbs but today are illuminated by fiber optics.

8. The New Amsterdam Theatre on West 42nd Street–designed by architects Henry Herts and Hugh Tallant. It opened on October 26,1903 and was built at a cost of more than $1.5 million (twice its initial estimate). In the 1990’s the theatre was renovated by The Walt Disney Company at a cost of more than $41million, and its art nouveau interior was restored to its original flora and fauna splendor.

9.Washington Square Park — Originally a potter’s field, it was later the site of mass graves used to bury victims of a yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the city. It was here too that the denizens of Manhattan gathered on Sunday afternoons to take in public hangings and where the executed were buried.

10. Four, with ground breaking on the fifth MSG at the end of this year. Bonus Answer: MSG I (1879) at Madison Avenue and 26th Street MSG II (1890) (designed by architect Stanford White who was later murdered on its roof top in 1906) also at Madison and 26th MSG III (1925) at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street MSG IV (1968) at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street Coming soon… MSG V at Eighth Ave and 33rd Street.

11. 26, including two shuttle lines. Bonus Answer: The T line

12. Originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, honoring the library’s founders, it was in the 1930’s that Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia nicknamed them “Patience” to the south of the library’s entrance and “Fortitude” to the north. They were chosen because he felt that the citizens of New York would need to possess these qualities to see themselves through the Great Depression.

13. If you said The Phantom of the Opera you’d be wrong. New York’s record holder is The Fantastiks, which premiered at the SoHo Playhouse and ran for almost 42 years—that’s more than twice the length of the The Phantom’s current run. In fact, it makes it the longest running musical in the entire world.

14. One of the Dutch “first families” who settled the village of New Amsterdam on the tip of Manhattan and from whom some present day New Yorkers still claim lineage. The fact of the matter is Knickerbocker is a completely fictitious name created by Washington Irving in 1809 as the author of his book, “Knickerbocker’s History of New York.” Generally speaking it can refer to any denizen of New York City or to fashionistas’ baggy knee pants from yesteryear.

15. Prometheus.

16. Whether or not the VIP is representing a company that is an existing member or a new or potential member. New members ring opening bells and existing members can only ring closing bells.

17. On the Southeast corner of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, is a tiled triangular plot of land measuring approximately 18″ on each side, which as the inlaid tiles will tell you is privately held by the Hess Family.

18. The bleacher sections behind right center field at Yankee Stadium. Not for much longer though, as “The House that Ruth Built” is scheduled for demolition at the end of the 2008 baseball season.

19. Charles Feltman, a German immigrant who brought the mildly spiced sausage over with him from Frankfurt, Germany and began selling them out of a pushcart. When business started booming he opened a Bier Garten to sell his frankfurters and it was there that in 1915 Feltman hired Nathan Handwerker as a delivery boy. A year later the enterprising young Nathan opened a competing hot dog stand directly across from his old boss’!

20. The name of the borough refers to the Bronx river which runs through it, and rivers are traditionally referred to using the article “the” (e.g. The Hudson.)

How New York Are You??

1-3 Correct: You’ve just been mugged in Times Square.

4-10 Correct: You just bought Oregano in Washington Square Park.

11-15 Correct: You’re originally from Secaucus, but you know where CBGB’s was.

16-20 Correct: You were born here, and have a 4 bedroom apartment in the Village for $300 a month.

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Community | New York





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