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3 Crazy Facts About NYC That You Didn't Know

June 27, 2012

New York City can be a strange place, and here are three facts you probably didn't know even if you've lived here for your entire life:

3. New York Taxis Cost $1,000,000 To Own

That's right. A New York taxi medallion, those gold plates on the hood that signify a city-regulated yellow taxi, costs a measly ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Not included in that price: a funny-smelling car, sporadic bouts of road rage, and a bluetooth earpiece to put your passengers' lives in danger.

You're looking at $21 million dollars of sticky-seated, frenetically driven goodness right here.

Taxi medallions came about in the 1930s due to skyrocketing numbers of taxis in New York City, leading to overcrowding, shoddy service, and more drivers than passengers. With the institution of the medallion system, the city effectively cut the number of taxis from 30,000 to less than 13,000, where it remains to this day.

However, this also led to the high expense of purchasing a taxi medallion and the eventual intrusion of corporations into the medallion business, which started buying up the taxi licenses in order to lease them back out to drivers for profit. Today, most taxis are corporation-owned.

2. The Term "23 Skidoo" Came From Male Voyeurs Looking For Ankle

In the 1920s, women basically wore only dresses. And by dresses, we mean bedsheets cut in a particular to possibly fit a well-endowed woman if you squinted hard enough and kind of stood at an angle. These things were monstrous.

This is scandalous in the 1920s. Men would be fainting on the streets.

This basically meant that the the gentlemen of the 1920s, on top of not being able to access the motherload of "mature" content that is the lifeblood of the internet, would also never see any female skin in public. This apparently was too much to bear, as desperate men started clustering around the Flatiron Building to catch a glimpse of women's ankles:

Scandal!

That's right. Because of the strange wind tunnels that arose near the Flatiron building, it would often lift women's skirts just high enough for men to check out those beautiful, sultry ankles of the women walking by.

Police officers would routinely clean out crowds of young men near the building on 23rd street, who eventually garnered the term "23 skidoo."

1. Everyone Moved Out In NYC On The Same Day

In New York City, there used to be a strange rule by the New York State Legislature, requiring that if no other date was specified, all occupants had to move out by May 1st. This rule, combined with an already common tradition of moving out on May 1st, meant that nearly A QUARTER of the city was evicted from their rental apartments every May 1st, and presumably walked around aimlessly trying to find another place to live. Because of this traffic,

This event was so big, it became a New York tradition to sit around on your balcony if you weren't one of those unlucky evictees, and watch the crowds of people rushing around with couches, chairs, and the rest of their personal belongings looking for a place to stay.

A highly graphic image of the chaos that arose every May 1st.