In 1929 the Merchants’Association of New York published a little almanac that cataloged the city’s prodigiousness:
To begin at the beginning, a baby is born in New York every 4 minutes and 6 seconds —a total of 126,332 in 1928.
Using a twelve-hour day as a basis of computation, couples are getting married in New York at the rate of 14 every hour — a total of 62,424 getting married in 1928. Everybody can’t get married, however, and stay within the law, because in the population of 6,065,000 it is estimated there are 15,000 more females than males.
These 6,065,000 people are consuming food at the rate of approximately 3,500,000 tons a year, an average of more than 1,000 pounds of food being consumed or wasted by every man, woman and child.
These people use 2,659,632 quarts of milk a day, almost a pint a piece.
The Health Department estimates that they use 7,000,000 eggs a day.
Fifteen hundred freight cars are needed daily to bring the food that New York eats.
If placed together they would form a train twelve miles long.
More than 190 people in New York pick up the telephone receiver every second, on the average.
There are approximately 8,233,000 intra-City telephone calls every 24 hours.
In addition, the people make 508,000 commuting calls — calls within a 50-mile radius — and 34,383 long distance calls every day.
The city has 1,700,000 telephones in operation, almost one-fifth as many telephones as are in all of Europe. The 8,367,000 miles of wire in the City would string 35 lines between the earth and the moon.
To house the activities of New York’s residents and visitors, there were, on October 1,1928, 681,818 buildings, including 277,118 one-family houses, 143,534 two-family houses, 121,557 non-elevator apartment buildings, and 3,970 hotels and elevator apartments.
There are 89,263 garages and stables to accommodate their automobiles and horses.
There are still 50,000 horses in New York City.
New York’s largest building (the Equitable) houses 12,000 people every day.
The assessed valuation of the real property in New York is $17,133,817,310.
To support the City’s public activities requires a budget of $538,928,697.
The City debt is $1,881,740,963, requiring interest payments of over $75,000,000 a year.
The City’s tax levy in 1928 was $441,357,774.
[In 1986 – 87 assessed valuation of real estate was $55,089,444,700; the 1988 budget is $23,159,000,000; the city’s total tax levy is $13,525,000,000.. No debt is expected to be incurred in fiscal 1988.]
New York’s population travels. This is shown by the fact that on an average business day over 9,000,000 passengers are carried on subway or elevated street car lines and buses.
5,642,661 of these travel on subway or elevated and 2,949,305 on the surface lines.
Approximately 592,000 people are carried daily on the various bus routes.
The City has normally 23,628 taxicabs in daily service.
There are 4,702 miles of streets, of which 2,868.7 are paved and 1,833.3 are unpaved.
New York is a Mecca for Visitors.
According to the latest available count, more than 500,000 people come into New York over the railroads every business day.
Over 127,000 people who are not commuters come into the City daily through the railroad stations.
To accommodate its visitors New York has 250 hotels and 94,400 hotel rooms. At a pinch, the hotels can accommodate over 200,000 visitors.
New York has 800 theatres.
252 of these are devoted to the spoken drama.
548 are movie houses and are rapidly becoming talkies.
For the average visitor who will be satisfied with none but first class shows, 125 theatres are available.
675 of New York’s theatres belong to the neighborhood class.
The combined seating capacity of New York’s theatres is 850,993, divided as follows:
Motion Pictures, 334,791
Neighborhood movies, 178,062
With exports valued at $1,769,684,571 the Port of New York in 1928 handled over 34 per cent of the exports of the entire nation.
Imported goods valued at $1,949,982,707, or nearly half the United States total, came in through the Port of New York.
The value of the products of New York City’s factories is equal to almost one-tenth of the value of the products manufactured by the entire country.
In 1927 — date of last census of manufactures — New York City had 27,062 separate factories in which were employed an average number of 552,507 wage earners.
These wage earners received $904,646,427 and turned out products valued at $5,722,071,259 — an increase of $397,657,647 in two years.
The New York City workman is exceptionally well paid. In 1927 he received an average wage of $1,637 as against an average of $1,298 paid in wages for the country as a whole.
— Facts about New York Today, compiled by the Merchants’ Association of New York, May 19, 1929