New York Factoid-O-Rama #1

Ramblings About Houston Street, Bad Spelling, and the Best Deli in NYC.

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Sam Houston

This might blow the minds of people outside of New York City. Here in NYC, there is a road that runs from east to west across the island of Manhattan named “Houston Street.” The wide road extends to the very edges of the island and forms a boundary for the island’s “villages”–East, Greenwich, and West–and is home to the world-famous Katz’s Delicatessen. Given its name, it comes as a surprise to most persons outside of New York City to learn the street is not named after Sam Houston, the legendary hero of Texas. In fact, it is not even pronounced as “HYOO-stən”!

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That Sinking Feeling

You know the story. A large, “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg while crossing the icy Atlantic; the hull was pierced, water flooded in unchecked, the ship sank, and thousands of people suffered a cold, watery death. What most don’t know is that this particular tale is not only the story of the RMS Titanic, but the much earlier story of the Titan, a fictional vessel created by Morgan Robertson and told of in his 1898 tale of disaster-at-sea, Futility.   Amazingly, what was originally a fictional tale of human nature, water, and death became a thing of terrible reality when the RMS Titanic (pictured above, in drydock) disappeared beneath frigid Atlantic waves on the night of April 14, 1912. Later that same year, avarice overruled decency and Robertson’s Futility was renamed The Wreck of the Titan in an attempt to capitalize on the morbid popularity of all things Titanic.

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