Since its launch in 2009, Untapped Cities has focused on unearthing New York City’s most unique and surprising places, stories and events. In pursuit of this mission, we often spotlight our favorite hidden gems of the city — from secret bars to quirky neighborhood finds to now-abandoned buildings. Yet, even as New Yorkers with a penchant for the unknown, there’s still a lot left to discover about the dynamic, urban environment that surrounds us.
If you’ve ever wondered about how the subway lines got their colors or the evolution of neighborhood names, we invite you to peruse through our archives. For easy access, we’ve also rounded up a list of our favorite fun facts about New York City. Read on, urbanites:
1. The Surprising History of the Iconic “I Love NY” Logo
The history of the “I <3 NY” logo may surprise you—it was a quick attempt to help salvage New York City’s failing 1970s economy by saving its tourism industry.
The story starts during the 1970s, with New York City suffering from an economic crisis and many areas of the city hitting rock bottom. To worsen matters, in 1975, President Ford denied federal aid to rescue the city from bankruptcy, with the Daily News running the headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” At the same time, New York City was experiencing historically high crime rates and drug usage. All of this bad publicity gave it a reputation that discouraged tourism, further exacerbating New York City’s already failing economy.
Then came William S. Doyle, then Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce and Mark Donnelly from the Governor’s staff. They hired an advertising agency called Wells Rich Greene to conduct a State marketing campaign, as well as a graphic designer named Milton Glaser to create a campaign logo. Wells Rich Greene came up with the slogan “I Love New York,” accompanied by a hopeful-sounding tune and TV commercial. Read more here.