New York is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cities in the world. From the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, its streets and landmarks are recognizable to millions of people thanks to the Big Apple’s starring role in movies, music, and television.
Frank Sinatra called it “the city that never sleeps” and New York is certainly a busy, bustling ,and lively place to live or visit, with people from all walks of life, cultures, and pretty much every country in the world making their home there.
Like any big city, New York is also home to more than its fair share of colorful characters. From the tourist hotspot of Times Square to the trendy streets of the East Village, there are some weird and wonderful things to be seen on the streets of New York!
20 Eye Of The Tiger
Only a New York rapper would be so bold as to keep a fully-grown tiger in his Harlem apartment, but that is exactly what happened in the city in the early 2000s. Ming ended up having to be tranquilized by a New York police officer after he attacked owner Antoine Yates, and the tiger eventually passed away in 2019 at a wildlife sanctuary in Ohio.
19 Unusual Strategy
Anyone who has visited New York will know that there are sadly hundreds of people sleeping rough on the street and begging for cash. It can be difficult to know whether the people begging are genuinely homeless or just looking to make a few bucks, but anyone who would offer New Yorkers the chance to tell them off for just a quarter must be in need of some cash.
18 Mistaken Identity
This poor New York mailbox which has been repurposed as a trash can has clearly seen better days. It’s not clear whether this started as a case of mistaken identity and others just followed suit, or whether this vandalism was intentional, perhaps as a result of a trash can shortage on the streets of the city?
17 Nap Time
Speaking of things being used in unconventional ways, this New Yorker has repurposed one of the newspaper vending machines that sit on the sidewalk and made it into her own metallic bed. This can’t be a comfortable way to relax, and the chances are that the newspaper’s publisher isn’t going to be too happy either.
16 Bouncing Baby
Times Square is New York’s biggest tourist trap, with street vendors selling hot food, sky-high electronic billboards, and a whole host of people in costume. Visitors will pay good money to have their photos taken with these characters, and one of the most inexplicably popular is this adult-sized baby, complete with a diaper.
15 The Morning After
Even in the city that never sleeps, people still need to get a few hours’ rest. Kudos to this young partygoer for being able to maintain her balance in such an awkward posture. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of this picture is the fact that other New Yorkers seem to be turning a blind eye to such a sight.
14 Google Fail
The Google cars have managed to capture some unusual sights on their journeys around the streets of the world, and New York is no exception. The passenger on this tourist bus was obviously rather startled to see the Google car alongside them, resulting in a rather bizarre holiday snap for her to remember her trip by.
Only in New York would you see a guy dressed as if he is on his way to work on Wall Street taking both his pet dog and his young son out for a walk. It may seem a little weird to put what is essentially a leash on a toddler, but given that the city is full of speeding cars, it can be a sensible safety precaution.
12 Costume Couple
New York is home to plenty of creative types, who have often traveled from across the country or even around the world to try and find fame and fortune on Broadway. These artists can be just as colorful in their private lives too and think nothing of dressing up in costume for a night on the town.
A city that is home to over 100 universities and colleges is also going to have to deal with more than its fair share of students. And who else but students would spend their hard-earned money on a Barney and T-Rex costume in order to have the two characters fight it out on a New York street?
10 Even Wizards Get Hungry
The hot dog carts which seem to be on almost every street corner are as much of a New York institution as the Statue of Liberty herself, and a great place to grab a snack. It seems that even New York’s wizarding population (or wizarding impersonators) enjoy New York hot dogs.
9 Keep Out The Cold
It can be easy to forget that New York City is located closer to the Canadian border than most of the United States, and suffers from severely cold and snowy winters. Getting around in that weather isn’t always easy, but at least this cycling New Yorker has found an effective if unconventional way to stay warm while on two wheels.
8 Hanging On The Telephone
New York has been the place to be for decades, and partying kids from the 60s and 70s have now grown up in the city. That doesn’t stop them from still expressing themselves, as the flamboyantly dressed gentleman in the image above illustrates. The older generation now acts as an inspiration to the next generation of stylish New Yorkers.
7 New York’s Finest
Most people’s only contact with New York’s Finest is on TV, and the detectives on the small screen all drive muscle cars or motorcycles, not beat cars – and certainly not beat cars like the one above. This looks more like a converted milk float than the sort of vehicle that is going to chase down hardened criminals.
6 Soldier On
Most of the guys that make a living fleecing Times Square tourists by offering pictures with famous characters are not concerned whether or not their costume is accurate. However, there is one New Yorker who has created a very realistic plastic toy soldier costume, and who always gets plenty of interest, especially when he rides to work on the subway!
5 Morning Commute
The plastic toy soldier is not the only Times Square character who has to think about the practicalities of getting to work every morning. Only in New York would the regular morning commuters line up alongside Elmo from Sesame Street as they wait at a neighborhood crossing light. However, Elmo is proving such a popular costume, that there can be half a dozen or more in Times Square each day!
4 Making Friends
New Yorkers are known for their resilience and their forthright way of speaking, but they are also friendly and welcoming to strangers. Including, apparently, visitors from another planet. Whether this fantasy beast was on his way to a party or an audition, his fellow New York resident seemed more than happy to chat while they waited for the bus.
3 Custom Car
In a city with so many artists, it is hardly surprising that even the most every day, ordinary, and mundane items have been given an imaginative makeover. This car, which used to be a Honda, has now been decorated with everything from action figures to toy animals including a giant zebra on the roof.
2 Taxi To The Zoo
Strange sights in New York are nothing new. This iconic image of household pet Linda the Llama taking a ride in the back of her owner’s car was taken in 1957. Linda was something of a TV star during her lifetime and was on her way back from a studio appearance when this snap was taken.
1 Only In New York
Los Angeles is more likely to host a massive outside yoga session, and yet Times Square has occasionally been shut-down for such large-scale displays of very un-New York zen and relaxation. Every year, yogis from across the country travel to New York to celebrate the Summer Solstice in this unique environment.
Sources: The Culture Trip, NY Post, Today, Local Adventurer, Times Square NYC