Mysterious Facts About The Secret Life Of Cities

"Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected." —Roman Payne, Cities and Countries

Who doesn’t love to uncover hidden gems while they’re out in a big city? For tourists it makes them feel like locals. For locals it gives them a place to get away from tourists.

Cool restaurants and eclectic boutiques aren’t the only hidden gems that are waiting to be unearthed in cities around the world. Cities have a secret life, a history that is cooler to unearth than a new brunch place.

Here are 25 little known facts about the secret life of cities.

Secret Life of Cities Facts

25. Plague by the Bay

Most of us remember the bubonic plague –or the Black Death—as that thing that wiped out 1/3 of Europe’s population a long time ago. Or maybe we remember it as the topic of "Ring-around-the-rosey."

Either way, we never think of the plague anywhere but medieval Europe. However, the bubonic plague didn’t just hit Europe in the middle ages; in the early 1900s the bubonic plague struck San Francisco’s Chinatown, killing 119 people.

Secret Life Of Cities facts


24. But Was Its Fleece as White as Snow, Though?

Some people might say the most famous person from Massachusetts is Ben Affleck, or maybe John F. Kennedy, but I would say it’s Sterling, Massachusetts resident Mary Sawyer. Maybe you’ve heard of her. She had a little lamb. Mary from "

Mary Had a Little Lamb" was indeed a real person whose lamb followed her to school. It’s good to know at least this children’s poem isn’t an allegory for the Black Death.

Secret Life Of Cities facts


23. The Dead Can Ride

Just outside of New York City there’s the famous horse racing track Belmont Park. On June 4th, 1923, jockey Frank Hayes won his very first race. Too bad he didn’t live to see the end of it.

Hayes had a heart attack halfway through the race, but stayed atop his horse until she crossed the finish line first. Since Hayes was still atop his horse, he did qualify as the winner of the race.

To date, Hayes is the only jockey to have won a race while dead. Seems no one is eager to try and break that record.

Secret Life Of Cities facts