The Big Apple according to John Oliver

The Emmy-winning, Daily Show comedian responds to your questions about ten New York City oddities.

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  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

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    More baby pigeons!
    Yes, we photographed John Oliver with real pigeons provided by the Wild Bird Fund, which is working to open a wildlife rehabilitation center in NYC, the only major city that doesn't have one. For more information, go to wildbirdfund.com. Click through for more pictures.

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  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

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  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

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  • Photograph: Courtesy of Wild Bir

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Photograph: Matt Hoyle

johnoliver03

More baby pigeons!
Yes, we photographed John Oliver with real pigeons provided by the Wild Bird Fund, which is working to open a wildlife rehabilitation center in NYC, the only major city that doesn't have one. For more information, go to wildbirdfund.com. Click through for more pictures.

Where are all the baby pigeons?
Pigeons actually raise their babies in a giant disused factory in Montauk, Long Island, where the chicks are trained in the "ways of the flying rat." Eventually, there is a coming-of-age ceremony in which graduating pigeons are dared to pass between the front wheels of a speeding taxi. Those that survive are the pigeons we see in public.

Why is the Thanksgiving parade named after Macy's?
It has nothing to do with the store. The tradition began in 1924, when a wealthy heiress named Macy Entwhistle offered the city $1.3 billion if it would annually force its residents to parade down to 34th Street in increasingly ridiculous costumes, while she sat back and laughed. If New York defaulted on this obligation at any point in the next 100 years, the entire city would become the property of the Entwhistle family. If there is any parade after 2024, it is due to New Yorkers' own free will.

Why is Houston Street pronounced "house-ton," not like the city in Texas?
Simply to annoy Texans.

Why did milk once have a regular expiration date and an NYC expiration date?
New Yorkers have a much higher lactose tolerance than the rest of the country. Studies show they can ingest milk that's two and half months older than citizens from other states can and feel almost no ill effects.

Where do those giant inflatable rats that appear on the street come from?
New York is famous for its pizza, its bagels and its colossal rodent infestation. The giant inflatable rats are supposed to function like scarecrows to frighten rodents out of the buildings. That is why there are also giant inflatable cockroaches, giant inflatable bedbugs and a giant inflatable Donald Trump. 

Why is Madison Square Garden nowhere near Madison Square Park?
MSG used to be located in Madison Square Park—but it was moved in 1942 after Mayor La Guardia's personal feng shui adviser insisted that Manhattan would seem much bigger if the arena were on top of Penn Station.

Why do NYPD cars sometimes drive in a string of 15 or 20 in a row with their lights on but not going fast?
Those cars are actually being driven by kids. NYPD officers frequently let their children drive their cars around the city, as long as they stick together, put the lights on and have an adult driving the car at the front. Next time you see it happening, look closely at the cars, and the only thing you'll be able to see behind the wheel is a tiny pair
of hands. 

When city workers actually remove snow, where do they put it?
It is carefully stored in a warehouse on Staten Island and is later used in 95 percent of the frozen margaritas served on Cinco de Mayo.

Where do street vendors go to the bathroom?
Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to.

Users say

3 comments
Al Streit
Al Streit

The pigeon joke - Couldn't it have been nice to pigeons and be funny? We all know words can kill - please don't give pigeon haters an excuse. Pigeons are birds like any other. Safe like the others. Also easy (and cheap) to keep off of buildings, branches, etc.

JJ4JJ
JJ4JJ

I love the Daily Show...but sometimes, you know how there are people that you just want to punch in the face for absolutely no reason? Like, for example, the lead singer of the Decemberists? or the guy doing the Rod Sterling impersonations on the Geico commercials? Well...that's the way I feel about John Oliver. Plus his last name is Oliver, which is just ridiculous. I mean we get it - Oliver Twist, Dickens, British...blah blah blah...SMACK!