New York City
New York — officially named City of New York and often called New York City to distinguish it from the state of New York, in which it is located — is the most populous city in the United States, and the second most populous in North America after Mexico City.
New York City is known affectionately as the "Big Apple" and recognized as one of several "world cities". Giving some credence to the city's self-designation as "capital of the world", the United Nations headquarters is located in New York.
New York City is among the most densely populated places in the United States. Its population is more than eight million (2000 U.S. Census), and its land area is 831 km2 (320 square miles); hence the density is ca. 10,000/km².
New York City is part of the New York metropolitan area with a population of around 21 million, which itself is part of the BosWash megalopolis, which has a population of approximately 44 million people.
New York City is known as center of world wide finance, trade, and economic acitivity. Taken alone, its Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) was $488.8 billion (US) in 2003, the largest of any city in the United States. Taken as a single state unto itself, New York City would qualify as having the 6th highest Gross State Product (GSP). exceeding that of Pennsylvania. Taken as a nation unto itself, New York City would qualify was having the 16th highest GDP in the world, exceeding that of Russia ($433 Billion), but less than that of Brazil ($493 Billion).
History of New York City
The area that now constitutes New York City was inhabited by such Native American tribes as the Manahattoes and Canarsies long before the arrival of European settlers, as attested to by discoveries of arrowheads and other artifacts in areas of the city that are not occupied by buildings today, such as Inwood Hill Park and Riverside Park. European settlement began with the founding of the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam) on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1626. In 1664, English ships captured the city without struggle, and it was renamed New York, after the Duke of York. At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667, in the Treaty of Breda the Dutch formally signed New York over to the English and received the colony of Suriname in return.
At the start of the American Revolutionary War, the city was the scene of important early fighting at the Battle of Brooklyn, suffered a great fire in which much of it burned, and fell into British control for the remainder of the war, not to be regained by the Americans until 1783. "Evacuation Day" was long celebrated in New York.
During the 19th century, the city population boomed by an influx of a vast number of immigrants. In 1811, the city street grid was expanded to encompass all of Manhattan with a visionary development proposal called the Commissioner's Plan. By 1835, New York City overtook Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.
During the Civil War, the city's strong commercial ties to the South, as well as its growing immigrant population, led to a split in sympathy between the Union and Confederacy, culminating in the Draft Riots of 1863, the worst civil unrest in American history.
In 1898, New York City took the political form in which it exists to this day. Prior to 1898, New York City consisted of Manhattan and the Bronx, which was annexed by the city from southern Westchester County in two separate actions: the western portion in 1874, and the remaining portion in 1895. In 1898, a new municipal government, originally called Greater New York, was created by new legislation. It was divided into five boroughs. The Boroughs of Manhattan and The Bronx covered the original city and the rest of New York County. The Borough of Brooklyn consisted of the City of Brooklyn as well as several municipalities in eastern Kings County. The Borough of Queens was established in western Queens County, and covered several small cities and towns, including Long Island City, Astoria and Flushing. The Borough of Staten Island contained all of Richmond County. All municipal governments contained within the boroughs were abolished. A year later, the area of Queens County not contained within the Borough of Queens became Nassau County. In 1914, the state legislature created Bronx County, shrinking New York County so it contained only Manhattan. The five boroughs are now considered to be generally coterminous with their respective counties.
In the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. Interborough Rapid Transit (the first subway company) began operating in 1904. The New York skyline soared in the 1930s with the building of some of the world's tallest skyscrapers.
In the decades after World War II, however, the city slid into gradual decline with the loss of population to the suburbs and the erosion of its industrial base. Like many US cities, New York suffered severe race riots in the 1960s, and by the 1970s, the city had gained a reputation for being a crime-ridden relic of history. In 1975, the city hit bottom and had to declare bankruptcy.
The 1980s saw a rebirth of Wall Street, and the city reclaimed its role at the center of the world-wide financial industry. In the 1990s, crime rates dropped drastically and the outflow of population turned around, as the city once again became the destination not only of immigrants from around the world, but of many U.S. citizens seeking to live a cosmopolitan lifestyle that only New York City can offer. In the late 1990s, the dot com boom fueled another frenzy of financial speculation that sent the economy soaring.
The September 11, 2001 attacks also struck at Washington, D.C., but New York was the city most affected, because of the attack on the World Trade Center and the thick, acrid smoke that continued to pour out of its ruins for a few months following the Twin Towers' fiery collapse. However, cleanup of Ground Zero was completed ahead of schedule, and the city has since rebounded and pushed forward new plans for the destroyed areas of the World Trade Center. The Freedom Tower, to be built on the site, is intended to be the world's highest skyscraper after its scheduled completion in 2008.
New York City government
New York City is governed pursuant to the New York City Charter, as amended. The charter is enacted and amended by the New York State legislature, and occasionally through referendum. Though subservient to the State of New York, the city enjoys a high degree of legislative and executive autonomy. Like most governmental entities in the United States, the city government is divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches.
The Five Boroughs
The boroughs are coterminous with their respective counties, but the counties do not have actual county governments. Each borough elects a Borough President, but under the current city charter, the Borough President's powers are limited—he or she has a small discretionary budget to spend on projects within the borough. (The last significant power of the borough presidents—to appoint a member of the Board of Education —was abolished, with the board, on June 30, 2002.) Currently, borough presidents serve as ex officio members of various boards and committees.
Residents of the city often refer to the city itself as "the Five Boroughs," reserving the phrase "the City" to refer to Manhattan. Those less familiar with the city often (incorrectly) think Manhattan is synonymous with New York City. The boroughs other than Manhattan are also referred to as "the Outer Boroughs."
The executive branch of New York City is headed by the Mayor, who is elected by direct popular vote. The mayor has executive authority over five divisions of city government as well as several independent government offices. The divisions, each comprising several city agencies and headed by an appointed Deputy Mayor, are:
The mayor has broad emergency powers which can be exercised in cases of emergency weather conditions, natural disaster, riots, civil unrest, invasion or other emergency. Most recently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a state of emergency during the 2003 North America blackout.
Legislative power in New York City is vested in a unicameral City Council, which contains 51 members, each representing a district of approximately 157,000 people. Council members are elected every four years, and the leader of the majority party is called the Speaker. The current Speaker of the City Council is Gifford Miller, a Democrat. Like most legislative bodies, the City Council is divided into committees which have oversight of various functions of the city government. Bills passed by a simple majority are sent to the mayor, who may sign it into law. If the mayor vetoes the bill, the Council has 30 days to override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote.
Unlike the rest of New York State, New York City does not have typical county courts. Instead, there is a single Civil Court, with a presence in each borough and city-wide jurisdiction, and a Criminal Court for each New York City county which handles lesser criminal offenses and domestic violence cases, a responsibility shared with the Family Court. Unlike other counties in New York, judges for Family Courts in New York City are appointed for ten year terms by the mayor, instead of being elected.
Criminal cases are handled on indictment by the Supreme Court in each New York City county. The Supreme Court also handles larger civil cases, and grand juries sit in each county. Thus, unlike other states and the Federal Government, in New York, the Supreme Court is not the highest court. Appeals are handled by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The highest court in the state is the Court of Appeals.
New York has had a reputation as a crime-ridden city, partly due to the hundreds of TV and movie crime dramas set in it. However, in recent years it has been ranked in the top ten safest large cities in the United States by City Crime Rankings (9th edition, 2003). In addition, New York has been growing safer for most of the last decade. The fight against crime has been aided by COMPSTAT, implemented in 1994 by the New York Police Department to map crimes, analyze problems and devise solutions. In the past decade, violent crime has dropped by two-thirds (see New York Crime Statistics (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/pct/cspdf.html)) and FBI data indicate that the murder rate in 2000 was the lowest since 1967.
New York City's crime rates vary by neighborhood and borough. Staten Island is the safest borough in the city, Queens and Manhattan are in the middle range, while Brooklyn and The Bronx have the highest crime rates.
There have been some notorious crime sprees. For example, on July 29, 1976 the "Son of Sam", pulling a gun from a paper bag, killed one person and seriously wounded another, in the first of a series of attacks that terrorized the city for the next year.
As soon as the Sicilian Mafia moved to New York in the 1920s, they became infamous with their hits on businesses that did not pay money to them. They had also set up smuggling rings and fixed boxing matches. The Mafia flourished due to a distrust of the police in the Italian-American communities in New York. The five largest crime families in New York were the Bonnanos, the Colombos, the Gambinos, the Genovese, and the Luchese. The assimilation of the Italian-American population is choking the Mafia in New York, although they still operate.
Geography and climate
New York City comprises Manhattan Island, Staten Island, the western part of Long Island, part of the North American mainland (the Bronx), and several small islands in New York Harbor.
New York has a humid continental climate. The city is adjacent to water, so temperature changes are not as drastic as those inland. Every winter, it snows in New York due to its latitude. Because of its key position, New York had been king in the shipping passenger trade between Europe and the Americas for quite some time, until the airplane came into wider use across the Atlantic.
New York winters are typically cold, and sometimes feature snowstorms that can paralyze the city with over a foot of snow. Springs are mild, averaging in the 50s (10-15 degrees celsius) in late March to lower 80s (25-30 degrees celsius) in early June. Summers in New York are hot and humid. It is common for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius) but often stay below 100 degrees fahrenheit (40 degrees celsius). Autumns are comfortable in New York. However, weather is notably unpredictable in New York, even if not to the degree experienced in some other parts of the world. Mild, almost snowless winters and chilly summers surprise New Yorkers from time to time, there have been huge snowstorms as late as the second week in April, and there can occasionally be large temperature swings from one day to the next, so travellers are advised to check forecasts and bring several layers of clothing in late fall and early spring months (e.g., November, March, April).
Staten Island is hilly and spacious, and is the least populated borough in New York City. By contrast, space is sparse and valuable on Manhattan; there is nowhere to build but up, and that is why there are so many tall buildings in that borough.
The city will be threatened if the current patterns of global warming continue to raise the sea level.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,214.4 km² (468.9 mi²). 785.6 km² (303.3 mi²) of it is land and 428.8 km² (165.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 35.31% water.
The median income for a household in the city is $38,293, and the median income for a family is $41,887. Males have a median income of $37,435 versus $32,949 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,402. 21.2% of the population and 18.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.0% are under the age of 18 and 17.8% are 65 or older.
As of 2000, there are 8,008,278 people, 3,021,588 households, and 1,852,233 families residing in the city. The population density is 10,194.2/km² (26,402.9/mi²). There are 3,200,912 housing units at an average density of 4,074.6/km² (10,553.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 44.66% White, 26.59% African American, 0.52% Native American, 9.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.42% from other races, and 4.92% from two or more races. 26.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 3,021,588 households out of which 29.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% are married couples living together, 19.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.59 and the average family size is 3.32.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.9 males.
New York is a center of many industries in the United States. It was the early center of the American film industry, until it moved to Los Angeles, and still has some movie and television production. New York is also a financial center for the country, containing the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, American Stock Exchange, New York Mercantile Exchange, and New York Board of Trade. The New York financial industry is based in Wall Street, lower Manhattan. New York is also the center of the clothing industry in the United States. Many fashions come out of New York from different designers. New York also has a lot of book publishers, which often have New York as the very first city in publishing. New York also has a large tourism industry. See below for more details about the tourism industry.
Major corporations based in New York City
Communications and media
Newspapers and magazines
Neighborhoods of New York
Many big-city neighborhoods have a definable history and character of their own. (In New York, some avenues and even buildings have their own entry.)
People of New York
A resident of New York City is a New Yorker. Residents of Brooklyn sometimes call themselves Brooklynites and residents of Staten Island, Staten Islanders. Residents generally refer to New York City (or just Manhattan) as "New York" or "the city". Ambiguity is resolved by writing "NYS" for the state and "NYC" for the city.
To some observers, New York has seemed more of an international city than an "American" city, due to the large influx of immigrants. Among U.S. cities, only Los Angeles receives more immigrants. Hundreds of languages are spoken in New York City. In many major cities in the world, immigrants tend to cluster into enclaves where they can talk and shop and work with people from their country of origin. In the United States, this is most pronounced in New York City. Immigrants of Irish, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Puerto Rican, African and Jewish origin all have enclaves within the city, though there are also various neighborhoods in which people of diverse origins and cultural backgrounds coexist with greater or lesser degrees of ease. One measure of New York's diversity is that it has a higher Jewish population than Jerusalem does, and at the same time, a majority of its population is non-white. New Yorkers are accustomed to thinking that everyone in the city is a member of a minority in some sense, but that the more important fact is that all share an identity as New Yorkers.
Before September 11, 2001, New Yorkers were often stereotyped as rude and brusque. Since the destruction of the World Trade Center, increased empathy with New Yorkers has lessened this perception.
The common stereotype of the "New Yorker" is held by many. The city has a large population and is fast-paced, so New Yorkers are often seen as having an attitude of superiority as if New Yorkers were not meant to have any time to spare for anyone else (not even other New Yorkers). According to the stereotype, they will not hold the door for anyone, and will scoff the tourist who does. There is tourist mocking (including tourist jokes), due to the high levels of entertainment they receive from such abuse and tourists' unfamiliarity with the habits of city life. And supposedly, New Yorkers are so jaded that things that others would consider drawbacks to life in The City (crime, prostitution, pollution, noise...) are instead marks of pride, the very lures that keep them from ever leaving. One former New York couple, who had left for Los Angeles in 1926, returned on a visit some decades later, and summarized it thus: "We forgot how to be mean."
Whereas in the much of the rest of the United States, football has surpassed baseball as the most popular professional sport, in New York baseball arguably still stirs the most passion and interest. A World Series championship by either the New York Yankees or the New York Mets is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a ticker-tape parade for the victorious team. While for the rest of the East Coast the rivalry depicted as being the most intense is the one between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, for New Yorkers the rivalry that stirs deep passions is between the Yankees and the Mets. Outsiders are frequently unaware that few baseball fans in New York are fans of both teams at once.
After September 11th, the attitudes of New Yorkers have both changed and stayed the same. Pride in the city and their way of life have increased for many, though others show signs of paranoia. "Mets Suck!" was still graffitied on a scaffold near "Ground Zero." Cabbies still drive recklessly, though some civilian drivers are more polite than previously.
New York has an intense rivalry with the city of Boston, Massachusetts. This is perhaps the most infamous city rivalry in the United States, especially in the minds of Bostonians.
See also: List of people from New York
Tourism and recreation
Tourism is a very large business, with hundreds of famous buildings, sites, and monuments in New York City. Many people visit the Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and several other famous New York City landmarks. The World Trade Center was a famous tourist destination before September 11, 2001, and since that day, Ground Zero has become a very important place for visitors to see. The most famous FAO Schwarz is located in Manhattan. It is so popular that long lines to enter are seen as one approaches the building.
Coney Island, in the south of Brooklyn, has New York's roller coasters and amusement parks.
South Street Seaport, on the south east tip of Manhattan, has naval museums, shopping and Argentine Tango dancing every Sunday in the summer.
On the west side, NYC has the Intrepid Museum, an air-craft carrier converted to a sea and air museum.
The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York on November 27, 1924. Since then this has been an annual event drawing tens of thousands of spectators and in later years millions of television viewers.
Many people characterize the tourist-filled Manhattan as "New York". New York is actually more diverse than that, including Bronx, Brooklyn Staten Island and Queens boroughs even if they have shorter buildings than Manhattan does.
A common saying about con artists is to say that they are selling "pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge."
Sports teams and stadiums
Unlike most major cities, the New York City metropolitan area has two teams in most major league sports.
The Polo Grounds in northern Harlem (torn down in 1964) was the home of the New York Giants of Major League Baseball (now the San Francisco Giants) from 1911 to 1957. It was the first home of the New York Mets, in 1962 and 1963. It stood just across the river from the Bronx's Yankee Stadium.
In 2004, the New Jersey Nets was sold to Bruce Ratner, who announced plans to move it to Brooklyn and build a new state of the art arena. The New York Jets also hope to move to the West Side of Manhattan and build a retractable roof football stadium in 2008 once their lease at Giants Stadium expires. Both of these construction proposals have stirred considerable opposition.
New York City is home to two minor league baseball teams. Both play in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League, and each is an affiliate of one of the city's major-league teams. The Brooklyn Cyclones are a Mets affiliate, and the Staten Island Yankees are (obviously) affiliated with the Yankees.
New York City is a finalist to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, with plans to build many new sporting venues if chosen. The proposed Jets stadium on the West Side would also be used for the Olympic track and field events, but the uncertainty as to whether that stadium will be built is a weakness in the New York City bid.
Museums and cultural institutions
Unlike most of America's car-oriented urban areas, public transportation is the common mode of travel for the majority of New York City residents. High parking fees, alternate side of the street parking rules and traffic jams discourage driving, and the New York Subway—fast, efficient, but not always clean—provides the best alternative. There are also numerous bus routes in all five boroughs, and walking is often favored by locals as a practical and pleasant transportation method for trips of two or so miles or less. People living in the suburbs in eastern Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York either drive or use the city's far-reaching commuter railroad system to travel to the city.
High tollway fees on bridges and underground tunnels help raise revenue and discourage too many commuters from using the crossings. New Yorkers who live in the city tend to take taxis, buses, subways, and elevated trains. Ferries are also taken between Manhattan and New Jersey, as well as other parts of New York City.
New York City boasts the most extensive network of public transportation in the United States. Responsibility for providing public transportation falls to a variety of government agencies and private corporations.
The three local airports are JFK International Airport in Jamaica, Newark Liberty International in Newark, New Jersey, and La Guardia Airport in Flushing. Most New Yorkers fly domestic flights out of La Guardia, while many flying domestically into Newark and JFK are not from the New York area. Although Newark was the first airport in the area, and the closest to Manhattan, it is in New Jersey.
Many private ferries are run by NY Waterway, which provides several lines across the Hudson River, New York Water Taxi, with lines connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan, and other operators. There is also the free Staten Island Ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island, operated by the New York City Department of Transportation.
Taxicabs are operated by private companies and licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. There are two kinds of taxis: "medallion taxis," which are the familiar yellow taxis, and "car services," which may only be radio- or computer-dispatched to pick up customers who have called for a taxi. Yellow cabs patrol most of Manhattan and may be hailed with a raised hand and taken--depending on the driver--anywhere within the five boroughs and parts of New Jersey. As of May 2004, fares begin at $2.50 ($3.00 after 8 pm, and $3.50 during peak, weekday hours). Prices go up based on time elapsed and distance traveled.
Famous New Yorkers
Plays and musicals set in New York
Books set in New York
Television shows set in New York
Movies set in New York
Colleges and universities in New York
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