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This is an article about New York City; see also NYC, New York, and New York, New York.
New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the United States and is at the center of international finance, politics, communications, music, fashion, and culture. New York City is among the world's most important global cities, as it is home to a nearly unrivaled collection of world-class museums, galleries, performance venues, media outlets, corporations, and the hundreds of international consulates associated with the United Nations.
New York City has a population of over 8 million people contained within 309 square miles (800 km²), including immigrants from over 180 countries who help make it one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth. Many people from all over the United States are also attracted to New York City for its culture, energy, cosmopolitanism, and by their own hope of making it big in the "Big Apple".
New York City is comprised of five boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, each of which could be a major city in its own right. The city is at the heart of the New York Metropolitan Area, which, with over 22 million people, is one of the largest urban conglomerations in the world, and is the epicenter of both the Tri-State area and the BosWash megalopolis.
New York City serves as an enormous engine for the global economy, and is home to more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the country. Its estimated gross metropolitan product of US$488.8 billion in 2003 was the largest of any city in the United States and the sixth largest if compared to any U.S. State. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th highest gross domestic product in the world, exceeding that of Russia ($433 billion).
History of New York City
- Main article: History of New York City
Long before the arrival of European settlers, the New York City area was inhabited by the Lenape people, including such tribes as the Manahattoes, Canarsies and Raritan; Lenape in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbor, in 1524. Following the 1609 voyage of Henry Hudson, European settlement began with the founding of the fortified Dutch fur trading settlement of New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam) in the New Netherland colony on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1626. In that year, Peter Minuit established a long tradition of shrewd real estate investing when he purchased Manhattan Island and Staten Island from Algonquin tribesmen in exchange for trade goods. Minuit's settlement was also a haven for Huguenots seeking religious freedom.
In 1664, English ships captured the city without struggle, and the Dutch formally ceded it to the English in the Treaty of Breda at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667. The city was renamed New York, after James, Duke of York, and became a royal colony in 1685 when James succeeded his brother as King of England.
New York was greatly damaged by fire during the Battle of Brooklyn at the start of the American Revolutionary War, and was occupied by the British until November 25, 1783. On this date, marked annually thereafter as "Evacuation Day," George Washington returned to the city and the last British forces left the United States. On April 30, 1789 Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States at Federal Hall on Wall Street. The Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation met there, and New York City remained the capital of the US until 1790.
During the 19th century, the city was transformed by immigration, a visionary development proposal called the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan, and the opening of the Erie Canal, which connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the Mid-western United States and Canada in 1819. By 1835, New York City overtook Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States. Local politics became dominated by Tammany Hall, a Democratic Party political machine.
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the city's strong commercial ties to the South, its growing immigrant population, and anger about conscription led to divided sympathy for both the Union and Confederacy, culminating in the Draft Riots of 1863, the worst civil unrest in American history. After the Civil War, the rate of immigration from Europe grew steeply, and New York became the first stop for millions seeking a new and better life in the United States, a role acknowledged by the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886.
In two separate actions in 1874 and 1895, New York City (and New York County) annexed sections of southern Westchester County known as the Bronx. In 1898, New York City took the political form in which it exists to this day. Manhattan and the Bronx, though still one county, were established as two separate boroughs and joined together with three other boroughs created from parts of adjacent counties to form the new municipal government originally called "Greater New York". The Borough of Brooklyn incorporated the independent City of Brooklyn, recently joined to Manhattan by the Brooklyn Bridge, and several municipalities in eastern Kings County, New York; the Borough of Queens was created from western Queens County (with the remnant established as Nassau County in 1899); and The Borough of Staten Island contained all of Richmond County. All municipal (county, town and city) governments contained within the boroughs were abolished. In 1914, the New York State Legislature created Bronx county, making five counties coterminous with the five boroughs.
On June 15, 1904 over 1,000 people, mostly German Immigrants, were killed when the steamship General Slocum caught fire and burned in the East River; and on March 25, 1911 the Triangle Factory Fire in Greenwich Village took the lives of 145 female garment workers, which would eventually lead to great advancements in the city's fire department, building codes, and workplace regulations.
Throughout 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, and the railroads operating out of Grand Central Station thrived. Despite the effects of the Great Depression, the 1930s saw the building of some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, including numerous Art-Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline today. Both before and after World War II, vast areas of the city were also reshaped by the rise of the bridges, parks and parkways of coordinator Robert Moses, the greatest proponent of automobile-centered modernist urbanism in America.
A post-World War II economic and residential boom was associated with returning veterans and immigration from Europe, and huge tracts of new housing were constructed in eastern Queens. In 1951, the United Nations relocated from its first headquarters in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, to the East Side of Manhattan. Like many US cities, New York suffered population decline, an erosion of its industrial base, and 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 government was on the brink of financial collpase and had to restructure its debt through the Municipal Assistance Corporation, headed by Felix Rohatyn. The city was also forced to accept increased scrutiny of its finances by an agency of New York State called the Financial Control Board.
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 city benefitted disproportionately from the success of the financial services industry during the dot com boom, one of the factors in a decade of booming residential and commercial real estate value increases.
New York City was the site of the deadliest attack in national history, on September 11, 2001, and nearly 3,000 people were killed by the terrorist strike on the World Trade Center, including New Yorkers employed in the buildings and hundreds of firemen, policemen, and rescue workers who came to their aid. Thick, acrid smoke continued to pour out of its ruins for months following the Twin Towers' fiery collapse. The city has since rebounded and the physical cleanup of Ground Zero was completed ahead of schedule. The Freedom Tower, intended to be the world's highest skyscraper after its scheduled completion in 2008, is to be built on the site.
Over the next ten years, the city expects a wave of public and private-sector building projects to reshape large sections of the city, and a residential construction boom has resulted in permits being issued for over 25,000 new residential units every year.
Boroughs and neighborhoods
Image of New York showing the five boroughs.
Residents of the city often refer to the city itself as "the Five Boroughs," reserving the phrase "the City" for Manhattan, and referring to the other boroughs as "the Outer Boroughs." Those less familiar with the city often (incorrectly) think Manhattan is synonymous with New York City. Through the boroughs, there are hundreds of neighborhoods in the city, many with a definable history and character all their own.
Manhattan (New York County, pop. 1,564,798) is the business center of the city, and the most superlatively urban. It is the most densely populated, and the home of most of the city's skyscrapers. List of Manhattan neighborhoods
The Bronx (Bronx County, pop. 1,363,198) is known as the purported birthplace of hip hop culture, as well as being the home of the New York Yankees. It is the only part of the city on the mainland. List of Bronx neighborhoods
Brooklyn (Kings County, pop. 2,472,523) is the most populous borough, with a strong native identity. It ranges from a business district downtown to large residential tracts in the central and south-eastern areas. List of Brooklyn neighborhoods
Queens (Queens County, pop. 2,225,486) is the most diverse county in the U.S., with more immigrants than anywhere else. Geographically it is the largest of the boroughs, and the legacy of its old constituent towns is still evident. List of Queens neighborhoods
Staten Island (Richmond County, pop. 459,737) is somewhat isolated and the most suburban part of the city, but has been growing more a part of city life over the last decades, especially since the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964, an event that bred controversy and even a recent attempt at secession. List of Staten Island neighborhoods
See also: Neighborhood rebranding in New York City
New York City government
- Main Article: Government of New York City
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 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:
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. 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.
Since 1991, New York City has seen a fifteen-year trend of decreasing crime and is now among the safest cities in America; many neighborhoods that were once considered dangerous are thriving with new businesses and housing, and many residents feel safe to walk the streets late at night. Violent crime in the city has dropped by 75% in the last twelve years and the murder rate in 2004 was at its lowest level in over forty years: there were 572 murders that year compared to 2,245 in 1990. Some feel that the implementation of COMPSTAT crime analysis by the New York Police Department in 1994 is responsible for the positive changes. New York City's crime rates vary by neighborhood and borough; Staten Island is the overall safest and Brooklyn and The Bronx have the highest crime rates.
New Yorkers are famous for doing things "bigger and better," and this sometimes applies to criminal activity: Organized crime has been associated with New York City since the early 20th Century, when legendary mobsters Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano transformed it, although later decades are more famous for Mafia prosecutions (and prosecutors like Rudolph Giuliani) than for the influence of the Five Families.
Another notorious crime story is the serial killings by the "Son of Sam", who on July 29, 1976 began a series of attacks that terrorized the city for the next year.
For New York City crime Statistics see http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/pct/cspdf.html.
See also: Timeline of New York City crimes
Geography and climate
New York City, viewed from the TERRA satellite.
New York City is sited among an archipelago of islands astride the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard of North America, surrounding the fine New York Harbor, which was the very reason for the city's founding. The city itself has been built on the three major islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and on western Long Island (Brooklyn and Queens), as well as on the mainland in the Bronx. There are also some smaller islands in the surrounding waters.
The Hudson River, sometimes known in the city as the North River, flows from the Hudson Valley into New York Bay, becoming a tidal estuary that separates the Bronx and Manhattan from New Jersey. The East River, really a tidal strait, stretches from the Long Island Sound to New York Bay, separating the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island.
Upper New York Bay is surrounded by Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the coast of New Jersey, and is connected by the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island to Lower New York Bay, which is partially surrounded by Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the coast of New Jersey, and opens to the Atlantic Ocean.
The shape of the land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch times, most dramatically in Lower Manhattan, and continuing in modern developments like Battery Park City. Much of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, particularly in Manhattan. A number of smaller islands have been artificially enlarged, and the map of islands in Jamaica Bay has been completely transformed.
New York has a humid continental climate, and being adjacent to water suffers less temperature fluctuation than inland areas. New York winters are typically cold, and sometimes feature snowstorms that can paralyze the city with over a foot (30 cm) of snow. Springs are mild, averaging in the 50s (degrees Fahrenheit, 10–15 degrees Celsius) in late March to the lower 80s °F (25–30 °C) in early June. Summers in New York are hot and humid, with temperatures commonly exceeding 90 °F (32 °C), although usually below 100 °F (38 °C). Autumns are comfortable in New York, however, the weather is notably unpredictable, with mild, almost snowless winters and chilly summers an occasional surprise, and huge snowstorms arriving as late as the second week in April. Travelers are advised to check forecasts and bring several layers of clothing in late fall and in the early spring months (e.g., November, March, April).
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. Although most of the city is adequately above sea level, parts of it could be threatened in the future if the current patterns of global warming continue.
- See also: Geography of New York Harbor
- Main article: Demographics of New York City
As of the census 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% Black or 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. 35.9% of the population is foreign born (18.9% born in Latin America, 8.6% Asia, 7.0% Europe).
New York City is also home to the nation's largest community of American Jews, with an estimate of 972,000 in 2002, and is the worldwide headquarters of the Hasidic Lubavitch sect and the Bobover and Satmar branches of Hasidism.
There are 3,021,588 households with a median income of $38,293; 29.7% contain children under the age of 18 and 37.2% are married couples living together. 19.1% have a single female householder, and 38.7% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.9% are single residents 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.59 and the average family size is 3.32.
Per capita income is $22,402; men and women have a median income of $37,435 and $32,949 respectively. 21.2% of the population and 18.5% of families are below the poverty line, of whom 30.0% are under the age of 18 and 17.8% are 65 and older.
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.
Historically, the city developed because of New York Harbor, widely considered one of the finest natural ports in the world. The value of this port was greatly expanded upon in 1819 with the opening of the Erie Canal, which gave New York an enormous advantage over the competing ports of Boston and Philadelphia. The old port facility was at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, but today there is only residual activity remaining at Red Hook in Brooklyn, and the Howland Hook Marine Terminal in Staten Island. Since the 1950s, most shipping activity in the area has shifted to Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey. But despite changes in international shipping, trade and the tertiary sector have always remained the real basis of New York's economy.
Manufacturing first became a major economic base for New York City in the mid-nineteenth century with the advent of industrialization and the railroad. New York was formerly a national center for clothing manufacture, and some continues, sometimes in sweatshops. Like international shipping, though, manufacturing gradually declined in the late-twentieth century with rising land values. The city was also the first center of the American film industry, until it moved to Hollywood, California, and still has some television and movie production.
Today, New York City is the chief center of finance in the world economy, with Wall Street in Lower Manhattan's Financial District. Financial markets based in the city include the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, American Stock Exchange, New York Mercantile Exchange, and New York Board of Trade. Many corporations also have their headquarters in New York.
New York is also the center of many of the service sector industries in the U.S., with more Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city than anywhere else in the country (including companies as prominent and diverse as Altria Group, Time Warner, American International Group, Pfizer, and many others). The city is by far the most important center for American mass media, journalism and publishing. Manhattan's Madison Avenue is synonymous with the American advertising industry, while Seventh Avenue is nicknamed "fashion avenue" as it serves as an important center for the fashion industry. New York also has the most important scenes for art, music, and theater in the U.S., with an increasingly active artist's community. The city also has a large tourism industry.
Culture of New Yorkers
- Main article: Culture of New York City
New York City, sometimes called "The City That Never Sleeps," is famously fast-paced and active, and the American idiom "in a New York minute" means "immediately." The stereotypical "hard-boiled New Yorker" has a reputation as self-centered, rude, and impatient, and takes pride in the crowds, noise, and hardships of city life. New York City residents are called "New Yorkers," although this term may also refer to suburbanites, and there is some use of borough-specific identifications, such as Manhattanites, Bronxites, Brooklynites, Queensites and Staten Islanders. Residents of the metropolitan area generally refer to New York City (or sometimes just Manhattan) as "The City," or "New York," and the acronym "NYC", as opposed to just "NY", help to avoid confusing references to the State of New York and the City. Other nicknames attributed to New York City include "the Big Apple", "Gotham", "the Naked City", "the Capital of the World", and the slogan introduced in 2005 by Mayor Bloomberg in an effort to win a bid for the 2012 olympics, "the World's Second Home."
Immigration and international flavor
New York absorbs a greater diversity of immigrant groups than any other American city, and it absorbs a larger number of immigrants every day than all other U.S. cities except Los Angeles, giving New York an international flavor, and making it the archetype of the American ideal of a "nation of immigrants." The city government employs translators in 180 languages.
The five boroughs are home to many distinct ethnic enclaves of Irish, Italians, Chinese, Koreans, Puerto Ricans, Caribbeans, African-Americans, Jews, South Asians and many others, and there are also many multi-ethnic neighborhoods where people of different backgrounds coexist comfortably. Regardless of ethnic origin, all groups share a common identity as New Yorkers.
Some celebrated ethnic/racial neighborhoods include Harlem, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side.
Because of traffic congestion and the well-designed New York Subway, six in ten residents, including many middle class professionals, commute to work via public transportation, making the everyday lifestyle and "pedestrian culture" of New Yorkers substantially different from the "car culture" that dominates most American cities. This pattern is strongest in Manhattan, where subway service is better and traffic is worse than in the outer boroughs. Even the city's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is a "straphanger," (subway commuter), and can be encountered on the train to City Hall each morning.
The great majority of Manhattan residents live in apartments in what is usually seen as a very overpriced and difficult housing market, although there are immense neighborhoods of suburban-style homes in the outer boroughs. The median sale price of a Manhattan apartment in 2004 was $670,000 , with prices in the outer boroughs lower but rising. Many residents rent apartments, and some areas are under rent control and rent stabilization laws. With space at a premium, lack of closet space is a common problem, and self-storage is a strong local industry.
Few cities have experienced the effects of gentrification to the degree that New York City has. Beginning primarily in the 1990s, although in some cases earlier, neighborhoods that had been seen as less desirable or unsafe became entirely transformed by the arrival of young professionals, often preceded by artists and “hipsters’. This process is exemplified by the cases of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Manhattan's Lower East Side. Although gentrification generally has led to lower crime, more business activity, and higher land values, many of the native residents of these communities have been adversely affected by the skyrocketing housing costs associated with these rapid changes.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, pride in the city and the New York way of life increased for many, though others may have showed signs of paranoia. Nationally, Americans felt increased solidarity with New Yorkers. Today, there is a palpable sense of optimism in New York, fear of terrorism has lessened dramatically, and a massive confluence of transportation infrastructure projects promises to greatly expand the city's economic potential. Drastic reductions in crime have changed "the ungovernable city" of the past into a remarkably civilized place, and recent polls show that a vast majority of New Yorkers think the city "is moving in the right direction."
- See also: List of famous New Yorkers
Tourism and recreation
The Empire State Building, New York City's tallest building
Tourism is a major local industry, with hundreds of attractions. Many visitors make it a point to visit the Empire State Building, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, United Nations Headquarters, the American Museum of Natural History, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Brooklyn Bridge, among other attractions.
There are over 28,000 acres (113 km²) of parkland found throughout New York City, comprising over 1,700 separate parks and playgrounds. The best known of these is Central Park, which is one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world, as well as a major source of recreation for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Other major parks in the city include Riverside Park, Battery Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, and Forest Park. The city also has 578 miles of waterfront and over 14 miles of public beaches.
Maritime attractions include the South Street Seaport, site of a historic port, and the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, housed in a World War II aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River.
Shopping is popular with many visitors, with Fifth Avenue being a famous shopping corridor for luxury items. Macy's, the nation's largest department store, and the surrounding area of Herald Square are a major destination for more moderately-priced goods. In recent years 23rd Street has become a major location for "big-box" retailers. In southern Manhattan, Greenwich Village is home to hundreds of independent music and book stores. The "diamond district" (located on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) is the city's main location for jewelry shopping, and SoHo, formerly the center of the New York art scene, is now famous for high-priced clothing boutiques, and the art galleries are now concentrated in Chelsea. There are also large shopping districts found in Downtown Brooklyn and along Queens Boulevard in Queens.
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. Annually on New Year's Eve, hundreds of thousands of people congregate in Times Square to watch the ball drop as millions watch on television.
The World Trade Center was an important tourist destination before the September 11, 2001 attacks, which devastated the city and its tourist industry. The city was nearly devoid of tourists for months, and it took two years for the numbers to fully rebound with fewer international, but more domestic visitors. Now the World Trade Center site has itself become an important place for visitors to see.
Many tourists only think of "New York" in terms of Manhattan, but there are four boroughs more, which, if they can't compete in skyscrapers, still offer other kinds of attractions. Brooklyn's old Coney Island is still a center of seaside recreation, with its beach, boardwalk, and amusement parks. Many enjoy the spectacular views available from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry. The Bronx Zoo is world-famous, and the Bronx Bombers don't play in Manhattan. Flushing, Queens is home to the legacy of the 1964 New York World's Fair (including the Unisphere), the US Open in tennis and Shea Stadium.
New York is a city of "great museums" with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's assemblage of historic art, the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum's 's 20th century collection, and the American Museum of Natural History and its Hayden Planetarium focusing on the sciences. There are also many smaller specialty museums, from El Museo del Barrio with a focus on Latin American cultures to the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design. A number of the city's museums are located along the Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue.
In addition to these museums, the city is also home to a vast array of spaces for opera, symphony, and dance performances. The largest of these is Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which is actually a complex of buildings housing 12 separate companies, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Other notable performance halls include Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
- See also: List of museums and cultural institutions in New York City
Media and entertainment
Because of its sheer size and cultural influence, New York City has been the subject of many different, and often contradictory, portrayals in mass media. From the sophisticated and worldly metropolis seen in many Woody Allen films, to the chaotic urban jungle depicted in such movies as Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, New York has served as the unwitting backdrop for virtually every conceivable viewpoint on big city life. New York’s portrayal on television is similarly varied, with a disproportionate number of crime dramas taking place in the city despite the fact that it is one of the safest cities in which to live in the United States. New York has also been the setting for countless works of literature, many of them produced by the city’s famously large population of writers (including Jonathan Franzen, Don Delillo, Thomas Pynchon, Susan Sontag, David Foster Wallace, and many others).
- See also: List of books set in New York City
Although 98% of American cities have a single daily newspaper with declining readership, New York City boasts over forty daily newspapers in several different languages, including such national heavyweights as the Wall Street Journal (daily circulation of 2.1 million) and The New York Times (1.6 million), and America's oldest continuously-published newspaper, the New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. Even the distantly third most popular New York Daily News (786,000) has the seventh-largest circulation in the United States.  The Staten Island Advance is a daily paper serving Staten Island and started as the cornerstone of the giant media conglomerate Advance/Newhouse Group. There are seven daily newspapers published in Chinese and four in Spanish. Multiple daily papers are published in Greek, Polish, and Korean, and weekly newspapers cater to dozens of different ethnic communities, with ten separate newspapers focusing on the African-American community alone. Ethnic variation is not the only measure of the diversity of New York City's newspapers, with editorial opinions running from left-leaning papers like the Village Voice to conservative publications such as the New York Sun. The tradition of a free press owes much to John Peter Zenger, a New York publisher who was acquitted in his 1735 landmark court case, setting the precedent that truth was a legitimate defense against accusations of libel.
New York also contains the corporate headquarters of publishing conglomerates Conde Nast and The Hearst Corporation, and over 50,000 New Yorkers are employed in the newspaper and publishing industry.
- See also: List of New York City newspapers and magazines
Television and film
New York City is the home of the four major television networks, ABC, CBS, the Fox Network, and NBC, and while the local film industry is dwarfed by that of Hollywood, its billions of dollars in revenue make it the second largest in the nation. The Kaufman-Astoria film studio in Queens dates back to the silent film era and was used by the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. More recently, Silvercup Studios produced the hit television shows Sex and the City and The Sopranos. MTV broadcasts programming from its sound stage overlooking Times Square, several blocks away from the theater housing The Late Show with David Letterman. Over a thousand people are involved with producing the various Law & Order television series. There is also a large movie-studio complex currently under construction on a 15 acre (61,000 m²) parcel of the Brooklyn Navy Yard called Steiner Studios , which will add over 270,000 square feet (25,000 m²) of new studio space to the city later this year.
- See also: List of New York City Television and Film studios, List of television shows set in New York City, List of movies set in New York City
- Main article: Broadway theatre
New York City boasts a highly active and influential theater district, which is centered around Times Square in Manhattan. It serves both as the center of the American theater industry, and as a major attraction for visitors from around the world. The dozens of theaters in this district are responsible for tens of thousands of jobs, and help contribute billions of dollars every year to the city's economy. Along with those of London’s West End theater district, Broadway theaters are considered to be of the highest quality in the world. Despite the name, many "Broadway" theaters do not lie on Broadway the street, and the distinction with Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway (which tend more toward experimental theater) is simply a reference to the seating capacity of the theater.
Music Industry and Music Scene
With its connection to media and communications and its mix of cultures and immigrants, New York City has had a long history of association with American music. Famous large venues dating from the 1920s, such as Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall have their smaller counterparts in the subsequent eras, from the Copacabana and The Bitter End to CBGB and Studio 54.
Modern composers such as native Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin were inspired by the City, at a time when New York based RCA was the nation's largest manufacturer of phonographs. The radio and musical stars of the Golden Age of Broadway gave way to the Brill Building's "Brill Sound." The Juillard School of Music trained New York Native Tito Puente, "El Rey de las timbales." The folk music scene in Greenwich Village nurtured the careers of Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Later, Bowery clubs such as CBGB helped spawn the American punk rock and New Wave Music movements, with The Ramones and The Talking Heads in the lead, while the height of the disco era saw throngs lined up outside the famed nightclub Studio 54. As if this weren't enough for one city to contribute to American music, modern New York is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Hip hop.
Although in much of the rest of the country American football has become the most popular professional sport, in New York City baseball arguably still stirs the most passion and interest. A "Subway Series" between city teams is a time of great excitement, and any 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. For most American baseball fans, the most intense rivalry is between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, but in the city the rivalry between the Yankees and the Mets is just as fierce. Outsiders are frequently unaware that few baseball fans in New York are fans of both teams at once.
The New York metropolitan area is the only one in the United States with more than one team in each of the four major sports, with nine such franchises. At Madison Square Garden, 'the world's most famous arena' New Yorkers can see the New York Knicks play NBA basketball, the New York Rangers play hockey, or the New York Liberty of the WNBA. New York's NFL teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets, play at Giants Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands. At the Continental Airlines Arena also in the meadowlands the New Jersey Nets play NBA basketball and the New Jersey Devils play NHL hockey.
New York City is also home to two minor league baseball teams that play in the short-season Class A New York - Penn League. The Brooklyn Cyclones are a New York Mets affiliate, and the Staten Island Yankees are affiliated with the New York Yankees.
New York has also buried more sports history than most American cities ever experience: Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 until 1957, was torn down in 1960, and the Polo Grounds in northern Harlem, just across the river from the Bronx's Yankee Stadium, was the home of the New York Giants of Major League Baseball from 1911 to 1957 (and the first home of the New York Mets) before being demolished in 1964.
Current sports issues include Bruce Ratner's proposal to move the New Jersey Nets to a new Brooklyn Nets Arena, and a proposal to build a West Side Stadium in Manhattan for the New York Jets in 2008. Both of these construction proposals have stirred considerable opposition, and may have an impact on the City's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.
See also: List of New York City sports teams
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. (Subways have much improved from the 1960s and 1970s, when their association with filth and criminality was a national joke.) 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. (See the "Mass transit" section below for more detailed information).
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 a common mode of transporation between Manhattan and New Jersey, as well as other parts of New York City.
Four primary Interstate Highways enter the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area: I-78, I-80, I-87 and I-95. Interstate 287 serves as a partial beltway around the city, and there are numerous three-digit Interstates of I-78 and I-95. A strange fact is that none of I-78's spur routes actually intersect with it. The I-78 "child" that comes closest to intersecting with I-78 is I-478, the unsigned designation for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. I-278 is the best-known of I-78's "children"; it goes through all of the city's five boroughs (only entering Manhattan on the Triborough Bridge). I-78 ends at the foot of the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan; it was originally supposed to cross Manhattan into Brooklyn and Queens to JFK Airport, then curve north and end at I-95 via the Throgs Neck Bridge. Portions of this road were constructed, and are now NY 878 (sometimes labeled I-878) and I-295 (including its spur I-695); the latter was originally signed as I-78. The 1975 fiscal crisis prevented I-78 from being finished, as well as community opposition to the Lower Manhattan Expressway.
- Main article: Mass transit in New York City
New York City boasts the most extensive network of public transportation in the United States. The world famous New York City Subway is operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). It is the most extensive subway system in the world when measured by mileage of track (656 miles of mainline track), and the fifth largest when measured by annual ridership (1.4 billion passenger trips in 2004). The subway system connects all boroughs except Staten Island, which is served by the Staten Island Railway via the free Staten Island Ferry (which connects to numerous subway lines). The city is also served by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's PATH subway system, which connects the borough of Manhattan to New Jersey. In addition to these, city residents rely on hundreds of bus lines, both publicly and privately operated, which serve nearly all areas of the five boroughs. Because of the extensive mass transit system, many New Yorkers do not own cars or even driver's licenses.
Responsibility for providing public transportation falls to a variety of government agencies and private corporations. Amtrak provides long-distance rail service. Short-distance rail, primarily for commuters from the suburbs, is operated by New Jersey Transit, the MTA (serving Long Island, Connecticut and regions in New York north of the city as the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad), and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also operates regional bus terminals.
The Port Authority also owns and operates the four major airports in the New York City area, JFK International Airport in Jamaica, Newark Liberty International in Newark, New Jersey, La Guardia Airport in Flushing, and Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey. JFK tends to handle international traffic, whereas La Guardia tends to handle shorter domestic flights, and Newark handles both international and domestic; Teterboro is New York's primary general aviation airport, handling heavy business jet traffic together with cargo and medevac flights and some light plane traffic. The first airport in the city was Floyd Bennett Field, now closed as an airport and today part of Gateway National Recreation Area.
The Port Authority also operates the AirTrain service, a train which connects the JFK and Newark airports to local subway and heavy rail systems.
While Teterboro is the primary general aviation airport for the New York area, there are several other airports located within a short distance of the city, including Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, Essex County Airport in Caldwell, New Jersey, Lincoln Park Airport in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, and Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey.
Taxicabs are operated by private companies and licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. There are two officially recognized car services in the city. "Medallion taxis," the familiar yellow cabs, are legally permitted to pick up passengers hailing them on the street. The "medallion" consists of an actual medallion attached to the hood. Each medallion carries an alphanumeric code, which is also displayed prominently at several locations on (and in) the taxicab. The medallion must be purchased from the city at an infrequent auction, or from another medallion owner. The supply of medallions is strictly controlled to prevent a surplus of cabs, which means that medallions trade at a high price. These days most medallions (and most cabs) are owned by investment companies and are leased to drivers ("hacks"), sometimes at illegally high rates. Yellow cabs patrol most of Manhattan and may be hailed with a raised hand. Drivers are required to pick up the first or closest passenger they see, and may not refuse a fare anywhere within the five boroughs (although some drivers balk at this). As of March 2005, fares begin at $2.50 ($3.00 after 8 pm, and $3.50 during peak, weekday hours) and increase based on the distance traveled, and on time spent stopped or in slow traffic.
The T&LC also regulates and licenses "car services," which are legally permitted to pick up only those customers who have called the car service's dispatcher and requested a car. However, during down times many car service cars patrol the streets of the outer boroughs, picking up passengers who hail them. While this is technically illegal, it is tolerated by the T&LC and the police since the drivers of the yellow cabs prefer to cruise for fares in Manhattan, and there is a need for taxi service for residents of the outer boroughs that the "black cars" are willing to fulfil. Since these "black cars" operate outside the law, they are extremely vulnerable to crime, particularly armed robbery.
Related to the "black cars" are the "dollar vans" that patrol regular routes in areas of the outer boroughs that are underserved by subways and official buses.
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.
Colleges, universities, and scientific research
New York City is served by the publicly-run City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban university in the United States, which has a number of campuses throughout the five boroughs. The city is also home to a number of other institutions of higher learning, some of national or even international reputation, including Columbia University and New York University, among many others.
New York City is also a major center of academic medicine. Manhattan island contains the campus of the world-class Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and NYU Medical Center and their medical schools. In the Bronx, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is a major academic center. Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine for polio, was an intern at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Upper Manhattan.
Dedication to the sciences starts early for many New Yorkers, who have the chance to attend such selective specialized high schools as the Bronx High School of Science (which boasts the largest number of graduates who are Nobel Laureates of any United States High School), and its rivals, Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Tech.
See also: List of colleges and universities in New York City and Category:New York City public education
New York City has by far the most famous skyline
in the world, which has become something of a tourist attraction in and of itself. Because of its high residential density, and the extremely high real estate values found in the city's central business districts, New York has amassed the largest collection of office and residential towers in the world. In fact, New York actually has three separately recognizable skylines: Midtown Manhattan
, Downtown Manhattan
(also known as Lower Manhattan
), and Downtown Brooklyn
. The largest of these skylines is in Midtown, which is the largest central business district in the U.S., and also home to such notable buildings as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building
, and Rockefeller Center
. The Downtown skyline was once characterized by the presence of the Twin Towers
of the World Trade Center
. Today it is undergoing the rapid reconstruction of Lower Manhattan
, and will some day include the new "Freedom Tower
" which will be the tallest building in the world when it is completed in 2007. The Downtown skyline will also be getting notable additions soon from such architects as Santiago Calatrava
and Frank Gehry
The Downtown Brooklyn skyline is the smallest of the three, and is centered around a major transportation hub in Northwestern Brooklyn. The borough of Queens has also been developing its own skyline in recent years with a Citigroup office building (which is currently the tallest building in NYC outside Manhattan), and the City Lights development of several residential towers along the East River waterfront.
See also: Tallest buildings in New York City
New York has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International (SCI): Beijing, Budapest, Cairo, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Rome, Santo Domingo, and Tokyo.
The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. by Kenneth T. Jackson, 1350 pages, Yale University Press 1995
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Oxford University Press, 1998, hardcover, 1416 pages, ISBN 0195116348, trade paperback, 2000, 1424 pages, ISBN 0195140494
- http://flagspot.net, http://fotw.vexillum.com/flags/us-nyc.html – Source of flag and seal images. Picture of flag is by Joe McMillan. Picture of seal is by Dov Gutterman.
- http://www.50states.com/bio/newyork.htm – Famous New Yorkers