NY is the largest city in the USA and one of the largest and most fascinating cities of the world.
More than 8 million people live in the central area and if the whole metropolitan area is counted, there live about 18 million people.
It is an important seaport, with a good connection with inland; the largest business, industrial and cultural centre of the USA and it is also the centre of the art world, the media world, the theatre world, and the fashion world.
- The first people in NY were American Indians. They lived on an island – Manahattan Island.
They killed animals and sold the fur.
- In 1609, a Dutch ship with captain Henry Hudson came into the harbour.
Later, in 1625, the Dutch bought Manahattan Island from the Indians for about 24 dollars and settled there. They called the town New Amsterdam.
The Dutch protected the town against the Indians by a wooden wall (now, in the place of the wall, there is Wall Street which is known as the world´s most important financial centre with the most important stock-exchange in the world).
- Then other Europeans bought land from the Dutch and built houses there, too.
- At that time, the English had land all around New Amsterdam. They wanted the town and the harbour, too. During the second Anglo-Dutch war (1664-67) the town was taken by the British without a shot being fired.
- New Amsterdam became New York and a colony of England.
- During the War of Independence, when George Washington became the first President of the USA, NY was the capital of the new country for a year (1789-90).
- After the war, people from all over the world came to America and most of them settled in NY.
The immigrants were mostly from England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland. Later, Germans, Italians and Jewish arrived. There was also an increasing flow of Spanish speaking immigrants (from Puerto Rico, the Carribean, Central and South America).
This immigration has produced an extraordinary variety of ethnic groups and religions in NY, many of them living in their own quarter of the city – e.g. Chinatown, Little Italy, East Side (Hungarians, Czechs, Germans), Lower East Side (it was traditionally Jewish but Blacks and Hispanics have replaced them), Harlem (Negroes) East Village (a multi-cultural area with many ethnic restaurants, fanky boutiques, rock and jazz clubs) etc.
They have their own shops, restaurants and churches.
For this reason, the nicknames of NY are : MELTING POT or BIG APPLE.
There are 5 parts in NY which are called boroughs:
1. Manhattan – the real centre of NY
2. Staten Island – there are a lot of lakes and trees, not many people live there
3. Brooklyn – has a famous beach – Coney Beach and a famous shipyard
4. Queens – is the largest borough and a lot of visitors arrive there if they fly because there is the most important airport (one of 3 airports in NY) – the John F.Kennedy International Airport
5. The Bronx – is the only borough on the mainland, all others are on islands; there are a lot of parks and the Bronx ZOO – one of the largest in America
NY is a city of international importance. There is the United Nations Headquartes by the East River.
There is one flag for each member of the UN (about 150). Visitors can take an interesting tour through the buildings, they can also get tickets for a meeting of the General Assembly, the Security Council and other organs.
Everyone coming to NY from the sea can see the Statue of Liberty standing on Liberty Island, in the NY City Harbour. The statue is 46 m high, 92 m high including its pedestal. It weighs 225 tons. It was a gift to the American people from the French in 1886 to commemorate the alliance between the USA and France during the American revolution. The Statue symbolises freedom and democracy and since then it has been the first sight for immigrants who have come to the USA.
Boats take visitors from Manhattan Island to the Statue of Liberty. There are stairs inside the Statue (167 steps in the base and a spiral staircase of 171 steps in the statue).
Visitors can walk up the stairs to the head of the Statue (but most of them prefer the elevator) and look out from there at the harbour.
There is also the Museum of Immigration in the base. The Statue was the first object to greet immigrants sailing to the New World and thus became a symbol of the American ideal.
MANHATTAN is the real centre of New York. It is a long island washed by two rivers: The Hudson River on the west and The East River on the other side. The Harlem River is between Manhattan and The Bronx. NY has more than 65 bridges; The Brooklyn Bridge is the longest in the world; The George Washington Bridge is the only bridge over the Hudson River.
The city was built on a modern plan of streets and avenues which follow a geometry shape and are numbered, they do not have names except the old ones – Wall Street and Broadway.
Streets run east-west and avenues north-south
One of the most impressive views of NY City is the typical Manhattan skyline – a large number of skyscrapers on a small area. They started to build skyscrapers because of the lack of space and the high price of land on the island. Skyscrapers are also an interesting sociological phenomenon as the building is a small city itself: it offers residential quarters, office spaces, parking lots, restaurants, shopping facilities, fitness centres, swimming pools etc., but living in a skyscraper is very expensive.
The most famous are:
Empire State Building – it has 102 stories and a TV tower at the top. It was the highest building in the world until 1954 and it was also called ”the eight wonder of the world”.
World Trade Center – called also The Twin Towers – the two buildings have 110 stories.
Visitors can see the city and the harbour from the top of both of the mentioned buildings.
Another famous place is Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue. It is a large business and entertainment complex of 21 buildings; the largest skyscraper city in the world. There are about 30 restaurants, a lot of shops, TV studios, exhibition halls. Visitors can admire its garden and skating rink.
One well-known building is The Radio City Music Hall – 6 000 people can see a show on the big stage.
Other famous skyscrapers are: Chrysler, PAN AM Bldgs, Citicorp Center, Trump Tower, IBM Tower.
Across the Fifth Avenue from Rockefeller Center is St. Patrick Cathedral – the largest Roman Catholic Church and the seat of the Archbishop of NY which has become the centre of the Easter Parade.
Another interesting place for visitors of NY is the Fifth Avenue, famous for its luxury shops, banks, airline offices, jewelries (Tiffany, Cartier), hotels (The Plaza Hotel), and office buildings.
It runs 6 miles through the city and divides Manhattan into eastern and western parts.
For shopping the best stores are between 34 and 58 Streets. The most famous and largest department store in NY is MACY´ S on 34 Street. Equally famous is Broadway, an old Indian road. It is famous for its theatres (there are more than 40).
The most famous are :The Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall.
Opera, ballet and concerts are performed at Lincoln Center.
Times Square is the centre of the theatre district and there are also fashionable restaurants.
It is one of the leading attractions for tourists. An important evening in Times Square is New Year´s Eve- December 31.
Crowds of people stand there and wait for midnight.
Greenwich Village (Broadway) was inhabited by intellectuals, writers, and artists (actors and musicians); it is now a respectable residential area with old low but also modern apartment blocks.
In Madison Square Garden a lot of different sports events take place.
There are a lot of museums in NY. The most famous is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has great collections from all over the world, it has also a concert hall.
Other well-known museums are: Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, The American Museum of Natural History and Museum of the City of New York is very interesting, as well.
There is the second largest library in the USA – The New York Public Library.
There are the headquarters of most US publishing houses, for example – New York Times.
NY has more than 50 universities and colleges ( Columbia University, The City University)
NY has a lot of parks. The most famous and the largest is Central Park, lying in the centre of Manhattan. It offers both summer and winter attractions (a ZOO, an ice-skating rink, an open-air theatre, tennis courts, biking paths, children´s playgrounds etc.) In summer, lots of people go out in boats on the Lake. Horses pull carriages through the Park. However, it is dangerous to go after dark.
There are thousands of restaurants in NY. They serve every kind of food in the world. People coming to NY like to visit Chinatown with its restaurants serving typical Chinese food.
Statue of Liberty
For travel-weary immigrants approaching New York Harbor, the first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty was an emotional experience remembered for life. Fittingly, engraved on the base of this monumental statue are the words from Emma Lazarus's poem, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
Designed by French sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the statue was intended as a monument to the freedom found lacking in his own country of France. Bartholdi said, "I will try to glorify the Republic and Liberty over there, in the hope that someday I will find it again here." Bartholdi used his own mother as the model for the statue and devoted 21 years of his life to the making of the monument. Gustave Eiffel, who later designed the Eiffel Tower, designed the frame. Lady Liberty, as the statue is sometimes called, was a gift from the French commemorating the American Revolution. The statue was unveiled on October 28, 1886, by President Grover Cleveland. Previously, the statue had been a fixture in Paris before it found its way to its present home on Bedloe's Island, now known as Liberty Island. In 1986 the statue underwent extensive restoration at a cost of $69.8 million dollars.
A new gold torch was added replacing the corroded original (the original is on display in the main lobby). The torch was coated with 24-carat gold leaf. The Statue of Liberty is recognized as a symbol of freedom throughout the world. Between 1820 and 1920, approximately 34 million persons immigrated to the United States, three-fourths of them staying permanently. For many of these newcomers, their first glimpse of America was the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. The Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus saw the statue as a beacon to the world. A poem she wrote to help raise money for the pedestal, and which is carved on that pedestal, captured what the statue came to mean to the millions who migrated to the United States seeking freedom, and who have continued to come unto this day.
Some interesting facts:
· Height: 305 feet (93 m). 354 steps lead from the entrance to the crown. · The seven rays of Lady Liberty's crown represent the seven seas and seven continents. · The pedestal is set within the walls of an army fort. It was the largest concrete mass ever poured. · There are 25 windows in the crown, which symbolize 25 gemstones found on the earth. · The tablet, which the statue holds in her left hand, reads (in Roman numerals) "July 4th, 1776."
No street has been more important to a city than Wall Street has been to New York. The street was named for a wall that protected Manhattan from enemies and warring Indians. Wall street has become the center of business in the city of New York, and has come to be known as the financial center of the world. The massive bronze statue of a bull, the symbol of Wall Street, has long been a mascot for traders on Wall Street and is located at Wall Street and Broadway. The statue's nose is a lighter color than the rest of the bull from being polished by the hands of passers-by seeking to earn their fortunes. As you explore Wall Street, don't forget that the greater financial district offers a wealth of fantastic sites, including: the Chase Manhattan Bank and Plaza located on Liberty Street; The Marine Midland Bank at the corner of Nassau and Liberty Streets; The Chamber of Commerce on Liberty Street; and The Federal Reserve Bank at the triangle formed by Liberty and Maiden Streets.
The World Trade Center, also known as the "Twin Towers," was built as a result of a massive urban renewal project sponsored by the Port Authority of New York. Begun in 1966 and completed in 1970, the 16-acre site was the center of international trade and commerce.
At least 70,000 people worked at the World Trade Center and another 70,000 visited each day. The Center consisted of two 110-story (1350 feet each) office towers (One and Two World Trade Center), a 47-story office building (Seven World Trade Center), two nine-story office buildings (Four and Five World Trade Center), an eight-story U.S. Customhouse (Six World Trade Center), and the 22-story New York Marriott World Trade Center Hotel (Three World Trade Center). The World Trade Center Mall, located immediately below the plaza, hosted a wide range of shops and restaurants. At 107 floors, The World Trade Center was New York's tallest building and the among tallest buildings in the world. The elevator took passengers to the glass enclosed observation decks for spectacular views of the city skyline. At the 100th floor was the world's highest outdoor promenade. There were a variety of dining choices at the World Trade Center including fast food and full service restaurants. The famous Windows on the World restaurant offered an exceptional dining experience. There were also two restaurants in the Marriott World Trade Center. They were the Tall Ships Bar and the Greenhouse Café.
Empire State Building
A symbol of New York City all over the world, the Empire State Building stood as the tallest building in the world until 1977 when the World Trade Center took the title. None-the-less, the Empire State Building remains one of the most beloved and recognized buildings in the world. Designed in the Art Deco motif, the building was completed in 1931. When the building was opened, they had such a hard time finding tenants to rent space within it that New Yorkers began calling it the "Empty State Building." Luckily, the popularity of the observatories prevented the building from going into bankruptcy. Everything about the building was designed to expedite its construction. Pre-fabricated material was used as much as possible. As a result, work progressed at a rate of about four stories each week. The entire framework took 23 weeks to complete. The original design called for 86 stories, but a 150 ft (46m) mooring mast for zeppelins was added. Today the mast is used for TV and radio broadcasts.
High-speed elevators traveling at up to 1,200 ft (366 m) per minute carry passengers from floor to floor. One frightening incident occurred in 1945, when a bomber plane flying through fog over Manhattan crashed into the building just above the 78th floor. An elevator carrying an elevator operator fell to the bottom. The woman was saved by the elevator emergency brakes.
A natural lightning rod, the Empire State Building is struck up to 500 times each year. The outdoor observation decks are closed during thunderstorms, but the inside viewing areas remain open. Inside the marble-lined lobby, visitors can view a series of relief images created by artists Roy Sparkia and his wife Renee Nemerov in 1963. One illuminated relief image depicts the Empire State Building as the eighth wonder of the world. The images of the other Seven Wonders of the World are displayed along the lobby walls in shimmering relief. Interesting facts:
Height from 102nd floor: 1,250 ft (381m) Visibility from the Observatory: up to 80 miles Building weight: 365,000 tons Bricks used: 10 million Number of windows: 6,500
Madison Square Garden
For over 100 years throngs of people have flocked to Madison Square Garden, a centerpiece of New York City. Home of the New York Knickerbockers (the Knicks) basketball team and the New York Rangers ice hockey team, the Garden is also host to over 600 events a year. Events include rock concerts, wrestling, championship tennis, the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Baily Circus, antique shows, dog shows, boxing matches, and countless others. Knicks and Rangers tickets invariably sell out, but sometimes the box office will make small blocks of tickets available on game day. In addition to sports and special events, Madison Square Garden provides convention and office facilities. The facility can seat 20,000 for meetings, conventions or product launches. The convention area is approximately 36,000 square feet.
Founded October 24, 1945, the United Nations originally had only 51 nation members. The membership has grown to 180 nations - nearly every nation in the world. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the 8.5 million dollars needed to purchase the 18-acre East River site. American architect, Wallace Harrison was enlisted (along with an international board of consultants) to design the buildings. An interesting fact is that the site is not a part of United States territory. It is an international zone that has its own post office, security, and even postage stamps. The goals of the United Nations are to promote world peace, self-determination, and to aid in economic and social well-being throughout the world. The UN has no army. Governments voluntarily supply troops and other personnel to halt conflicts that threaten peace and security. The United States and other member states on the Security Council (not the Secretary-General) decide when and where to deploy peacekeeping troops.
Eighty per cent of the work of the UN is devoted to helping developing countries build the capacity to help themselves. This includes promoting and protecting democracy and human rights; saving children from starvation and disease; providing relief assistance to refugees and disaster victims; countering global crime, drugs and disease; and assisting countries devastated by war and facing the long-term threat of land-mines. The total operating expenses for the UN system -- including the World Bank, IMF, and all the UN funds, programs, and specialized agencies -- are about $18.2 billion a year. This is less than the annual revenue of a major corporation like Dow Chemical, which realized revenues in excess of $20 billion in 1997.
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