|New York City|
|City of New York|
Clockwise, from top: Midtown Manhattan, Times Square, the Unisphere in Queens, the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan with One World Trade Center, Central Park, the United Nations Headquarters, and the Statue of Liberty
Main article: Nicknames of New York City
Location in New York State
Location in the United States
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Country||United States of America|
|Historic colonies|| New Netherland
Province of New York
|• Body||New York City Council|
|• Mayor||Bill de Blasio (D)|
|• Total||468.9 sq mi (1,214 km2)|
|• Land||304.8 sq mi (789 km2)|
|• Water||164.1 sq mi (425 km2)|
|• Metro||13,318 sq mi (34,490 km2)|
|Elevation||33 ft (10 m)|
|• Estimate (2013)||8,405,837|
|• Rank||1st, U.S.|
|• Density||27,778.7/sq mi (10,725.4/km2)|
|• Metro||19,949,502 (1st)|
|• CSA||23,484,225 (1st)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code(s)||100xx–104xx, 11004–05, 111xx–114xx, 116xx|
|Area code(s)||212, 347, 646, 718, 917, 929|
|GNIS feature ID||975772|
|Website||New York City|
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the nucleus of the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States—the New York metropolitan area, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. The city is referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the State of New York, of which it is a part. A global power city, New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.
On one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a county of New York State. The five boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island—were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a census-estimated 2013 population of 8,405,837 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. By 2013 census estimates, the New York City metropolitan region remains by a significant margin the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (19.9 million residents) and the Combined Statistical Area (23.5 million residents). In 2012, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of over US$1.33 trillion, while the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion, both ranking first nationally by a wide margin and behind the GDP of only twelve nations and eleven nations, respectively.
New York traces its roots to its 1624 founding as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic and was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country’s largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a globally recognized symbol of the United States and its democracy.
Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known to the city’s approximately 55 million annual visitors. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconified as “The Crossroads of the World”, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s bridges, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. New York City’s financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, has been called the world’s leading financial center and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. Manhattan’s Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive metro systems worldwide, with 468 stations in operation. Numerous colleges and universities are located in New York, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 35 in the world.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Society
- 6 Culture and contemporary life
- 7 Law, government and politics
- 8 Infrastructure
- 9 Notable people
- 10 Global outreach
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Etymology and early history
In the precolonial era, the area of present day New York City was inhabited by various bands of Algonquian tribes of Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island, the western portion of Long Island (including the area that would become Brooklyn and Queens), Manhattan, and the Lower Hudson Valley, including The Bronx.
The first documented visit by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown, who sailed his ship La Dauphine into New York Harbor. He claimed the area for France and named it “Nouvelle Angoulême” (New Angoulême).
A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 aboard the purpose-built caravel “La Anunciada” and charted the mouth of the Hudson river, which he named Rio de San Antonio. Heavy ice kept him from further exploration, and he returned to Spain in August. The first scientific map to show the North American East coast continuously, the 1527 world map known as the Padrón Real, was informed by Gomes’ expedition, and labeled the Northeast as Tierra de Esteban Gómez in his honor.
In 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson re-discovered the region when he sailed his ship the Halve Maen (“Half Moon” in Dutch) into New York Harbor while searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient for his employer the Dutch East India Company. He proceeded to sail up what he named the North River, also called the Mauritis River, and now known as the Hudson River, to the site of the present-day New York State capital of Albany in the belief that it might represent an oceanic tributary. When the river narrowed and was no longer saline, he realized it wasn’t a sea passage and sailed back downriver. He made a ten-day exploration of the area and claimed the region for his employer. In 1614 the area between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay would be claimed by the Netherlands and called Nieuw-Nederland (New Netherland).
The first non-Native American inhabitant of what would eventually become New York City was Dominican trader Juan Rodriguez (transliterated to Dutch as Jan Rodrigues). Born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent, he arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–1614, trapping for pelts and trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch. Broadway, from 159th Street to 218th Street, is named Juan Rodriguez Way in his honor.
A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624 with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1625 construction was started on a citadel and a Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam). The colony of New Amsterdam was centered at the site which would eventually become Lower Manhattan. The Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Canarsie, a small band of the Lenape, in 1626 for a value of 60 guilders (about $1000 in 2006); a disproved legend says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.
In 1664, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the colony of New Netherland, surrendered New Amsterdam to the English without bloodshed. The English promptly renamed the fledgling city “New York” after the Duke of York (later King James II). At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the English gained New Amsterdam (New York) in North America in exchange for Dutch control of Run, an Indonesian island. Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and some epidemics brought on by contact with the Europeans caused sizable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670. By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200.
New York grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule in the early 1700s. It also became a center of slavery, with 42% of households holding slaves by 1730, more than any other city other than Charleston, South Carolina. Most slaveholders held a few or several domestic slaves, but others hired them out to work at labor. Slavery became integrally tied to New York’s economy through the labor of slaves throughout the port, and the banks and shipping tied to the South. Discovery of the African Burying Ground in the 1990s during construction of a new federal courthouse near Foley Square revealed that tens of thousands of Africans had been buried in the area in the colonial years.
The trial in Manhattan of John Peter Zenger in 1735 helped to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by King George II as King’s College in Lower Manhattan. The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October 1765 as the Sons of Liberty organized in the city, skirmishing over the next ten years with British troops stationed there.
The Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War, was fought in August 1776 entirely within the modern-day borough of Brooklyn. After the battle, in which the Americans were defeated, leaving subsequent smaller armed engagements following in its wake, the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America. The city was a haven for Loyalist refugees, as well as escaped slaves who joined the British lines for freedom newly promised by the Crown for all fighters. As many as 10,000 escaped slaves crowded into the city during the British occupation. When the British forces evacuated at the close of the war in 1783 they transported 3,000 freedmen for resettlement in Nova Scotia. They resettled other freedmen in England and the Caribbean.
The only attempt at a peaceful solution to the war took place at the Conference House on Staten Island between American delegates including Benjamin Franklin, and British general Lord Howe on September 11, 1776. Shortly after the British occupation began the Great Fire of New York occurred, a large conflagration which destroyed about a quarter of the buildings in the city, including Trinity Church.
In 1785, the assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York the national capital shortly after the war. New York was the last capital of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation and the first capital under the Constitution of the United States. In 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States each assembled for the first time, and the United States Bill of Rights was drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street. By 1790, New York had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.
Under New York State’s “Gradual Abolition law of 1799″, children of slave mothers were born to be eventually liberated but were held in indentured servitude until their mid-to-late twenties. Together with slaves freed by their masters after the Revolutionary War and escaped slaves, gradually a significant free-black population developed in Manhattan. Under such influential United States founders as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay the New York Manumission Society worked for abolition and established the African Free School to educate black children. It was not until 1827 that slavery was completely abolished in the state, and free blacks struggled afterward with discrimination. New York interracial abolitionist activism continued; among its leaders were graduates of the African Free School. The city’s black population reached more than 16,000 in 1840.
In the 19th century, the city was transformed by development relating to its status as a trading center, as well as by European immigration. The city adopted the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan. The 1819 opening of the Erie Canal through central New York connected the Atlantic port to the agricultural markets and commodities of the North American interior via the Hudson River and the Great Lakes. Local politics became dominated by Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish and German immigrants.
Several prominent American literary figures lived in New York during the 1830s and 1840s, including William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, John Keese, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Public-minded members of the old merchant elite lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which in 1857 became the first landscaped park in an American city.
The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants. Over 200,000 were living in New York by 1860 (comprising a quarter of the population). There was also extensive immigration from the German provinces, where revolutions had disrupted societies, and Germans comprised another 25% of New York’s population by 1860.
Democratic Party candidates were consistently elected to local office, increasing the city’s ties to the South and its dominant party. In 1861 Mayor Fernando Wood called on the aldermen to declare independence from Albany and the United States after the South seceded, but his proposal was not acted on. Anger at new military conscription laws during the American Civil War (1861–1865), which spared wealthier men who could afford to pay a $300 (equivalent to $5,746 in 2014) commutation fee to hire a substitute, led to the Draft Riots of 1863, whose most visible participants were ethnic Irish working class.
The situation deteriorated into attacks on New York’s elite, and black New Yorkers and their property following fierce competition for a decade between immigrants and blacks for work. Rioters burned the Colored Orphan Asylum to the ground, but its more than 200 children escaped harm due to efforts of the city’s largely Irish immigrant police force. According to historian James M. McPherson (2001), at least 120 civilians were killed. In all, eleven black men were lynched over five days. The riots forced hundreds of blacks to flee the city for Williamsburg, Brooklyn and New Jersey; the black population in Manhattan fell below 10,000 by 1865, which it had last been in 1820. The white working class had established dominance. Violence by longshoremen against black men was especially fierce in the docks area. It was one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.
In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens. The opening of the subway in 1904, first built as separate private systems, helped bind the new city together. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication.
In 1904, the steamship General Slocum caught fire in the East River, killing 1,021 people on board. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city’s worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.
New York’s non-white population was 36,620 in 1890. In the 1920s, New York City was a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration from the American South. By 1916, New York City was home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The Harlem Renaissance of literary and cultural life flourished during the era of Prohibition. The larger economic boom generated construction of competing skyscrapers that changed the skyline into its identifiable twentieth-century shape.
New York became the most populous urbanized area in the world in early 1920s, overtaking London. The metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in early 1930s, becoming the first megacity in human history. The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello La Guardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.
Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed as the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America’s place as the world’s dominant economic power. The United Nations Headquarters was completed in 1952, solidifying New York’s global geopolitical influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitated New York’s displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
In the 1970s, job losses due to industrial restructuring caused New York City to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates. While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city’s economic health in the 1980s, New York’s crime rate continued to increase through the decade and into the beginning of the 1990s. By the 1990s, crime rates started to drop dramatically due to revised police strategies, improving economic opportunities, gentrification, and new residents, both American transplants and new immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city’s economy. New York’s population reached all-time highs in the 2000 Census and then again in the 2010 Census.
The city and surrounding area suffered the bulk of the economic damage and largest loss of human life in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. 2,978 people died as a result of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and many more were injured in the disaster. The rebuilding of the area, has created a new One World Trade Center, and a 9/11 memorial and museum along with other new buildings and infrastructure. The World Trade Center PATH station, which opened on July 19, 1909 as the Hudson Terminal, was also destroyed in the attack. A temporary station was built and opened on November 23, 2003. A permanent station, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, is currently under construction. The new One World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541.3 m) in reference to the year of American independence.
The Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan began on September 17, 2011, receiving global attention and spawning the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide.
New York City is in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston. The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading port. Most of New York City is built on the three islands of Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.
The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary. The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River—a tidal strait—flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates most of Manhattan from the Bronx. The Bronx River, which flows through the Bronx and Westchester County, is the only entirely fresh water river in the city.
The city’s land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times; reclamation is most prominent in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the natural relief in topography has been evened out, especially in Manhattan.
The city’s total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 sq mi (425 km2) of this is water and 304.8 sq mi (789 km2) is land. The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which, at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level, is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine. The summit of the ridge is mostly covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.
New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles and from distinct time periods, from the saltbox style Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, the oldest section of which dates to 1656, to the modern One World Trade Center, the skyscraper currently under construction at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan and currently the most expensive new office tower in the world.
Manhattan’s skyline with its many skyscrapers is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world. As of 2011, New York City had 5,937 high-rise buildings, of which 550 completed structures were at least 330 feet (100 m) high, both second in the world after Hong Kong, with over 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing.
The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setbacks in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below. The Art Deco style of the Chrysler Building (1930) and Empire State Building (1931), with their tapered tops and steel spires, reflected the zoning requirements. The buildings have distinctive ornamentation, such as the eagles at the corners of the 61st floor on the Chrysler Building, and are considered some of the finest examples of the Art Deco style. A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its façade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building’s structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is a prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers.
The character of New York’s large residential districts is often defined by the elegant brownstone rowhouses and townhouses and shabby tenements that were built during a period of rapid expansion from 1870 to 1930. In contrast, New York City also has neighborhoods that are less densely populated and feature free-standing dwellings. In neighborhoods such as Riverdale (in the Bronx), Ditmas Park (in Brooklyn), and Douglaston (in Queens), large single-family homes are common in various architectural styles such as Tudor Revival and Victorian.
Stone and brick became the city’s building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1835. A distinctive feature of many of the city’s buildings is the wooden roof-mounted water towers. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes. Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, such as Jackson Heights.
The Condé Nast Building, officially Four Times Square, is a modern skyscraper in Times Square in Midtown Manhattan and one of the most important examples of green design in skyscrapers in the United States. Environmentally friendly gas-fired absorption chillers, along with a high-performing insulating and shading curtain wall, ensure that the building does not need to be heated or cooled for the majority of the year. Office furniture is made with biodegradable and non-toxic materials. The air-delivery system provides 50% more fresh air than is required by New York City Building Code, and a number of recycling chutes serve the entire building. Being the first project of its size to undertake these features in construction, the building has received an award from the American Institute of Architects, as well as AIA New York State. New York has 56 skyscrapers that are over 200 meters.
New York City is located on one of the world’s largest natural harbors. The boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island are (primarily) coterminous with islands of the same names, while Queens and Brooklyn are located at the west end of the larger Long Island. This situation led to the development of an extensive infrastructure of bridges and tunnels. Nearly all of the city’s major bridges and several of its tunnels have broken or set records. For example, the Holland Tunnel was the world’s first vehicular tunnel when it opened in 1927.
The Queensboro Bridge is an important piece of cantilever architecture. The towers of the Brooklyn Bridge are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. Their architectural style is neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the stone towers. This bridge was also the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. The Manhattan Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Triborough Bridge, and Verrazano Bridge are all examples of Structural Expressionism.
According to the United States Geologic Survey, an updated analysis of seismic hazard in July 2014 revealed a “slightly lower hazard for tall buildings” in New York City than previously assessed. Scientists estimated this lessened risk based upon a lower likelihood than previously thought of slow shaking near the city, which would be more likely to cause damage to taller structures from an earthquake in the vicinity of the city.
Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and The Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.
- Manhattan (New York County) is the most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city’s skyscrapers. Most of the borough is on Manhattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River. Several small islands are also part of the borough of Manhattan, including Randall’s Island, Wards Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor. Finally, Marble Hill is a small neighborhood that constitutes a part of the mainland United States, with a land attachment to The Bronx.
Manhattan is the administrative and financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations Headquarters, a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan Island is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem. New York City’s remaining four boroughs are collectively referred to as the “outer boroughs”.
- The Bronx (Bronx County) is New York City’s northernmost borough, the location of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. Except for a small neighborhood of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, The Bronx is the only New York City borough that is a part of the mainland United States. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and is home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.
- Brooklyn (Kings County), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city’s most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a distinctive architectural heritage. Downtown Brooklyn is the only central core neighborhood in the outer boroughs. The borough has a long beachfront shoreline including Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.
- Queens (Queens County), on Long Island east of Brooklyn, is geographically the largest borough, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, as well as the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, the borough has since developed both commercial and residential prominence. Queens County is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)
- Staten Island (Richmond County) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, the 2,500 acres (10 km2) Staten Island Greenbelt has some 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island’s natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.
Under the Köppen climate classification, using the 0 °C (32 °F) coldest month (January) isotherm, New York City itself experiences a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), and New York is thus the northernmost major city on the North American continent with this categorization. The suburbs to the immediate north and west lie in the transition zone from a humid subtropical (Cfa) to a humid continental climate (Dfa). The area averages 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, and averages 57% of possible sunshine annually, accumulating 2,535 hours of sunshine per annum. The city falls under USDA 7b Plant Hardiness zone.
Winters are cold and damp, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean; yet the Atlantic and the partial shielding from colder air by the Appalachians keep the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities at similar or lesser latitudes such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. The daily mean temperature in January, the area’s coldest month, is 32.6 °F (0.3 °C); however, temperatures usually drop to 10 °F (−12 °C) several times per winter, and reach 50 °F (10 °C) several days each winter month. Spring and autumn are unpredictable and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically warm to hot and humid, with July daily mean temperature of 76.5 °F (24.7 °C). Nighttime conditions are often exacerbated by the urban heat island phenomenon, while daytime temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 17 days each summer and in some years exceed 100 °F (38 °C). Extreme temperatures have ranged from −15 °F (−26 °C), recorded on February 9, 1934, up to 106 °F (41 °C) on July 9, 1936.
The city receives 49.9 inches (1,270 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall between 1981 and 2010 has been 25.8 inches (66 cm), but this varies considerably from year to year. Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the area. Hurricane Sandy brought a destructive storm surge to New York City on the evening of October 29, 2012, flooding numerous streets, tunnels, and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts of the city and its suburbs. The storm and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of the city and the metropolitan area to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future.
|Climate data for New York (Belvedere Castle, Central Park), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1869–present[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Average high °F (°C)||38.3
|Average low °F (°C)||26.9
|Record low °F (°C)||−6
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.65
|Snowfall inches (cm)||7.0
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.4||9.2||10.9||11.5||11.1||11.2||10.4||9.5||8.7||8.9||9.6||10.6||122.0|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||4.0||2.8||1.8||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||2.3||11.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||162.7||163.1||212.5||225.6||256.6||257.3||268.2||268.2||219.3||211.2||151.0||139.0||2,534.7|
|Percent possible sunshine||54||55||57||57||57||57||59||63||59||61||51||48||57|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)
See Geography of New York City for additional climate information from the outer boroughs.
The City of New York has a complex park system, with various lands operated by the National Park Service, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that the park system in New York City was the second best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities, behind the park system of Minneapolis. ParkScore ranks urban park systems by a formula that analyzes median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of city residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.
Gateway National Recreation Area contains over 26,000 acres (10,521.83 ha) in total, most of it surrounded by New York City; the New York State portion includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Brooklyn and Queens, over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of salt marsh, islands and water that includes most of Jamaica Bay. Also in Queens the park includes a significant portion of the western Rockaway Peninsula, most notably Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden. In Staten Island, the park includes Fort Wadsworth, with historic pre-Civil War era Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, and Great Kills Park, with beaches, trails, and a marina.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum are managed by the National Park Service and are in both the states of New York and New Jersey. They are joined in the harbor by Governors Island National Monument, in New York. Historic sites under federal management on Manhattan Island include Castle Clinton National Monument; Federal Hall National Memorial; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site; General Grant National Memorial (“Grant’s Tomb”); African Burial Ground National Monument; and Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Hundreds of private properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as a National Historic Landmark such as, for example, the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village as the catalyst of the modern gay rights movement.
There are seven state parks within the confines of New York City, including Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, a natural area which includes extensive riding trails, and Riverbank State Park, a 28-acre (110,000 m2) facility that rises 69 feet (21 m) over the Hudson River.
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches. Parks in New York City include Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Forest Park, and Washington Square Park. The largest municipal park in the city is Pelham Bay Park with 2,700 acres (1,093 ha).
- Central Park an 883-acre (3.57 km2) park in Manhattan, is the most visited city park in the United States, with 25 million visitors each year. The park contains a myriad of attractions; there are several lakes and ponds, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, the 106-acre (0.43 km2) Jackie Onassis Reservoir. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, and the historic Carousel. On October 23, 2012, hedge fund manager John A. Paulson announced a $100 million gift to the Central Park Conservancy, the largest ever monetary donation to New York City’s park system.
- Prospect Park in Brooklyn has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow, a lake and extensive woodlands. Within the park is the historic Battle Pass, prominent in the Battle of Long Island.
- Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, the city’s third largest park, was the setting for the 1939 World’s Fair and the 1964 World’s Fair.
- Over a fifth of the Bronx’s area, 7,000 acres (28 km2), is given over to open space and parks, including Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Gardens.
- In Staten Island, the Conference House Park contains the historic Conference House, site of the only attempt of a peaceful resolution to the American Revolution, attended by Benjamin Franklin representing the Americans and Lord Howe representing the British Crown. The historic Burial Ridge, the largest Native American burial ground within New York City, is within the park.
New York City is home to Fort Hamilton, the U.S. military’s only active duty installation within the city. Established in 1825 in Brooklyn on the site of a small battery utilized during the American Revolution, it is one of America’s longest serving military forts. Today Fort Hamilton serves as the headquarters of the North Atlantic Division, United States Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the New York City Recruiting Battalion. It also houses the 1179th Transportation Brigade, the 722nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and a Military Entrance Processing Station.
Other formerly active military reservations still utilized for military training or reserve and National Guard operations in the city include Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and Fort Totten in Queens.
|City compared to State & U.S.|
|2000 Census||NY City||NY State||U.S.|
|Population change, 1990 to 2000||+9.4%||+5.5%||+13.1%|
|Median household income (1999)||$38,293||$43,393||$41,994|
|Bachelor’s degree or higher||27%||27%||29%|
|Hispanic (any race)||27%||15%||11%|
|Black or African American||25.5%||28.7%||21.1%||6.1%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||28.6%||24.4%||16.2%||1.6%|
|Note: Census figures (1790–2010) cover the present area of all five boroughs, before and after the 1898 consolidation. For New York City itself before annexing part of the Bronx in 1874, see Manhattan#Demographics. Sources: 1698–1771,
2013 Census estimates.
New York City is the most-populous city in the United States, with an estimated record high of 8,405,837 residents as of 2013, incorporating more immigration into the city than outmigration since the 2010 United States Census. More people live in New York City than in the next two most-populous U.S. cities (Los Angeles and Chicago) combined.[b] This amounts to about 40% of the state of New York’s population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. In 2006, demographers estimated that New York’s population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.
In 2010, the city had a population density of 27,532 people per square mile (10,630/km²), rendering it the most densely populated of all municipalities housing over 100,000 residents in the United States; however, several small cities (of fewer than 100,000) in adjacent Hudson County, New Jersey are more dense overall, as per the 2000 Census. Geographically co-extensive with New York County, the borough of Manhattan’s population density of 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²) makes it the highest of any county in the United States and higher than the density of any individual American city.
The city’s population in 2010 was 44% white (33.3% non-Hispanic white), 25.5% black (23% non-Hispanic black), 0.7% Native American and 12.7% Asian. Hispanics of any race represented 28.6% of the population, while Asians constituted the fastest-growing segment of the city’s population between 2000 and 2010; the non-Hispanic white population declined 3 percent, the smallest recorded decline in decades; and for the first time since the Civil War, the number of blacks declined over a decade.
Throughout its history, the city has been a major port of entry for immigrants into the United States; more than 12 million European immigrants were received at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. The term “melting pot” was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. By 1900, Germans constituted the largest immigrant group, followed by the Irish, Jews, and Italians. In 1940, whites represented 92% of the city’s population.
Approximately 37% of the city’s population is foreign born. In New York, no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest sources of foreign-born individuals in the city as of 2011 were the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, Guyana, Jamaica, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago, while the Bangladeshi immigrant population has since become one of the fastest growing in the city, counting over 74,000 by 2013. The New York region continues to be by far the leading metropolitan gateway for legal immigrants admitted into the United States, substantially exceeding the combined totals of Los Angeles and Miami, the next most popular gateway regions.
The wider New York City metropolitan area is also ethnically diverse. It is home to the largest Jewish as well as Israeli communities outside Israel. The metropolitan area is also home to 20% of the nation’s Indian Americans and at least 20 Little India enclaves, as well as 15% of all Korean Americans and four Koreatowns; the largest Asian Indian population in the Western Hemisphere; the largest Russian American, Italian American, and African American populations; the largest Dominican American, Puerto Rican American, and South American and second-largest overall Hispanic communities in the United States; and includes 6 Chinatowns in New York City alone with the urban agglomeration comprising as of the 2010 Census a population of 682,265 overseas Chinese, the largest outside of Asia. The New York City borough of Queens is home to the state’s largest Asian American population and the largest Andean (Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Bolivian) populations in the United States, and is also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
Asian Americans in New York City, according to the 2010 Census, number more than one million, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles. New York contains the highest total Asian population of any U.S. city proper. The Chinese population constitutes the fastest-growing nationality in New York State; multiple satellites of the original Manhattan Chinatown (紐約華埠), in Brooklyn (布鲁克林華埠), and around Flushing, Queens (法拉盛華埠), are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, while also expanding rapidly eastward into suburban Nassau County (拿騷縣) on Long Island (長島), as the New York metropolitan region and New York State have become the top destinations for new Chinese immigrants, respectively, and large-scale Chinese immigration continues into New York City and surrounding areas. In 2012, 6.3% of New York City was of Chinese ethnicity, with nearly three-fourths living in either Queens or Brooklyn, geographically on Long Island. Koreans made up 1.2% of the city’s population, and Japanese 0.3%. Filipinos were the largest Southeast Asian ethnic group at 0.8%, followed by Vietnamese, who made up 0.2% of New York City’s population in 2010. Indians are the largest South Asian group, comprising 2.4% of the city’s population, with Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. Queens is the preferred borough of settlement for Asian Indians, Koreans, and Filipinos, as well as Malaysians and other Southeast Asians; while Brooklyn is receiving large numbers of both West Indian as well as Asian Indian immigrants.
New York City has the largest European and non-Hispanic white population of any American city. At 2.7 million in 2012, New York’s non-Hispanic white population is larger than the white populations of Los Angeles (1.1 million), Chicago (865,000), and Houston (550,000) combined. The European American population of the city is very diverse. According to 2012 Census estimates, there were roughly 560,000 Italian Americans, 385,000 Irish Americans, 253,000 German Americans, 223,000 Russian Americans, 201,000 Polish Americans, and 137,000 English Americans. Additionally, Greek and French Americans numbered 65,000 each, with those of Hungarian descent estimated at 60,000 people. Ukrainian and Scottish Americans numbered 55,000 and 35,000, respectively. People of Norwegian and Swedish descent both stood at about 20,000 each, while people of Czech, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Scotch-Irish, and Welsh descent all numbered between 12,000–14,000 people. Central Asians, primarily Uzbek Americans, are a rapidly growing segment of the city’s non-Hispanic white population, enumerating over 30,000, and including over half of all Central Asian immigrants to the United States, most settling in Queens or Brooklyn. Albanian Americans are most highly concentrated in the Bronx.
The New York metropolitan area is home to a self-identifying gay and bisexual community estimated at 568,903 individuals, the largest in the United States. Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011 and were authorized to take place beginning 30 days thereafter.
New York City has a high degree of income disparity as indicated by its Gini Coefficient of 0.5 for the city overall and 0.6 for Manhattan. In 2005, the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320. The disparity is driven by wage growth in high-income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower-income brackets. In the first quarter of 2013, the average weekly wage in New York County was $2,448, representing the highest total among the largest counties in the United States. New York City is home to the highest number of the world’s billionaires, higher than the next five U.S. cities combined, including former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. New York also had the highest density of millionaires per capita among major U.S. cities in 2014, at 4.6% of residents. Lower Manhattan has been experiencing a baby boom, with the area south of Canal Street witnessing 1,086 births in 2010, 12% greater than 2009 and over twice the number born in 2001.
|Top publicly traded companies
in New York City for 2012
(ranked by revenues)
with City and U.S. ranks
|2||J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.||18|
|4||American International Group||38|
|8||Goldman Sachs Group||68|
|10||New York Life Insurance||89|
|Financial services firms in green|
|Full table at Economy of New York City|
|Source: Fortune 500|
New York is a global hub of international business and commerce and is one of three “command centers” for the world economy (along with London and Tokyo). In 2012, New York City topped the first Global Economic Power Index, published by The Atlantic (to be differentiated from a namesake list published by the Martin Prosperity Institute), with cities ranked according to criteria reflecting their presence on similar lists as published by other entities. The city is a major center for banking and finance, retailing, world trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, new media as well as traditional media, advertising, legal services, accountancy, insurance, theater, fashion, and the arts in the United States; while Silicon Alley, metonymous for New York’s broad-spectrum high technology sphere, continues to expand.
Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City, including 45 Fortune 500 companies. New York is also unique among American cities for its large number of foreign corporations. One out of ten private sector jobs in the city is with a foreign company. New York City has been ranked first among cities across the globe in attracting capital, business, and tourists. This ability to attract foreign investment helped New York City top the FDi Magazine American Cities of the Future ranking for 2013.
Real estate is a major force in the city’s economy, as the total value of all New York City property was assessed at US$914.8 billion for the 2015 fiscal year. The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at US$1.1 billion in 2006. New York City is home to some of the nation’s—and the world’s—most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for US$510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.
As of 2013, the global advertising agencies of Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group, both based in Manhattan, had combined annual revenues of approximately US$21 billion, reflecting New York City’s role as the top global center for the advertising industry, which is metonymously referred to as “Madison Avenue”.
Other important sectors include medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities. Manufacturing accounts for a large but declining share of employment. Garments, chemicals, metal products, processed foods, and furniture are some of the principal products. The food-processing industry is the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city. Food making is a $5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents. Chocolate is New York City’s leading specialty-food export, with US$234 million worth of exports each year.
New York City’s most important economic sector lies in its role as the headquarters for the U.S.financial industry, metonymously known as Wall Street. The city’s securities industry, enumerating 163,400 jobs in August 2013, continues to form the largest segment of the city’s financial sector and an important economic engine, accounting in 2012 for 5 percent of the city’s private sector jobs, 8.5 percent (US$3.8 billion) of its tax revenue, and 22 percent of the city’s total wages, including an average salary of US$360,700.
Manhattan had approximately 520 million square feet (48.1 million m²) of office space in 2013, making it the largest office market in the United States, while Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the nation.
Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, at 165 Broadway, representing the world’s largest and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured both by overall average daily trading volume and by total market capitalization of their listed companies in 2013. Wall Street investment banking fees in 2012 totaled approximately US$40 billion, while in 2013, senior New York City bank officers who manage risk and compliance functions earned as much as US$324,000 annually.
Silicon Alley, centered in Manhattan, has evolved into a metonym for the sphere encompassing the New York City metropolitan region’s high technology industries involving the Internet, new media, telecommunications, digital media, software development, biotechnology, game design, and other fields within information technology that are supported by its entrepreneurship ecosystem and venture capital investments. In the first half of 2014, Silicon Alley generated over US$2.1 billion in venture capital investment across a broad spectrum of high technology enterprises, most based in Manhattan, with others in Brooklyn, Queens, and elsewhere in the region. High technology startup companies and employment are growing in New York City and the region, bolstered by the city’s position in North America as the leading Internet hub and telecommunications center, including its vicinity to several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines, New York’s intellectual capital, and its extensive outdoor wireless connectivity. Verizon Communications, headquartered at 140 West Street in Lower Manhattan, was at the final stages in 2014 of completing a US$3 billion fiberoptic telecommunications upgrade throughout New York City.
The biotechnology sector is also growing in New York City, based upon the city’s strength in academic scientific research and public and commercial financial support. On December 19, 2011, then Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his choice of Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to build a US$2 billion graduate school of applied sciences on Roosevelt Island, with the goal of transforming New York City into the world’s premier technology capital. By mid-2014, Accelerator, a biotech investment firm, had raised more than US$30 million from investors, including Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, for initial funding to create biotechnology startups at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, which encompasses more than 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) on East 29th Street and promotes collaboration among scientists and entrepreneurs at the center and with nearby academic, medical, and research institutions. The New York City Economic Development Corporation‘s Early Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative and venture capital partners, including Celgene, General Electric Ventures, and Eli Lilly, committed a minimum of US$100 million to help launch 15 to 20 ventures in life sciences and biotechnology.
Tourism is a vital industry for New York City, which has witnessed a growing combined volume of international and domestic tourists – receiving approximately 49 million tourists in 2010, 51 million in 2011, and a record 54 million tourists in 2013. Tourism has continued to generate an increasing economic impact upon the city, exceeding US$55 billion annually.
Major tourist destinations include Times Square; Broadway theater productions; the Empire State Building; the Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island; the United Nations Headquarters; museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; greenspaces such as Central Park and Washington Square Park; Rockefeller Center; the Manhattan Chinatown; luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues; and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village; the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree; the St. Patrick’s Day parade; seasonal activities such as ice skating in Central Park in the wintertime; the Tribeca Film Festival; and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage. Major attractions in the boroughs outside Manhattan include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the Unisphere in Queens; the Bronx Zoo; Coney Island, Brooklyn; and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Plans were unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on September 27, 2012 for the New York Wheel, a 625-foot ferris wheel to be built at the northern shore of Staten Island, overlooking the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Media and entertainment
New York is a prominent location for the American entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there. As of 2012, New York City was the second largest center for film and television production in the United States, employing 130,000 individuals and generating an estimated $7.1 billion in direct expenditures, and by volume, New York is the world leader in independent film production; one-third of all American independent films are produced in New York City. The Association of Independent Commercial Producers is also based in New York.
New York City is additionally a center for the advertising, music, newspaper, and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America. Some of the city’s media conglomerates include Time Warner, the Thomson Reuters Corporation, the Associated Press, the News Corporation, The New York Times Company, NBCUniversal, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world’s top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York. Two of the “Big three” record labels’ headquarters are in New York: Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Universal Music Group also has offices in New York. New media enterprises are contributing an increasingly important component to the city’s central role in the media sphere.
More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city and the book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people. Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which has won the most Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Major tabloid newspapers in the city include: The New York Daily News, which was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. The city also has a comprehensive ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages. El Diario La Prensa is New York’s largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation. The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African American newspaper. The Village Voice is the largest alternative newspaper.
The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city’s economy. The four major American broadcast networks are all headquartered in New York: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. Many cable channels are based in the city as well, including MTV, Fox News, HBO, and Comedy Central. In 2005, there were more than 100 television shows taped in New York City. The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, NYCTV, that has produced several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods and city government.
New York is also a major center for non-commercial educational media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971. WNET is the city’s major public television station and a primary source of national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States.
Education and scholarly activity
The New York City Public Schools system, managed by the New York City Department of Education, is the largest public school system in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,700 separate primary and secondary schools. The city’s public school system includes nine specialized high schools to serve academically and artistically gifted students.
Charter schools, which are partly publicly funded, include Success Academy Charter Schools and Public Prep. There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city. About 594,000 students were enrolled as of the 2000 Census in New York City higher education institutions, the highest number of any city in the United States. In 2005, three out of five Manhattan residents were college graduates and one out of four had a postgraduate degree, forming one of the highest concentrations of highly educated people in any American city.
Higher education and research
New York City is home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University, New York Institute of Technology, Pace University, and Yeshiva University. The public City University of New York (CUNY) system is one of the largest universities in the nation, comprised of 24 institutions across all five boroughs: senior colleges, community colleges, and other graduate/professional schools. The city also has other smaller private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. John’s University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan College, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, The New School, Pratt Institute, The School of Visual Arts, and Wagner College.
Much of the scientific research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. New York City has the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, 40,000 licensed physicians, and 127 Nobel laureates with roots in local institutions. The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities. Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Weill Cornell Medical College, being joined by the Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology venture on Roosevelt Island.
Public library system
The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country, serves Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, which is the nation’s second largest public library system. The Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) operates the public hospitals and clinics in New York City. A public benefit corporation with $6.7 billion in annual revenues, HHC is the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States serving 1.4 million patients, including more than 475,000 uninsured city residents. HHC was created in 1969 by the New York State Legislature as a public benefit corporation (Chapter 1016 of the Laws 1969). It is similar to a municipal agency, but has a Board of Directors. It operates 11 acute care hospitals, five nursing homes, six diagnostic and treatment centers, and more than 70 community-based primary care sites, serving primarily the poor and working class. HHC’s own MetroPlus Health Plan is one of the New York area’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance and is the plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. 
Each year HHC’s facilities provide about 225,000 admissions, one million emergency room visits and five million clinic visits to New Yorkers. HHC facilities treat nearly one-fifth of all general hospital discharges and more than one-third of emergency room and hospital-based clinic visits in New York City.
The most well-known hospital in the HHC system is Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the United States. Bellevue is the designated hospital for treatment of the President of the United States and other world leaders if they become sick or injured while in New York City. The president of HHC is Ramanathan Raju, MD, a surgeon and former CEO of the Cook County health system in Illinois.
Culture and contemporary life
New York City has been described as the cultural capital of the world by the diplomatic consulates of Iceland and Latvia and by New York’s Baruch College. A book containing a series of essays titled New York, culture capital of the world, 1940–1965 has also been published as showcased by the National Library of Australia. In describing New York, author Tom Wolfe said, “Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather.”
Numerous major American cultural movements began in the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance, which established the African-American literary canon in the United States. The city was a center of jazz in the 1940s, abstract expressionism in the 1950s, and the birthplace of hip hop in the 1970s. The city’s punk and hardcore scenes were influential in the 1970s and 1980s, and the city has long had a flourishing scene for Jewish American literature.
The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco, freestyle, Tin Pan Alley, and Jazz in music. New York City has been considered the dance capital of the world. The city is also widely celebrated in popular lore, frequently the setting for books, movies (see List of films set in New York City), and television programs. New York has also frequently been ranked the top fashion capital of the world on the annual list compiled by the Global Language Monitor; the city’s fashion industry provides approximately 180,000 employees with $11 billion in annual wages.
New York City has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts. Wealthy business magnates in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established. The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theater productions, and in the 1880s New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began featuring a new stage form that became known as the Broadway musical. Strongly influenced by the city’s immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan, and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition.
Forty of the city’s theaters, with more than 500 seats each, are collectively known as “Broadway”, after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square Theater District, sometimes referred to as “The Great White Way“. According to The Broadway League, Broadway shows sold approximately US$1.27 billion worth of tickets in the 2013-2014 season, an 11.4% increase from US$1.139 billion in the 2012-2013 season. Attendance in 2013-2014 stood at 12.21 million, representing a 5.5% increase from the 2012-2013 season’s 11.57 million.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall. The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute is in Union Square, and Tisch School of the Arts is based at New York University, while Central Park SummerStage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park.
New York City’s food culture includes a variety of international cuisines influenced by the city’s immigrant history. Central European and Italian immigrants have made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza, while Chinese and other Asian restaurants, burger joints, trattorias, diners, and coffeehouses are ubiquitous. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafel and kebabs popular examples of modern New York street food. The city is also home to many of the finest and most diverse haute cuisine restaurants in the United States. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene assigns letter grades to the city’s 24,000 restaurants based upon their inspection results.
The New York area traditionally had a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It has generally been considered one of the most recognizable accents within American English. The classic version of this dialect was centered on middle and working-class people of European descent. However, the influx of non-European immigrants in recent decades has led to changes in this distinctive dialect, and the traditional form of this speech pattern is no longer prevalent.
The traditional New York area accent was characterized as non-rhotic, so that the sound [ɹ] would not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant; hence the pronunciation of the city name as “New Yawk.” There is no [ɹ] in words like park [pɑək] or [pɒək] (with vowel backed and diphthongized due to the low-back chain shift), butter [bʌɾə], or here [hiə]. In another feature called the low back chain shift, the [ɔ] vowel sound of words like talk, law, cross, chocolate, and coffee and the often homophonous [ɔr] in core and more are tensed and usually raised more than in General American. In the most old-fashioned and extreme versions of the New York dialect, the vowel sounds of words like “girl” and of words like “oil” became a diphthong [ɜɪ]. This would often be misperceived by speakers of other accents as a reversal of the er and oy sounds, so that girl is pronounced “goil” and oil is pronounced “erl”; this leads to the caricature of New Yorkers saying things like “Joizey” (Jersey), “Toidy-Toid Street” (33rd St.) and “terlet” (toilet). The character Archie Bunker from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family (played by Carroll O’Connor) was a notable example of having used this pattern of speech, which continues to fade in its overall presence.
New York City is home to the headquarters of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. The New York metropolitan area hosts the most sports teams in these five professional leagues. Four of the ten most expensive stadiums ever built worldwide (MetLife Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and Citi Field) are located in the New York metropolitan area.
New York has been described as the “Capital of Baseball”. There have been 35 Major League Baseball World Series and 73 pennants won by New York teams. It is one of only five metro areas (Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore–Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area being the others) to have two baseball teams. Additionally, there have been 14 World Series in which two New York City teams played each other, known as a Subway Series and occurring most recently in 2000. No other metropolitan area has had this happen more than once (Chicago in 1906, St. Louis in 1944, and the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989).
The city’s two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, who compete in six games of interleague play every regular season that has also come to be called the Subway Series. The Yankees have won a record 27 championships, while the Mets have won the World Series twice. The city also was once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers), who won the World Series once, and the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants), who won the World Series five times. Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two Minor League Baseball teams in the city, the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees.
The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Giants and the New York Jets, although both teams play their home games at MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey, which hosted Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders, who currently play in Nassau County on Long Island, will become the second team in the city after their move to Brooklyn in 2015. Also within the metropolitan area are the New Jersey Devils, who play in nearby Newark, New Jersey.
The city’s National Basketball Association teams include the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, while the city’s Women’s National Basketball Association team is the New York Liberty. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.
In soccer, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls play their home games at Red Bull Arena in nearby Harrison, New Jersey. The New York area’s second Major League Soccer club, to be called New York City FC, is planned to start play in the 2015 season, to be majority-owned by Manchester City F.C. owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, partnering with the New York Yankees baseball organization. Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League play on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Queens is host of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, one of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments. The New York Marathon is one of the world’s largest, and the 2004–2006 events hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006. The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a prominent part of the city’s sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.
Many sports are associated with New York’s immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in the 1930s. A street in the Bronx has been renamed Stickball Blvd, as tribute to New York’s most known street sport.
Law, government and politics
New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a mayor-council form of government since its consolidation in 1898. The government of New York is more centralized than that of most other U.S. cities. In New York City, the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The mayor and councilors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each term for the mayor and councilors lasts four years and has a three consecutive-term limit. but can run again after a four-year break.
The codified local laws are contained in the New York City Administrative Code in 29 titles, the regulations promulgated by city agencies are compiled in the Rules of the City of New York in 71 titles, and The City Record is the official journal published each weekday (except legal holidays).
Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the New York Supreme Court and hosts other state and city courts. Manhattan also hosts the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, while Brooklyn hosts the Appellate Division, Second Department.
Uniquely among major American cities, New York is divided between, and is host to the main branches of, two different United States District Courts: the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, whose main courthouse is on Foley Square near City Hall in Manhattan and whose jurisdiction includes Manhattan and the Bronx, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, whose main courthouse is in Brooklyn and whose jurisdiction includes Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and United States Court of International Trade are also based in New York, also on Foley Square in Manhattan.
The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of November 2008, 67% of registered voters in the city are Democrats. New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since President Calvin Coolidge won the five boroughs in 1924. In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate of any party to receive more than 80% of the overall vote in New York City, sweeping all five boroughs. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education, and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.
Following a financial crisis and state bailout in 1975, the New York Financial Control Board was created to oversee municipal spending. The Mayor of New York City and the Governor of New York both serve on the seven-member board. While direct management of the city’s budget ended in 1986, the board continues to monitor the city’s financial health.
New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top ZIP code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). The city also sends an additional $11 billion more each year to the state of New York than it receives back.
Crime and public safety
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been the largest in the United States by a significant margin, with over 35,000 sworn officers. In 2012, New York City had the lowest overall crime rate and the second lowest murder rate among the largest U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1980s and early 1990s. By 2002, New York City’s crime rate was similar to that of Provo, Utah and was ranked 197th in crime among the 216 U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000.
Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% from 1993 to 2005, and continued decreasing during periods when the nation as a whole saw increases. In 2005 the homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1966, and in 2007 the city recorded fewer than 500 homicides for the first time ever since crime statistics were first published in 1963. In the first six months of 2010, 95.1% of all murder victims and 95.9% of all shooting victims in New York City were black or Hispanic; additionally, 90.2 percent of those arrested for murder and 96.7 percent of those arrested for shooting someone were black or Hispanic. New York experienced a record low homicide rate in 2013 and has a far lower murder rate than other major American cities. In 2012 the NYPD came under scrutiny for its use of a stop-and-frisk program.
Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on the explanation for the dramatic decrease in the city’s crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the NYPD, including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory. Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes. Another theory is that widespread exposure to lead pollution from automobile exhaust, which can lower intelligence and increase aggression levels, incited the initial crime wave in the mid-20th century, most acutely affecting heavily trafficked cities like New York. A strong correlation was found demonstrating that violent crime rates in New York and other big cities began to fall after lead was removed from American gasoline in the 1970s.
Organized crime has long been associated with New York City, beginning with the Forty Thieves and the Roach Guards in the Five Points in the 1820s. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia dominated by the Five Families and they are still the largest and most powerful criminal organization in the city. Gangs including the Black Spades also grew in the late 20th century.
New York City’s comprehensive transportation system is both complex and extensive.
Mass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, accounts for one in every three users of mass transit in the United States, and two-thirds of the nation’s rail riders live in the New York City Metropolitan Area. The iconic New York City Subway system is the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, while Grand Central Terminal, also popularly referred to as “Grand Central Station”, is the world’s largest railway station by number of platforms.
Public transport is essential in New York City. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit. This is in contrast to the rest of the United States, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace. According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes a day getting to work, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities. New York is the only US city in which a majority (52%) of households do not have a car; only 22% of Manhattanites own a car. Due to their high usage of mass transit, New Yorkers spend less of their household income on transportation than the national average. New Yorkers save $19 billion annually on transportation compared to other urban Americans.
New York City is served by Amtrak, which uses Pennsylvania Station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor and long-distance train service to other North American cities. The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by stations in operation, with 468, and by length of routes. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.5 billion passenger trips in 2006). New York’s subway is also notable because nearly the entire system remains open 24 hours a day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including Hong Kong, London, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo.
New York City’s commuter rail network is the largest in North America. The rail network, connecting the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.
The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island, operating 24 hours a day. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH train) links Midtown and Lower Manhattan to northeastern New Jersey, primarily Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark. Like the New York City Subway, the PATH operates 24 hours a day; meaning three of the six rapid transit systems in the world which operate on 24-hour schedules are wholly or partly in New York (the others are a portion of the Chicago ‘L’, the PATCO Speedline serving Philadelphia, and the Copenhagen Metro).
The region’s public bus fleet is the world’s largest, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.
New York’s airspace is the busiest in the United States and one of the world’s busiest air transportation corridors. The New York metropolitan area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia; 109 million travelers used the three airports in 2012, and the city’s airspace is the busiest in the nation. JFK and Newark Liberty were the busiest and fourth busiest U.S. gateways for international air passengers, respectively in 2012. Plans have advanced to expand passenger volume at a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, New York, by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Staten Island Ferry is the world’s busiest ferry route, carrying approximately 20 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) route between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan and running 24 hours a day. Other ferry systems shuttle commuters between Manhattan and other locales within the city and the metropolitan area.
New York’s many renowned bridges include the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge, connecting Manhattan to Bergen County, New Jersey; the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Americas and one of the world’s longest; and the Brooklyn Bridge, an icon of the city itself.
Manhattan Island is linked to New York City’s outer boroughs and New Jersey by several tunnels as well. The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles a day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan, is the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world. The tunnel was built instead of a bridge to allow unfettered passage of large passenger and cargo ships that sailed through New York Harbor and up the Hudson River to Manhattan’s piers. The Holland Tunnel, connecting Lower Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, was the world’s first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel, built to relieve congestion on the bridges connecting Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn, was the largest non-federal project in its time when it was completed in 1940. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first person to drive through it. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel runs underneath Battery Park and connects the Financial District at the southern tip of Manhattan to Red Hook in Brooklyn.
Taxis, transport startups, and trams
Other features of the city’s transportation infrastructure encompass more than 12,000 yellow taxicabs; various competing startup transportation network companies; and an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan Island.
Streets and highways
Despite New York’s heavy reliance on its vast public transit system, streets are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan’s street grid plan greatly influenced the city’s physical development. Several of the city’s streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and Seventh Avenue are also used as metonyms for national industries there: the theater, finance, advertising, and fashion organizations, respectively.
New York City also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, which link the city’s boroughs to each other as well as to northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwestern Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of outer borough and suburban residents who commute into Manhattan, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour.
Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s. The city’s high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion US gallons (6,800,000 m3) of oil in 2006; New York City saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide. The city’s population density, low automobile use, and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States. Its greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were 7.1 metric tons per resident compared with the national average of 24.5. This made New Yorkers collectively responsible for 1% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions though they comprise 2.7% of the nation’s population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.
In recent years, the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York has led to a high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city’s residents. The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing. New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and also, by mid-2010 the city had 3,715 hybrid taxis and other clean diesel vehicles, representing around 28% of New York’s taxi fleet in service, the most in any city in North America.
New York’s high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists, and many pedestrian commuters make it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%. In 2011, Walk Score named it the most walkable city in the United States. Citibank sponsored the introduction of 10,000 public bicycles for the city’s bike-share project in the summer of 2013. Research conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that a majority of New Yorkers support the initiative.
The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.
Water purity and availability
The city is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. As a result of the watershed’s integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States the majority of whose drinking water is pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants. The Croton Watershed north of the city is undergoing construction of a US$3.2 billion water purification plant to augment New York City’s water supply by an estimated 290 million gallons daily, representing an approximately 10% addition to the city’s current availability of water.
Historic sister cities
|Beijing, People’s Republic of China||1980|
|Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||1983|
|London, United Kingdom||2001|
|Johannesburg, South Africa||2003|
New York City Global Partners network
In 2006, the Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc. was restructured and renamed New York City Global Partners. New York City has expanded its international outreach via this program to a network of cities worldwide, promoting the exchange of ideas and innovation between their citizenry and policymakers, according to the city’s website. The list of historic sister cities above was consolidated into the Global Partners network and joined by the cities below, including Chongqing (Chungking), Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Tel Aviv (four “non-historic” sister cities of New York).
|Global Partners of New York City|
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