Learn About New York City
Visiting New York City will leave you an unforgettable impression, since there are few cities in the world as impressive as The Big City, as New York is often called. New York is both very urban and yet accessible. In many places you almost don't notice that you are in a metropolis where nearly 9 million people live and visited annually by some 50-60 million tourists. Some neighborhoods, parks and streets have an almost cozy atmosphere, despite the fact that they are surrounded by huge skyscrapers.
New York is the largest city in the United States. Thanks to its leading and influential role in commerce, finance, media, public relations, art, fashion and education. She is considered one of the most important cities in the world. The city is also known as New York City or NYC simply to distinguish it from the State of New York, where she's located. New York City is not the capital of the (federal) State, which is Albany.
Formerly New York City was more or less equated to Manhattan. If you made a vacation to New York in the early days, then you visited the district of Manhattan and you only took the ferry to Staten Island to have a nice view of the Statue of Liberty. However, much has changed in New York in recent decades. The unsafe and dilapidated suburbia has given way to a much more friendly city, where life is good and crime rates are low. NYC is now one of the safest large cities in the United States.
Tourists now visit the other 'boroughs' as well. A section of Brooklyn is now a very hip area, so tourists seem to increasingly opt to stay in Brooklyn, which is cheaper than Manhattan. Queens is increasingly visited and even the Bronx - formerly described as a dangerous district - is now visited by tourists. Well, it's true there are still places where as a tourist it's better not to go, but the raw aspect of New York City has largely disappeared.
If you want to make your visit New York worthwhile, you really should stay at least a week, but because of the cost a lot of people book just three, four or five days. That means you have to make choices. Don't only visit the highlights on your list but also try to soak up some of the atmosphere in the city. Go to nice neighborhoods such as Greenwich and West Village, Meatpacking District, Lower Eastside, Chinatown, Chelsea, Soho, Little Italy and western Brooklyn.
The way for tourists to get around in Manhattan is by taxi - the cars with the very recognizable yellow color you see everywhere. In New York City there are more than ten thousand so-called "yellow cabs." The best way to take a taxi is raising your hand in the streets - when the taxi is not busy he'll stop and let you in. The taxis are obliged to take you to any address in Manhattan. Taxis operate on the basis of a taximeter. In addition, you need to pay 15 to 20 percent tip on the fare. Every taxi will except cash or credit card.
For New Yorkers who know exactly where they are going, public transport is by far the most important form of transportation. About one in three users of public transport and even two-thirds of all rail passengers in the United States live in New York City or its suburbs. This is in contrast with the rest of the country, where about 90% of the workers go to work by car. In New York City, the average travel time for home to work is 39 minutes, the fastest of all major US cities.
The city has three international airports, John F. Kennedy International (also known as JFK), Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia. Each are connected to the regional rail network. JFK and Newark also have access to most international flights and long domestic flights. LaGuardia handles mostly short domestic flights.
How to see NY better than from the air? A helicopter flight above New York is an amazing experience. Yes, it might be a bit expensive, but it's absolutely worth the money. You'll see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the silver art deco Chrysler Building, the ports and the expansive Central Park.
New York City is located in the northeastern United States and southeastern state of New York, between the cities of Washington DC and Boston. The city is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River where it forms a sheltered natural harbor before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. These geographical advantages have helped New York strongly in its growth into an important global city. Most of the city is build on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island. The scarcity of land in some areas has resulted in a high to very high population density.
New York City has 11,000 hectares of municipal parks. This area is so large through the thousands of hectares of the Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service, which lies within the city limits. New York also includes 22 kilometers of public beaches. Central Park in Manhattan is the most visited park in the United States...
New York City has a sea climate and winters can be cold, but thanks to the seafront location of the city the temperatures are a little less cold than the inner land. The city has an average of 234 sunny days per year. The summers are warm and humid with average temperatures of 21-25°C. Spring and fall are variable and can vary from cool to warm, though they are usually mild with low humidity.
The demographics of New York City are very diverse. Throughout history the city has always been an important arrival point for new immigrants from many countries. The name "melting pot" was first used to describe the mixed and densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. Nowadays 36% of the population of New York is born outside the United States.
In the New York metropolitan area lives the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. Over 1 million Jews live In New York City; this is the largest Jewish community in the world, larger than that of Tel Aviv. Approximately 13.5% of New Yorkers are Jewish. Also a quarter of the Indian American population live in New York plus the largest African American community of any city in the United States.
Since 2005, the city has the lowest crime rate of the 25 largest US cities, so it has become significantly safer after crime peaked in the1980's. Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% even while crime rates across the United States have increased.
New York is an important center for finance, insurance, real estate, media and art in the United States and abroad. Along with London and Tokyo, the city is considered one of the financial centers of the world economy. Many major corporations have headquarters in New York City, including 44 of the Fortune 500. New York is also unique among American cities with regards to the large number of foreign companies; one in ten jobs in the private sector in the city are from these companies.
New York holds a number of the most important newspapers, publishing houses, the most successful television stations and major record companies in the world. The established media conglomerates include Time Warner, News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation and Viacom. Seven of the eight largest global advertising agencies are headquartered in New York. Three of the Big Four record labels (Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI) are located in the city. Publishers such as Random House, Simon & Schuster and Penguin Group jointly employ approximately 25,000 people. The television and film industry is a major employer in the city and employs 100,000 people. The four major American networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) all have their headquarters in New York.
With approximately 50-60 million foreign and domestic visitors, tourism is very important for New York City. The best known and perhaps most important attraction is the Statue of Liberty. Others are the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Ellis Island, theatrical productions on Broadway, museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other tourist attractions including Central Park, Washington Square Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Headquarters of the United Nations, the Bronx Park with the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, shopping on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, the Tribeca Film Festival and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage.
The buildings that are most associated with New York City are the skyscrapers. The buildings of New York already changed in the 19th century from traditional European low-rise to high-rise buildings in the business districts. In August 2008 there were 5,538 high-rise buildings in New York City, of which 50 were skyscrapers higher than 200 meters. This is more than any other city in the United States and second in the world after Hong Kong. Because of its water all around, the population density and high property prices in the business districts, NY became the largest collection of free standing office and residential towers in the world.
In New York City there are numerous small and large museums and galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), founded in 1870, is one of the largest and most important art museums in the world. It is located east of Central Park. The permanent collection contains more than two million works of art, including many paintings and sculptures from all over the world. There are treasures of classical antiquity and work from practically every European master as well as an extensive collection of American art. A separate branch called "The Cloisters" is in Upper Manhattan and includes medieval art.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan is one of the leading museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. The collection consists of paintings and sculptures from the 20th century, movies and photos and an extensive book collection. In Manhattan is also the Museum of Arts and Design located. The Brooklyn Museum is after The Met the largest museum in New York City and has 1.5 million works of art. There you'll see Egyptian art, contemporary art and art of different cultures.
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), founded in 1869, exhibits stuffed mammals from around the world and remains of dinosaurs and early ancestors of humans. New York also hosts the Guggenheim Museum where mostly paintings from the 20th century can be seen. Partly due to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Guggenheim is one of the most important museums of modern art in the world. From the 82nd to 104th Street runs the Museum Mile on which nine museums are located.
The advent of electric lighting led to major new theater productions. In the 1880's, in the theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street, a new kind of performance was developed that became known as the Broadway musical. These productions expressed the feelings of many new immigrants. They were plaid experiences, supported by singing and dancing. In the songs were encapsulated the hopes and ambitions of the audiences.
Today, the 39 largest theaters in New York City are known collectively as "Broadway," after the main street that runs through the theater district. These theaters are mainly located near Times Square in Manhattan. Many Broadway shows are world famous, such as the musicals Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. The theater district is a popular attraction for tourists. Smaller theaters, with between 100 and 500 seats, are called "off-Broadway" and those with less than 100 seats "off-off-Broadway".
Food and drink
The food culture of New York is heavily influenced by the immigrants who have come in large numbers to the city. They introduced a variety of dishes. Eastern Europeans and Italians made the city famous for its bagels, cheesecake and pizza. In New York you'll find many different restaurants, from breakfast bars and cafes to bistros and restaurants, American or foreign, from cheap to very dressy. The number of foreign eateries are endless and are from all over the world.
New York is huge, energetic and full of dynamic contrasts. Many famous festivals, concerts and exhibitions are organized. A city of extremes, where everyone is a citizen of the world. Many accents, rhythms and flavors come together in this melting pot of diverse cultures from around the world. Enjoy the sights, experience the friendliness of the people, they are helpful and usually willing to have a chat with you. New York, a city that must be experienced, a city that never sleeps.
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