New York is the most populated city in the USA, though it is not the capital. It was the capital only during one year, in 1789. It was also the largest city in the world between 1925 and 1970. Due to lack of space it cannot grow any more. The population of the city remains stable at about 8 million. The metropolitan area around it includes about 20 million (4th in the world, after Tokyio, Seoul and Mexico). The city is divided into 5 boroughs (districts), most of which stand on different islands: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. They are communicated by a number of bridges and tunnels. The Hudson River separates New York from New Jersey. It became so important because it holds numerous harbors with a lot of sea traffic to Europe and other parts of the world. The main airport, called John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is one of the busiest in the world. New York can be considered the most international city, its Stock Exchange is the most important, and it is home to the UNO (United Nations Organization). http://youtu.be/aqlJl1LfDP4
Giovanni de Verrazzano was the first European who discovered the place in 1524. He was an Italian sailor in command of a French ship. The first settlement of Dutch colonies began in 1609; they called the place New Amsterdam. In 1625 Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for trinkets worth about $24. In 1664 it was surrendered to the English, who changed its name to New York. After the declaration of independence, in 1776, George Washington was inaugurated president in New York. The city received many immigrants from Europe in the mid 19th century, mostly Irish and Italian. At that time it was already the most populous city in the USA. Its nickname, the Big Apple, is related to horse racing, which was a very popular sport at the turn of the 20th century, meaning the big prize.
The Statue of Liberty is the most famous landmark of New York. It stands on a small island at the entrance to the Hudson River. It was a gift from the French to the American people in the 19th century. They were the first two official democracies in the world. The statue was designed by the French sculptor Bartholdi, and the steel framework was devised by Gustave Eiffel. It represents a woman wearing a crown and carrying a torch that illuminates the immigrants on their journey to freedom. It took 20 years to complete. It was sent to the USA in 24 pieces. The Americans built the pedestal and it was finally inaugurated in 1886. The height of the statue is 46.5 metres (93 mt including the pedestal). Visitors can climb 354 steps to the crown, from which they can enjoy a beautiful view of New York. Next to Liberty Island you can also visit Ellis Island, where immigrants were questioned and had to stay for some days before entering the USA.
In the early 20th century, to find a solution to the problem of the rising population, some architects like Daniel Burnham (who designed the Flatiron) had the idea of growing upwards instead of sideways, which was not possible in the limited space of Manhattan. It was necessary to stand on hard ground to dig deep foundations and to use new materials, mainly concrete and steel. The silhouette of so many tall buildings peculiar to New York and other American cities is called skyline. The Chrysler Building was completed in 1930. It is 318 mt high and it displays a distinctive art-déco top. The following year Newyorkers could admire the Empire State Building, with 102 floors. Being 381 mt high, it was the tallest building in the world until 1973. That year the World Trade Center was finished. It consisted of two identical towers 417 mt high, with 110 floors. Both towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, in a synchronised terrorist attack when two passenger planes were kidnapped and crashed against them. Three thousand people died. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the city, still traumatic for its citizens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv-0mmVnxPA
Central Park is a large green area right in the middle of Manhattan, a rectangle 4 km long and 800 mt wide. It contains a big pond, some lakes, a castle, a theater, a zoo, a rink and other sports facilities. It is typical to see Newyorkers jogging, rowing, skating, cycling, playing games or doing any kind of exercise at any hour of the day. Next to the park you can also visit some of the most important museums of New York: the Natural History Museum is on the west side; the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim Museum are on the east. The Metropolitan offers exhibits from all the periods in history and all the parts of the world; it may be considered the most important museum in the world. The residential areas on both sides of Central Park, called Upper West Side and Upper East Side (which includes Park Avenue and the Fifth Avenue), are the most exclusive and expensive.
Wall Street, in the lower tip of Manhattan, is the home to the New York Stock Exchange, and can be considered the financial center of the world. Nearby you can also find the headquarters of the most important banks, brokerages, insurance companies and enterprises. The bull is the symbol of the market because it represents the strength and power of finance. Capitalism has gone through successive periods of crisis. Especially devastating was the crash of 1929, which marked the start of the Great Depression. The effects were felt worldwide. Many companies went bust, workers lost their jobs, and it caused political turmoil which led to World War II. Another important crisis started in the autumn of 2008, when the powerful investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. Other important enterprises had to be rescued by the federal government. The effects of the crisis are still present in many parts of the world.
The primitive city of New York was founded in the lower part of Manhattan, with neighborhoods called Greenwich Village, Soho, and special settlements for immigrants such as Little Italy and Chinatown. At the end of the 19th century a new development filled the rest of the island, using a grid of avenues that went from south to north, and streets from east to west. The streets were named with numbers. One big street was different, because it went from the south east to the north west, crossing most streets and avenues diagonally on a 24 km way reaching the Bronx. It was called Broadway. Broadway is famous mostly for the theaters that gather in the central part, in the intersection with the 7th Avenue. That place is called Times Square, though it doesn’t have a square shape, but rather a couple of triangles. Times Square is the place where Newyorkers celebrate the new year and it is also the main shopping area for tourists who want to buy the latest gadgets. http://youtu.be/oFa9ppu8fEY
Although the capital of the film industry has traditionally been Hollywood, in Los Angeles (California), New York has appeared in many important movies. West Side story, which gives account of the fights between Puertoricans and Anglo-Americans, got the oscar for the best picture in 1961, and so did Midnight cowboy in 1969. Other examples are: Gangs of New York, The age of innocence and Taxi driver, all directed by Martin Scorsese, or A Bronx tale, directed and performed by Robert De Niro. Most films written and directed by Woody Allen are set in Manhattan: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose, Hannah and her sisters, Radio days, Manhattan murder mystery, etc. Especially revealing of the world of finance and politics are films like Wall Street (1987), directed by Oliver Stone, Working girl (1988), starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, orThe bonfire of the vanities (1990), based on a novel by Tom Wolfe.