—  Borough of New York City  —
New York County
Midtown Manhattan as seen from the GE Building.
Borough of Manhattan shown in yellow.
Coordinates: 40°43′42″N 73°59′39″W / 40.72833°N 73.99417°W / 40.72833; -73.99417
Country United States
State New York
County New York County
City New York City
Settled 1624
 - Borough President Scott Stringer (D)
 - District Attorney (New York County) Cyrus Vance, Jr.
 - Total 33.77 sq mi (87.5 km2)
 - Land 22.96 sq mi (59.5 km2)
 - Water 10.81 sq mi (28 km2)
Population (2010)
 - Total 1,585,873
 - Density 70,951/sq mi (27,394.3/km2)
 - Demonym Manhattanite
Website Official Website of the Manhattan Borough President

Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York. The borough and county consist of Manhattan Island and several small adjacent islands: Roosevelt Island, Randall's Island, Wards Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island, part of Ellis Island,[1] Mill Rock, and U Thant Island; as well as Marble Hill, a very small area on the mainland bordering the Bronx. The original city of New York began at the southern end of Manhattan, expanded northwards, and then between 1874 and 1898, annexed land from surrounding counties.

The County of New York is the most densely populated county in the United States, and one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a 2008 population of 1,634,795[2] living in a land area of 22.96 square miles (59.5 km2), or 71,201 residents per square mile (27,485/km²). It is also one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, with a 2005 personal income per capita above $100,000.[3] Manhattan is the third-largest of New York's five boroughs in population, and its smallest borough in size.

Manhattan is a major commercial, financial, and cultural center of both the United States and the world.[4][5][6] Anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City vies with the City of London as the financial capital of the world[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] and is home of both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Many major radio, television, and telecommunications companies in the United States are based here, as well as many news, magazine, book, and other media publishers.

Manhattan is home to many famous landmarks, tourist attractions, museums, and universities. It is also home to the United Nations Headquarters. It is the center of New York City and the New York metropolitan region, hosting the seat of city government and a large portion of the area's employment, business, and entertainment activities. As a result, residents of New York City's other boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens often refer to a trip to Manhattan as "going to the city",[14] despite the comparable populations between those boroughs.

New York's five boroughs overview
Jurisdiction Population Land area
Borough of County of 1 April 2010
Manhattan New York 1,585,873 23 59
The Bronx Bronx 1,385,108 42 109
Brooklyn Kings 2,504,700 71 183
Queens Queens 2,230,722 109 283
Staten Island Richmond 468,730 58 151
8,175,133 303 786
19,378,102 47,214 122,284
Source: United States Census Bureau[15][16][17]



The name Manhattan derives from the word Manna-hata, as written in the 1609 logbook of Robert Juet, an officer on Henry Hudson's yacht Halve Maen (Half Moon).[18] A 1610 map depicts the name as Manna-hata, twice, on both the west and east sides of the Mauritius River (later named the Hudson River). The word "Manhattan" has been translated as "island of many hills" from the Lenape language.[19]

New York County is one of seven US counties to bear the same name as the state in which it lies (the others are Arkansas County, Hawaii County, Idaho County, Iowa County, Oklahoma County, and Utah County).



The area that is now Manhattan was long inhabited by the Lenape Indians. In 1524, some Lenape in canoes met the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to pass New York Harbor, although he may not have entered the harbor past the Narrows.[20] It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped.[21] Hudson came across Manhattan Island and the native people living there in 1609, and continued up the river that would later bear his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site of present day Albany.[22]

Lower Manhattan in 1660. The large structure toward the tip of the island is Fort Amsterdam. North is to the right.

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).[23][24] Manhattan Island was chosen as the site of Fort Amsterdam, a citadel for the protection of the new arrivals; its 1625 establishment is recognized as the birth date of New York City.[25] According to the document by Pieter Janszoon Schagen our people (ons Volck)—Peter Minuit is not mentioned explicitly there—acquired Manhattan in 1626 from Native American Lenape people in exchange for trade goods worth 60 guilders, often said to be worth 24 US$, though (by comparing the price of bread and other goods) actually amounts to around $1000 in modern currency[26] (calculation by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam). The price was actually paid to the Canarsees, living in Brooklyn, while the true local people, the Weckquaesgeeks, were not party of the transaction.[27]

In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was appointed as the last Dutch Director General of the colony.[28] New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653.[29] In 1664, the English conquered New Netherland and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany, the future King James II.[30] Stuyvesant and his council negotiated with the English to produce 24 articles of provisional transfer that sought to guarantee New Netherlanders liberties, including freedom of religion, under English rule.[31][32]

The Dutch Republic regained it in August 1673 with a fleet of 21 ships, renaming the city "New Orange". New Netherland was ceded permanently to the English in November 1674 by treaty.

American Revolution and the early United States

J.Q.A. Ward's statue of George Washington in front of Federal Hall, on the site where Washington was inaugurated as the first U.S. President.

At prelude to organized colonial opposition to British rule, the Stamp Act Congress of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies was held in New York City in 1765. The Congress resulted in the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, the first document by a representative body of multiple colonies to assert the concept popularly known as "no taxation without representation". It was also the first time the colonies cooperated for a unified political aim, and laid the foundation for the Continental Congresses that followed years later.

The Sons of Liberty developed on Manhattan in the days following the Stamp Act protests. The organization participated in a long-term confrontation with British authorities over liberty poles that were alternately raised by the Sons of Liberty and cut down by British authorities. The skirmishes ended when the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress took power in 1775.

Manhattan was at the heart of the New York Campaign, a series of major battles in the early American Revolutionary War. The Continental Army was forced to abandon Manhattan after the disastrous Battle of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776. The city became the British political and military center of operations in North America for the remainder of the war.[33] Manhattan was greatly damaged by the Great Fire of New York during the British military rule that followed. British occupation lasted until November 25, 1783, when George Washington returned to Manhattan, as the last British forces left the city.[34]

From January 11, 1785 to the fall of 1788, New York City was the fifth of five capitals under the Articles of Confederation, with the Continental Congress meeting at New York City Hall (then at Fraunces Tavern). New York was the first capital under the newly enacted Constitution of the United States, from March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790 at Federal Hall.[35] The United States Supreme Court sat for the first time, the United States Bill of Rights were drafted and ratified, and the first steps of adding states to the Union with the passage of the Northwest Ordinance all took place there.

19th century growth

New York grew as an economic center, first as a result of Alexander Hamilton's policies and practices as the first Secretary of the Treasury and, later, with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the Midwestern United States and Canada.

Tammany Hall, a Democratic Party political machine, began to grow in influence with the support of many of the immigrant Irish, culminating in the election of the first Tammany mayor, Fernando Wood, in 1854. Tammany Hall dominated local politics for decades. Central Park, which opened to the public in 1858, became the first landscaped park in an American city and the nation's first public park.[36][37]

Thomas Nast denounces Tammany as a ferocious tiger killing democracy; the tiger image caught on.
Bird's eye panorama of Manhattan & New York City in 1873

During the American Civil War, the city's strong commercial ties to the South, its growing immigrant population (prior to then largely from Germany and Ireland), anger about conscription and resentment at those who could afford to pay $300 to avoid service, led to resentment against Lincoln's war policies, culminating in the three-day long New York Draft Riots of July 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil disorder in American history, with an estimated 119 participants and passersby massacred.[38]

The rate of immigration from Europe grew steeply after the Civil War, and New York became the first stop for millions seeking a new and better life in the United States, a role acknowledged by the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886, a gift from the people of France.[39][40] The new European immigration brought further social upheaval. In a city of tenements packed with poorly paid laborers from dozens of nations, the city was a hotbed of revolution, syndicalism, racketeering, and unionization.

In 1883, the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge established a surface connection across the East River. In 1874, the western portion of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County was annexed.[41] The City of Greater New York was formed in 1898, when four counties consolidated to form a single city of five boroughs. Manhattan and the Bronx, though still one county, were established as two separate boroughs. On January 1, 1914, the New York state legislature created Bronx County, and New York County was reduced to its present boundaries.[42]

The 20th century

The newly completed Singer Building towering above the city, 1909
A construction worker on top of the Empire State Building as it was being built in 1930. The Chrysler Building is below and behind him.
The iconic view of Manhattan showing, from left to right, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the World Trade Center, May 2001.

The construction of the New York City Subway, which opened in 1904, helped bind the new city together, as did additional bridges to Brooklyn. In the 1920s, Manhattan experienced large arrivals of African-Americans as part of the Great Migration from the American South, and the Harlem Renaissance, part of a larger boom time in the Prohibition era that included new skyscrapers competing for the skyline. New York City became the most populous city in the world in 1925, overtaking London, which had reigned for a century.[43]

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village killed 146 garment workers. The disaster eventually led to overhauls of the city's fire department, building codes, and workplace regulations.[44]

The period between the World Wars saw the election of reformist mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the fall of Tammany Hall after 80 years of political dominance.[45] As the city's demographics stabilized, labor unionization brought new protections and affluence to the working class, the city's government and infrastructure underwent a dramatic overhaul under La Guardia. Despite the Great Depression, some of the world's tallest skyscrapers were completed in Manhattan during the 1930s, including numerous Art Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline today, most notably the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the GE Building.

Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom, which led to the development of huge housing developments targeted at returning veterans, including Peter Cooper Village—Stuyvesant Town, which opened in 1947.[46] In 1951, the UN relocated from its first headquarters in Queens, to the East Side of Manhattan.[47]

Like many major U.S. cities, New York suffered race riots and population and industrial decline in the 1960s. By the 1970s, the city had gained a reputation as a graffiti-covered, crime-ridden relic of history.[48] In 1975, the city government faced imminent bankruptcy, and its appeals for assistance were initially rejected, summarized by the classic October 30, 1975 New York Daily News headline as "Ford to City: Drop Dead".[49] The fate was avoided through a federal loan and debt restructuring, and the city was forced to accept increased financial scrutiny by New York State.[50]

The 1980s saw a rebirth of Wall Street, and the city reclaimed its role at the center of the worldwide financial industry. The 1980s also saw Manhattan at the heart of the AIDS crisis, with Greenwich Village at its epicenter. Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) were founded to advocate on behalf of those stricken with the disease.

Starting in the 1990s, crime rates dropped drastically, with murder rates that had reached 2,245 in 1990 plummeting to 537 by 2008, and the crack epidemic and its associated drug-related violence under greater control.[51] The outflow of population turned around, as the city once again became the destination of immigrants from around the world, joining with low interest rates and Wall Street bonuses to fuel the growth of the real estate market.[52]

September 11 attacks

On September 11, 2001, two of four hijacked planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The towers collapsed, resulting in the eventual collapse of World Trade Center 7 due to fire damage.[citation needed] The other buildings of the World Trade Center complex were damaged beyond repair and soon after demolished. The collapse of the Twin Towers caused extensive damage to surrounding buildings and skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan, and resulted in the deaths of 2,606 people, plus those on the planes. Since September 11, most of Lower Manhattan has been restored; many rescue workers and residents of the area have developed several life threatening illnesses, and some have already died.[citation needed]

A memorial at the site was opened to the public on September 11, 2011. A museum is currently under construction at the memorial and scheduled to open in September 2012. One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is also under construction, as well as the other planned buildings on the site.

Television and Film in NYC

Modern New York City is familiar to many people around the globe thanks to its popularity as a setting for films and television series. Notable television examples of shows set in Manhattan include such award-winning shows and franchises as White Collar, 30 Rock, I Love Lucy, Friends, Gossip Girl, The Jeffersons, How I Met Your Mother, The Law & Order series (most spin-offs included), Mad About You, NYPD Blue, The Odd Couple, Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, Spin City, Sports Night, Ugly Betty, and Will & Grace.

Notable examples of films set in Manhattan include Miracle on 34th Street, The Godfather, Wall Street, You've Got Mail, Ghostbusters, The In-Laws, Little Manhattan, and many of Woody Allen's films, such as Annie Hall, Bananas, and Manhattan. The city was also the backdrop and location for numerous crime and drama films in the 1940s and 1950s.

See more comprehensive lists of films and television shows set in New York City.


Central Park is visible in the center of this satellite image. Manhattan is bound by the Hudson River to the west, the Harlem River to the north, and East River to the east.

Manhattan is loosely divided into Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown, with Fifth Avenue dividing Manhattan's east and west sides. Manhattan Island is bounded by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. To the north, the Harlem River divides Manhattan Island from The Bronx and the mainland United States. 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.[53] Manhattan Island is 22.7 square miles (59 km2) in area, 13.4 miles (21.6 km) long and 2.3 miles (3.7 km) wide, at its widest (near 14th Street).[54] New York County as a whole covers a total area of 33.77 square miles (87.5 km2), of which 22.96 square miles (59.5 km2) are land and 10.81 square miles (28.0 km2) are water.[55]

A modern redrawing of the 1807 version of the Commissioner's Grid plan for Manhattan, a few years before it was adopted in 1811. Central Park is absent.

One Manhattan neighborhood is contiguous with The Bronx. Marble Hill at one time was part of Manhattan Island, but the Harlem River Ship Canal, dug in 1895 to improve navigation on the Harlem River, separated it from the remainder of Manhattan as an island between the Bronx and the remainder of Manhattan.[56] Before World War I, the section of the original Harlem River channel separating Marble Hill from The Bronx was filled in, and Marble Hill became part of the mainland.[57]

Marble Hill is one example of how Manhattan's land has been considerably altered by human intervention. The borough has seen substantial land reclamation along its waterfronts since Dutch colonial times, and much of the natural variation in topography has been evened out.[19]

Early in the 19th century, landfill was used to expand Lower Manhattan from the natural Hudson shoreline at Greenwich Street to West Street.[58] When building the World Trade Center, 1.2 million cubic yards (917,000 m³) of material was excavated from the site.[59] Rather than dumping the spoil at sea or in landfills, the fill material was used to expand the Manhattan shoreline across West Street, creating Battery Park City.[60] The result was a 700-foot (210-m) extension into the river, running six blocks or 1,484 feet (450 m), covering 92 acres (37 ha), providing a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) riverfront esplanade and over 30 acres (12 ha) of parks.[61]

Geologically, a predominate feature of the sub-strata of Manhattan is that the underlying bedrock base of the island rises considerably closer to the surface near the midtown district, dips down lower between 29th street and Canal street, then rises towards the surface again under the Financial district; this feature is the underlying reason for the clustering of skyscrapers in the Midtown and Financial district areas, and their absence over the intervening territory between these two areas, as their foundations can be sunk more securely into solid bedrock.

Manhattan has fixed vehicular connections with New Jersey to the west by way of the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel, and to three of the four other New York City boroughs—the Bronx to the northeast and Brooklyn and Queens on Long Island to the east and south. Its only direct connection with the fifth New York City borough is the Staten Island Ferry across New York Harbor, which is free of charge. The ferry terminal is located near Battery Park at its southern tip. It is possible to travel to Staten Island by way of Brooklyn, using the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The Commissioners' Plan of 1811, called for twelve numbered avenues running north and south roughly parallel to the shore of the Hudson River, each 100 feet (30 m) wide, with First Avenue on the east side and Twelfth Avenue in the west. There are several intermittent avenues east of First Avenue, including four additional lettered avenues running from Avenue A eastward to Avenue D in an area now known as Alphabet City in Manhattan's East Village. The numbered streets in Manhattan run east-west, and are 60 feet (18 m) wide, with about 200 feet (61 m) between each pair of streets. With each combined street and block adding up to about 260 feet (79 m), there are almost exactly 20 blocks per mile. The typical block in Manhattan is 250 by 600 feet (180 m).

According to the original Commissioner's Plan there were 155 numbered crosstown streets,[62] but later the grid has been extended up to the Northernmost corner of Manhattan, where the last numbered street is 220th Street (Manhattan). Moreover, the numbering system continues even in The Bronx, North of Manhattan, despite the fact that there the grid plan is not so regular; there the last numbered street is 263rd Street.[63]

Fifteen crosstown streets were designated as 100 feet (30 m) wide, including 34th, 42nd, 57th and 125th Streets, some of the borough's most significant transportation and shopping venues.[64] Broadway is the most notable of many exceptions to the grid, starting at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan and continuing north into the Bronx at Manhattan's northern tip. In much of Midtown Manhattan, Broadway runs at a diagonal to the grid, creating major named intersections at Union Square, Herald Square (Sixth Avenue and 34th Street), Times Square (Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street), and Columbus Circle (Eighth Avenue/Central Park West and 59th Street).

A consequence of the strict grid plan of most of Manhattan, and the grid's skew of approximately 28.9 degrees, is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as Manhattanhenge (by analogy with Stonehenge).[65] On separate occasions in late May and early July, the sunset is aligned with the street grid lines, with the result that the sun is visible at or near the western horizon from street level.[65][66] A similar phenomenon occurs with the sunrise in January and December.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoos and aquariums in the city, is currently undertaking The Mannahatta Project, a computer simulation to visually reconstruct the ecology and geography of Manhattan when Henry Hudson first sailed by in 1609, and compare it to what we know of the island today.[67]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Manhattan's many neighborhoods are not named according to any particular convention. Some are geographical (the Upper East Side), or ethnically descriptive (Little Italy). Others are acronyms, such as TriBeCa (for "TRIangle BElow CAnal Street") or SoHo ("SOuth of HOuston"), or the far more recent vintages NoLIta ("NOrth of Little ITAly").[68][69] and NoMad ("NOrth of MADison Square Park ").[70][71][72] Harlem is a name from the Dutch colonial era after Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands.[73] Alphabet City comprises Avenues A, B, C and D, to which its name refers.

"Korea Way" on 32nd Street in Manhattan's Koreatown, 2009.

Some neighborhoods, such as SoHo, are commercial and known for upscale shopping. Others, such as Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Alphabet City and the East Village, have long been associated with the "Bohemian" subculture.[74] Chelsea is a neighborhood with a large gay population, and recently a center of New York's art industry and nightlife.[75] Washington Heights is a vibrant neighborhood of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Chinatown has a dense population of people of Chinese descent.[76][77] Koreatown is roughly bounded by 5th and 6th Avenues, between 31st and 36th Streets. The Upper West Side is often characterized as more intellectual and creative, in contrast to the old money and conservative values of the Upper East Side, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States.[78][79][80]

In Manhattan, uptown means north (more precisely north-northeast, which is the direction the island and its street grid system is oriented) and downtown means south (south-southwest).[81] This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, the Financial District at the southern tip of the island, and Midtown Manhattan. The term uptown also refers to the northern part of Manhattan above 59th Street[82] and downtown to the southern portion below 14th Street,[83] with Midtown covering the area in between, though definitions can be rather fluid depending on the situation.

Fifth Avenue roughly bisects Manhattan Island and acts as the demarcation line for east/west designations (e.g., East 27th Street, West 42nd Street); street addresses start at Fifth Avenue and increase heading away from Fifth Avenue, at a rate of 100 per block in most places.[83] South of Waverly Place in Manhattan, Fifth Avenue terminates and Broadway becomes the east/west demarcation line. Though the grid does start with 1st Street, just north of Houston Street (pronounced HOW-stin), the grid does not fully take hold until north of 14th Street, where nearly all east-west streets are numerically identified, which increase from south to north to 220th Street, the highest numbered street on the island. Streets in Midtown are usually one way with a few exceptions (14th, 34th and 42nd to name a few). The rule of thumb is odd numbered streets run west while evens run east.[54]


Although located at around 41°N, Manhattan has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen classification Cfa).[84] The city's coastal position keeps temperatures relatively warmer than those of inland regions during winter, helping to moderate the amount of snow, which averages 25 to 35 inches (63.5 to 88.9 cm) each year.[84] New York City has a frost-free period lasting an average of 220 days between seasonal freezes.[84] Spring and fall in New York City are mild, while summer is very warm and humid, with temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher recorded from 18 to 25 days on average during the season.[84] The city's long-term climate patterns are affected by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, a 70-year-long warming and cooling cycle in the Atlantic that influences the frequency and severity of hurricanes and coastal storms in the region.[85]

Temperature records have been set as high as 106 °F (41 °C) on July 9, 1936 and as low as −15 °F (−26 °C) on February 9, 1934. Temperatures have hit 103 °F (39 °C) as recently as July 2010 and dropped to just 1 above zero as recently as January 2004.

Summer evening temperatures are elevated by the urban heat island effect, which causes heat absorbed during the day to be radiated back at night, raising temperatures by as much as 7 °F (4 °C) when winds are slow.[86]

Climate data for New York (Central Park)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 38.0
Average low °F (°C) 26.2
Record low °F (°C) −6
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.13
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.3
humidity 63.8 63.0 62.3 60.9 69.4 71.7 70.7 73.2 74.7 71.6 68.3 66.6 68.02
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.3 9.4 10.7 11.1 11.4 10.8 10.2 9.5 9.1 8.3 9.3 10.6 120.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.1 2.9 1.6 .2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .3 1.8 10.9
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
Source: NOAA [87][88]


Since New York City's consolidation in 1898, Manhattan has been governed by the New York City Charter, which has provided for a strong mayor-council system since its revision in 1989.[89] The centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services in Manhattan.

The office of Borough President was created in the consolidation of 1898 to balance centralization with local authority. Each borough president had a powerful administrative role derived from having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city's budget and proposals for land use. In 1989 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Board of Estimate unconstitutional because Brooklyn, the most populous borough, had no greater effective representation on the Board than Staten Island, the least populous borough, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.[90]

Since 1990, the largely powerless Borough President has acted as an advocate for the borough at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York state government, and corporations. Manhattan's Borough President is Scott Stringer, elected as a Democrat in 2005.[91]

Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, has been the District Attorney of New York County since 2010.[92] Manhattan has ten City Council members, the third largest contingent among the five boroughs. It also has twelve administrative districts, each served by a local Community Board. Community Boards are representative bodies that field complaints and serve as advocates for local residents. As the host of the UN, the borough is home to the world's largest international consular corps, comprising 105 consulates, consulates general and honorary consulates.[93] It is also the home of New York City Hall, the seat of New York City government housing the Mayor of New York City and the New York City Council. The mayor's staff and thirteen municipal agencies are located in the nearby Manhattan Municipal Building, completed in 1916, one of the largest governmental buildings in the world.[94]


New York County District Attorney, Borough President

Presidential elections results[95]
Year Democrats Republicans
2008 85.7% 572,126 13.5% 89,906
2004 82.1% 526,765 16.7% 107,405
2000 79.8% 449,300 14.2% 79,921
1996 80.0% 394,131 13.8% 67,839
1992 78.2% 416,142 15.9% 84,501
1988 76.1% 385,675 22.9% 115,927
1984 72.1% 379,521 27.4% 144,281
1980 62.4% 275,742 26.2% 115,911
1976 73.2% 337,438 25.5% 117,702
1972 66.2% 354,326 33.4% 178,515
1968 70.0% 370,806 25.6% 135,458
1964 80.5% 503,848 19.2% 120,125
1960 65.3% 414,902 34.2% 217,271
1956 55.74% 377,856 44.26% 300,004
1952 58.47% 446,727 39.30% 300,284
1948 52.20% 380,310 33.18% 241,752

The Democratic Party holds most public offices. Registered Republicans are a minority in the borough, only constituting approximately 12% of the electorate. Registered Republicans are more than 20% of the electorate only in the neighborhoods of the Upper East Side and the Financial District. The Democrats hold 66.1% of those registered in a party. 21.9% of the voters were unaffiliated (independents).[96]

Manhattan is divided between four congressional districts, all of which are represented by Democrats.

No Republican has won the presidential election in Manhattan since 1924, when Calvin Coolidge won a plurality of the New York County vote over Democrat John W. Davis, 41.20%–39.55%. Warren G. Harding was the most recent Republican presidential candidate to win a majority of the Manhattan vote, with 59.22% of the 1920 vote.[97] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 82.1% of the vote in Manhattan and Republican George W. Bush received 16.7%.[98] The borough is the most important source of funding for presidential campaigns in the United States; in 2004, it was home to six of the top seven ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions.[99] The top ZIP code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the United States presidential election for all presidential candidates, including both Kerry and Bush during the 2004 election.[100]

Federal representation

James A. Farley Post Office

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Manhattan. The James A. Farley Post Office in Midtown Manhattan is New York City's main post office.[101] It is located at 421 Eighth Avenue, between 31st Street and 33rd Street. The post office stopped 24-hour service beginning on May 9, 2009 due to decreasing mail traffic.[102] The U.S. Postal Service does not consider "Manhattan, NY" an acceptable address, and recommends the usage of New York, New York".[103]


A slum tour through the Five Points in an 1885 sketch
An NYPD boat patrols the New York Harbor

Starting in the mid-19th century, the United States became a magnet for immigrants seeking to escape poverty in their home countries. After arriving in New York, many new arrivals ended up living in squalor in the slums of the Five Points neighborhood, an area between Broadway and the Bowery, northeast of New York City Hall. By the 1820s, the area was home to many gambling dens and brothels, and was known as a dangerous place to go. In 1842, Charles Dickens visited the area and was appalled at the horrendous living conditions he had seen.[104] The area was so notorious that it even caught the attention of Abraham Lincoln, who visited the area before his Cooper Union Address in 1860.[105] The predominantly Irish Five Points Gang was one of the country's first major organized crime entities.

As Italian immigration grew in the early 20th century many joined ethnic gangs, including Al Capone, who got his start in crime with the Five Points Gang.[106] The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily and spread to the East Coast of the United States during the late 19th century following waves of Sicilian and Southern Italian emigration. Lucky Luciano established La Cosa Nostra in Manhattan, forming alliances with other criminal enterprises, including the Jewish mob, led by Meyer Lansky, the leading Jewish gangster of that period.[107] from 1920–1933, Prohibition helped create a thriving black market in liquor, upon which the Mafia was quick to capitalize.[107]

New York City experienced a sharp increase in crime during the 1960s and 1970s, with a near fivefold jump in the total number of police-recorded crimes, from 21.09 per thousand in 1960 to a peak of 102.66 in 1981. Homicides continued to increase in the city for another decade, with murders recorded by the NYPD jumping from 390 in 1960, to 1,117 in 1970, 1,812 in 1980, and reaching its peak of 2,262 in 1990 mainly because of the crack epidemic. Starting circa 1990, New York City saw record declines in homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, violent crime, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and property crime, a trend that has continued to today.[108]

Based on 2005 data, New York City has the lowest crime rate among the ten largest cities in the United States.[109] The city as a whole ranked fourth nationwide in the 13th annual Morgan Quitno survey of the 32 cities surveyed with a population above 500,000.[110] The New York City Police Department, with 36,400 officers, is larger than the next four largest U.S. departments combined. The NYPD's counter-terrorism division, with 1,000 officers assigned, is larger than the FBI's.[109] The NYPD's CompStat system of crime tracking, reporting and monitoring has been credited with a drop in crime in New York City that has far surpassed the drop elsewhere in the United States.[111]

Since 1990, crime in Manhattan has plummeted in all categories tracked by the CompStat profile. A borough that saw 503 murders in 1990 has seen a drop of nearly 88% to 62 in 2008. Robbery and burglary are down by more than 80% during the period, and auto theft has been reduced by more than 93%. In the seven major crime categories tracked by the system, overall crime has declined by more than 75% since 1990, and year-to-date statistics through May 2009 show continuing declines.[112]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1656* 1,000
1698* 6,788 +578.8%
1711* 10,538 +55.2%
1730* 11,963 +13.5%
1731* 8,628 −27.9%
1756* 15,710 +82.1%
1773* 21,876 +39.2%
1774* 23,600 +7.9%
1782* 29,363 +24.4%
1790 33,131 +12.8%
1800 60,489 +82.6%
1810 96,373 +59.3%
1820 123,706 +28.4%
1830 202,589 +63.8%
1840 312,710 +54.4%
1850 515,547 +64.9%
1860 813,669 +57.8%
1870 942,292 +15.8%
1880 1,164,674 +23.6%
1890 1,441,216 +23.7%
1900 1,850,093 +28.4%
1910 2,331,542 +26.0%
1920 2,284,103 −2.0%
1930 1,867,312 −18.2%
1940 1,889,924 +1.2%
1950 1,960,101 +3.7%
1960 1,698,281 −13.4%
1970 1,539,233 −9.4%
1980 1,428,285 −7.2%
1990 1,487,536 +4.1%
2000 1,537,195 +3.3%
2010 1,585,873 +3.2%
Sources:[113][114][15] and others

At the 2010 Census, there were 1,585,873 people living in Manhattan, an increase of 3.2% since 2000. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 1,634,795 people residing in Manhattan on July 1, 2008.[115] As of the 2000 Census, the population density of New York County was 66,940.1 per square mile (25,849.9/km²), the highest population density of any county in the United States.[116] If 2008 census estimates are accurate, then the population density now exceeds 71,201 people per square mile. In 1910, at the height of European immigration to New York, Manhattan's population density reached a peak of 101,548 people per square mile (39,222.9/km²). There were 798,144 housing units in 2000 at an average density of 34,756.7 per square mile (13,421.8/km²).[55] Only 20.3% of Manhattan residents lived in owner-occupied housing, the second-lowest rate of all counties in the nation, behind the Bronx.[117]

According to the 2010 Census, 48.0% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 12.9% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.1% non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native, 11.2% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.3% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.9% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 25.4% of Manhattan's population was of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race.

Manhattan has the second highest percentage of non-Hispanic Whites (48%) of New York City's boroughs, after Staten Island (where non-Hispanic Whites make 64.0% of residents).

The New York City Department of City Planning projects that Manhattan's population will increase by 289,000 people between 2000 and 2030, an increase of 18.8% over the period, second only to Staten Island, while the rest of the city is projected to grow by 12.7% over the same period. The school-age population is expected to grow 4.4% by 2030, in contrast to a small decline in the city as a whole. The elderly population is forecast to grow by 57.9%, with the borough adding 108,000 persons ages 65 and over, compared to 44.2% growth citywide.[118]

According to the 2009 American Community Survey,[119] the average household size was 2.11, and the average family size was 3.21. Approximately 59.4% of the population over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher. Approximately 27.0% of the population is foreign-born, and 61.7% of the population over the age of 5 speak only English at home. People of Irish ancestry make up 7.8% of the population, while Italian Americans make up 6.8% of the population. German Americans and Russian Americans make up 7.2% and 6.2% of the population respectively.[120]

In 2000, 56.4% of people living in Manhattan were White, 17.39% were Black, 14.14% were from other races, 9.40% were Asian, 0.5% were Native American, and 0.07% were Pacific Islander. 4.14% were from two or more races. 27.18% were Hispanic of any race. 24.93% reported speaking Spanish at home, 4.12% Chinese, and 2.19% French.[121]

There were 738,644 households. 25.2% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 59.1% were non-families. 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 48% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was two and the average family size was 2.99.

Manhattan's population was spread out with 16.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.

Manhattan is one of the highest-income places in the United States with a population greater than one million. Based on IRS data for the 2004 tax year, New York County (Manhattan) had the highest average federal income tax liability per return in the country. Average tax liability was $25,875, representing 20.0% of Adjusted Gross Income.[122] As of 2002, Manhattan had the highest per capita income of any county in the country.[123]

The Manhattan ZIP Code 10021, on the Upper East Side is home to more than 100,000 people and has a per capita income of over $90,000.[124] It is one of the largest concentrations of extreme wealth in the United States. Most Manhattan neighborhoods are not as wealthy. The median income for a household in the county was $47,030, and the median income for a family was $50,229. Males had a median income of $51,856 versus $45,712 for females. The per capita income for the county was $42,922. About 17.6% of families and 20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.8% of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.[125]

Lower Manhattan (Manhattan south of Houston Street) is more economically diverse. While the Financial District had few non-commercial tenants after the 1950s, the area has seen a surge in its residential population, with estimates showing over 30,000 residents living in the area as of 2005, a jump from the 15,000 to 20,000 before the September 11, 2001 attacks.[126]

Manhattan is religiously diverse. The largest religious affiliation is the Roman Catholic Church, whose adherents constitute 564,505 persons (more than 36% of the population) and maintain 110 congregations. Jews comprise the second largest religious group, with 314,500 persons (20.5%) in 102 congregations. They are followed by Protestants, with 139,732 adherents (9.1%) and Muslims, with 37,078 (2.4%).[127]

The borough is also experiencing a baby boom. Since 2000, the number of children under age five living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.[128]

Landmarks and architecture

The skyscraper, which has shaped Manhattan's distinctive skyline, has been closely associated with New York City's identity since the end of the 19th century. From 1890–1973, the world's tallest building was in Manhattan, with nine different buildings holding the title.[129] The New York World Building on Park Row, was the first to take the title in 1890, standing 309 feet (91 m) until 1955, when it was demolished to construct a new ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge.[130] The nearby Park Row Building, with its 29 stories standing 391 feet (119 m) high took the title in 1899.[131] The 41-story Singer Building, constructed in 1908 as the headquarters of the eponymous sewing machine manufacturer, stood 612 feet (187 m) high until 1967, when it became the tallest building ever demolished.[132] The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, standing 700 feet (213 m) at the foot of Madison Avenue, wrested the title in 1909, with a tower reminiscent of St Mark's Campanile in Venice.[133] The Woolworth Building, and its distinctive Gothic architecture, took the title in 1913, topping off at 792 feet (241 m).[134]

The Chrysler Building, was the tallest building in the city & the world from 1930–1931

The Roaring Twenties saw a race to the sky, with three separate buildings pursuing the world's tallest title in the span of a year. As the stock market soared in the days before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, two developers publicly competed for the crown.[135] At 927 feet (282 m), 40 Wall Street, completed in May 1930 in an astonishing eleven months as the headquarters of the Bank of Manhattan, seemed to have secured the title.[136] At Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, auto executive Walter Chrysler and his architect William Van Alen developed plans to build the structure's trademark 185-foot (56 m)-high spire in secret, pushing the Chrysler Building to 1,046 feet (319 m) and making it the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1929.[137] Both buildings were soon surpassed, with the May 1931 completion of the 102-story Empire State Building with its Art Deco tower soaring 1,250 feet (381 m) to the top of the building. The 203 ft (62 m) high pinnacle was later added bringing the total height of the building to 1,453 ft (443 m).[138][139]

The Empire State Building was the world's tallest building from 1931 to 1972, and is currently the tallest building in the city

The former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were located in Lower Manhattan. At 1,368 ft (417 m) and 1,362 ft (415 m), the 110-story buildings were the world's tallest from 1972, until they were surpassed by the construction of the Willis Tower in 1974 (formerly known as the Sears tower located in Chicago).[140] One World Trade Center, a replacement for the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, is currently under construction and is slated to be ready for occupancy in 2013.[141]

In 1961, the Pennsylvania Railroad unveiled plans to tear down the old Penn Station and replace it with a new Madison Square Garden and office building complex. Organized protests were aimed at preserving the McKim, Mead, and White-designed structure completed in 1910, widely considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style and one of the architectural jewels of New York City.[142] Despite these efforts, demolition of the structure began in October 1963. The loss of Penn Station—called "an act of irresponsible public vandalism" by historian Lewis Mumford—led directly to the enactment in 1965 of a local law establishing the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is responsible for preserving the "city's historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage".[143] The historic preservation movement triggered by Penn Station's demise has been credited with the retention of some one million structures nationwide, including nearly 1,000 in New York City.[144]

The twin towers of the former World Trade Center, New York's tallest buildings from 1972 to 2001.

The theatre district around Broadway at Times Square, New York University, Columbia University, Flatiron Building, the Financial District around Wall Street, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Little Italy, Harlem, the American Museum of Natural History, Chinatown, and Central Park are all located on this densely populated island.

The city is a leader in energy-efficient green office buildings, such as Hearst Tower, owned by Englishman Samuel Fox, and the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center.[145]

Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, on the south by West 59th Street, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park's borders, these streets are usually referred to as Central Park North, Central Park West, and Central Park South, respectively (Fifth Avenue retains its name along the eastern border). The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The 843 acres (3.41 km2) park offers extensive walking tracks, two ice-skating rinks, a wildlife sanctuary, and grassy areas used for various sporting pursuits, as well as playgrounds for children. The park is a popular oasis for migrating birds, and thus is popular with bird watchers. The 6-mile (9.7 km) road circling the park is popular with joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 pm, when automobile traffic is banned.[146]

While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped and contains several artificial lakes. The construction of Central Park in the 1850s was one of the era's most massive public works projects. Some 20,000 workers crafted the topography to create the English-style pastoral landscape Olmsted and Vaux sought to create. Workers moved nearly 3,000,000 cubic yards (2,300,000 m3) of soil and planted more than 270,000 trees and shrubs.[147]

17.8% of the borough, a total of 2,686 acres (10.87 km2), are devoted to parkland. Almost 70% of Manhattan's space devoted to parks is located outside of Central Park, including 204 playgrounds, 251 Greenstreets, 371 basketball courts and many other amenities.[148]

The African Burial Ground National Monument at Duane Street preserves a site containing the remains of over 400 Africans buried during the 17th and 18th centuries. The remains were found in 1991 during the construction of the Foley Square Federal Office Building.


Panorama looking north from the Empire State Building
Skyline of Midtown Manhattan, as seen from the observation deck of the GE Building
Skyline of Upper Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan as seen from Jersey City
Panorama of the Manhattan skyline as seen looking eastward from Hoboken, New Jersey.


Manhattan is home to some of the nation's most valuable real estate, and has a reputation as one of the most expensive areas in the United States.[149]

Offices along Sixth Avenue

Manhattan is the economic engine of New York City, with its 2.3 million workers drawn from the entire New York metropolitan area accounting for almost two-thirds of all jobs in New York City.[150] Manhattan's daytime population swells to 2.87 million, with commuters adding a net 1.34 million people to the population. This commuter influx of 1.46 million workers coming into Manhattan was the largest of any other county or city in the country, and was more than triple the 480,000 commuters who headed into second-ranked Washington, D.C.[151][152]

Its most important economic sector is the finance industry, whose 280,000 workers earned more than half of all the wages paid in the borough. The securities industry, best known by its center in Wall Street, forms the largest segment of the city's financial sector, accounting for over 50% of the financial services employment. Before the financial crisis of 2008, the five largest securities-trading firms in the U.S. had their headquarters in Manhattan.[153][154]

In 2006, those in the Manhattan financial industry earned an average weekly pay of about $8,300 (including bonuses), while the average weekly pay for all industries was about $2,500. This was the highest in the country's 325 largest counties, and the salary growth of 8% was the highest among the ten largest counties. Pay in the borough was 85% higher than the $784 pay earned weekly nationwide and nearly double the amount earned by workers in the outer boroughs. The health care sector represents about 11% of the borough's jobs and 4% of total compensation, with workers taking home about $900 per week.[155]

New York City is home to the most corporate headquarters of any city in the nation, the overwhelming majority based in Manhattan.[156] Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States.[157] Lower Manhattan is the nation's third-largest central business district (after Chicago's Loop) and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange (Amex), the New York Board of Trade, the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) and NASDAQ.[158]

Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks are headquartered in Manhattan.[159] "Madison Avenue" is often used metonymously to refer to the entire advertising field, after Madison Avenue became identified with the advertising industry after the explosive growth in the area in the 1920s.

Manhattan's workforce is overwhelmingly focused on white collar professions, with manufacturing (39,800 workers) and construction (31,600) accounting for a small fraction of the borough's employment.[150][160]

Historically, this corporate presence has been complemented by many independent retailers, though a recent influx of national chain stores has caused many to lament the creeping homogenization of Manhattan.[161]


Times Square, a major cultural venue in the city
Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
An aerial shot of the Southern half of Manhattan taken from a plane

Manhattan has been the scene of many important American cultural movements. In 1912, about 20,000 workers, a quarter of them women, marched on Washington Square Park to commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 workers on March 25, 1911. Many of the women wore fitted tucked-front blouses like those manufactured by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a clothing style that became the working woman's uniform and a symbol of female independence, reflecting the alliance of labor and suffrage movements.[162]

The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s established the African-American literary canon in the United States. Manhattan's vibrant visual art scene in the 1950s and 1960s was a center of the American pop art movement, which gave birth to such giants as Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Perhaps no other artist is as associated with the downtown pop art movement of the late 1970s as Andy Warhol, who socialized at clubs like Serendipity 3 and Studio 54.

A popular haven for art, the downtown neighborhood of Chelsea is widely known for its galleries and cultural events, with more than 200 art galleries that are home to modern art from both upcoming and established artists.[163][164]

Broadway theatre is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Plays and musicals are staged in one of the 39 larger professional theatres with at least 500 seats, almost all in and around Times Square.[165] Off-Broadway theatres feature productions in venues with 100–500 seats.[166] A little more than a mile from Times Square is the Lincoln Center, home to one of the world's most prestigious opera houses, that of the Metropolitan Opera.[167]

Manhattan is also home to some of the most extensive art collections, both contemporary and historical, in the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum.

Manhattan is the borough most closely associated with New York City by non-residents; even some natives of New York City's boroughs outside Manhattan will describe a trip to Manhattan as "going to the city".[168]

The borough has a place in several American idioms. The phrase a New York minute is meant to convey a very short time, sometimes in hyperbolic form, as in "perhaps faster than you would believe is possible". It refers to the rapid pace of life in Manhattan.[169] The term "melting pot" was first popularly coined to describe the densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side in Israel Zangwill's play The Melting Pot, which was an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set by Zangwill in New York City in 1908.[170] The iconic Flatiron Building is said to have been the source of the phrase "23 skidoo" or scram, from what cops would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women's dresses being blown up by the winds created by the triangular building.[171] The "Big Apple" dates back to the 1920s, when a reporter heard the term used by New Orleans stablehands to refer to New York City's racetracks and named his racing column "Around The Big Apple." Jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to the city as the world's jazz capital, and a 1970s ad campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau helped popularize the term.[172]


Today, Manhattan is home of the NBA's New York Knicks, the NHL's New York Rangers, and the WNBA's New York Liberty, who all play their home games at Madison Square Garden, the only major professional sports arena in the borough. The New York Jets proposed a West Side Stadium for their home field, but the proposal was eventually defeated in June 2005, leaving them at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Today, Manhattan is the only borough in New York City that does not have a professional baseball franchise. The Bronx has the Yankees (American League) and Queens has the Mets (National League) of Major League Baseball. The Minor League Baseball Brooklyn Cyclones play in Brooklyn, while the Staten Island Yankees play in Staten Island. Yet three of the four major league teams to play in New York City played in Manhattan. The New York Giants played in the various incarnations of the Polo Grounds at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue from their inception in 1883—except for 1889, when they split their time between Jersey City and Staten Island, and when they played in Hilltop Park in 1911—until they headed west with the Brooklyn Dodgers after the 1957 season.[173] The New York Yankees began their franchise as the Highlanders, named for Hilltop Park, where they played from their creation in 1903 until 1912. The team moved to the Polo Grounds with the 1913 season, where they were officially christened the New York Yankees, remaining there until they moved across the Harlem River in 1923 to Yankee Stadium.[174] The New York Mets played in the Polo Grounds in 1962 and 1963, their first two seasons, before Shea Stadium was completed in 1964.[175] After the Mets departed, the Polo Grounds was demolished in April 1964, replaced by public housing.[176][177]

The Skating Pond in Central Park, 1862
Madison Square Garden is home to the Rangers, Knicks and Liberty

The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.[178] The New York Knicks started play in 1946 as one of the National Basketball Association's original teams, playing their first home games at the 69th Regiment Armory, before making Madison Square Garden their permanent home.[179] The New York Liberty of the WNBA have shared the Garden with the Knicks since their creation in 1997 as one of the league's original eight teams.[180] Rucker Park in Harlem is a playground court, famed for its street ball style of play, where many NBA athletes have played in the summer league.[181]

Though both of New York City's football teams play today across the Hudson River in Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, both teams started out playing in the Polo Grounds. The New York Giants played side-by-side with their baseball namesakes from the time they entered the National Football League in 1925, until crossing over to Yankee Stadium in 1956.[182] The New York Jets, originally known as the Titans, started out in 1960 at the Polo Grounds, staying there for four seasons before joining the Mets in Queens in 1964.[183]

The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League have played in the various locations of Madison Square Garden since their founding in the 1926–1927 season. The Rangers were predated by the New York Americans, who started play in the Garden the previous season, lasting until the team folded after the 1941–1942 NHL season, a season it played in the Garden as the Brooklyn Americans.[184]

The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League played their home games at Downing Stadium for two seasons, starting in 1974. In 1975, the team signed Pelé, officially recorded by FIFA as the world's greatest soccer player, to a $4.5 million contract, drawing a capacity crowd of 22,500 to watch him lead the team to a 2–0 victory.[185] The playing pitch and facilities at Downing Stadium were in dreadful condition though and as the team's popularity grew they too left for Yankee Stadium, and then Giants Stadium. The stadium was demolished in 2002 to make way for the $45 million, 4,754-seat Icahn Stadium, which includes an Olympic-standard 400-meter running track and, as part of Pele's and the Cosmos' legacy, includes a FIFA-approved floodlit soccer stadium that hosts matches between the 48 youth teams of a Manhattan soccer club.[186][187]


Manhattan is served by the major New York City dailies, including The New York Times, New York Daily News, and New York Post, which are all headquartered in the borough. The nation's largest financial newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, is also based there. Other daily newspapers include AM New York and The Villager. The New York Amsterdam News, based in Harlem, is one of the leading African American weekly newspapers in the United States. The Village Voice is a leading alternative weekly based in the borough.[188]

The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy. The four major American broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC are all headquartered in Manhattan, as are many cable channels, including MSNBC, MTV, Fox News, HBO and Comedy Central. In 1971, WLIB became New York's first black-owned radio station and the crown jewel of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation. A co-founder of Inner City was Percy Sutton, a former Manhattan borough president and long one of the city's most powerful black leaders.[189] WLIB began broadcasts for the African-American community in 1949 and regularly interviewed civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and aired live broadcasts from conferences of the NAACP. Influential WQHT, also known as Hot 97, claims to be the premier hip-hop station in the United States. WNYC, comprising an AM and FM signal, has the largest public radio audience in the nation and is the most-listened to commercial or non-commercial radio station in Manhattan.[190] WBAI, with news and information programming, is one of the few socialist radio stations operating in the United States.

The oldest public-access television cable TV channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971, offers eclectic local programming that ranges from a jazz hour to discussion of labor issues to foreign language and religious programming.[191] NY1, Time Warner Cable's local news channel, is known for its beat coverage of City Hall and state politics.


In the early days of Manhattan, wood construction and poor access to water supplies left the city vulnerable to fires. In 1776, shortly after the Continental Army evacuated Manhattan and left it to the British, a massive fire broke out destroying one-third of the city and some 500 houses.[192]

Loft apartments in TriBeCa

The rise of immigration near the turn of the 20th century left major portions of Manhattan, especially the Lower East Side, densely packed with recent arrivals, crammed into unhealthy and unsanitary housing. Tenements were usually five-stories high, constructed on the then-typical 25x100 lots, with "cockroach landlords" exploiting the new immigrants.[193][194] By 1929, stricter fire codes and the increased use of elevators in residential buildings, were the impetus behind a new housing code that effectively ended the tenement as a form of new construction, though many tenement buildings survive today on the East Side of the borough.[194]

Today, Manhattan offers a wide array of public and private housing options. There were 798,144 housing units in Manhattan as of the 2000 Census, at an average density of 34,756.7 per square mile (13,421.8/km²).[55] Only 20.3% of Manhattan residents lived in owner-occupied housing, the second-lowest rate of all counties in the nation, behind The Bronx.[117] Although the city of New York has the highest average cost for rent in the United States, it simultaneously hosts a higher average of income per capita. Since the higher average of income affects how much rent payers spend percentage wise on rent, NYC is still above the 10 most difficult American cities in which to pay rent. [195]



Grand Central Terminal, a terminal rail station, and a major city landmark.
Columbus Circle subway station is one of the city's busiest subway stations.

Manhattan is unique in the United States of America for intense use of public transportation and lack of private car ownership. While 88% of Americans nationwide drive to their jobs and only 5% use public transportation, mass transit is the dominant form of travel for residents of Manhattan, with 72% of borough residents using public transportation and only 18% driving to work.[196][197] According to the United States Census, 2000, more than 77.5% of Manhattan households do not own a car.[198]

In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a congestion pricing system. The state legislature rejected the proposal in June 2008.[199]

The New York City Subway, the largest subway system in the world by track mileage and the largest by number of stations, is the primary means of travel within the city, linking every borough except Staten Island. There are 147 subway stations in Manhattan. A second subway, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) system, connects six stations in Manhattan to northern New Jersey. Passengers pay fares with pay-per-ride MetroCards, which are valid on all city buses and subways, as well as on PATH trains. A one-way fare on the bus or subway is $2.25,[200] and PATH costs $1.75.[201] There are 7-day and 30-day MetroCards that allow unlimited trips on all subways (except PATH) and MTA bus routes (except for express buses).[202] The PATH QuickCard is being phased out, and both PATH and the MTA are testing "smart card" payment systems to replace the MetroCard.[203] Commuter rail services operating to and from Manhattan are the Long Island Rail Road (which connects Manhattan and other New York City boroughs to Long Island), the Metro-North Railroad (which connects Manhattan to Upstate New York and Southwestern Connecticut) and New Jersey Transit trains to various points in New Jersey.

The MTA New York City Bus offers a wide variety of local buses within Manhattan. An extensive network of express bus routes serves commuters and other travelers heading into Manhattan. The bus system served 740 million passengers in 2004, the highest in the nation, and more than double the ridership of the second-place Los Angeles.[204]

New York's iconic yellow cabs, which number 13,087 city-wide and must have the requisite medallion authorizing the pick up of street hails, are ubiquitous in the borough.[205] Manhattan also sees tens of thousands of bicycle commuters. The Roosevelt Island Tramway, one of two commuter cable car systems in North America, whisks commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan in less than five minutes, and has been serving the island since 1978. (The other system in North America is the Portland Aerial Tram.)[206][207] The Staten Island Ferry, which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run between Manhattan and Staten Island. Each weekday, five vessels transport about 65,000 passengers on 110 boat trips.[208][209] The ferry has been fare-free since 1997, when the then-50-cent fare was eliminated.[210]

Penn Station, a major commuter rail hub in New York City, is directly under Madison Square Garden.

The metro region's commuter rail lines converge at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, on the west and east sides of Midtown Manhattan, respectively. They are the two busiest rail stations in the United States. About one-third of users of mass transit and two-thirds of railway passengers in the country live in New York and its suburbs.[211] Amtrak provides inter-city passenger rail service from Penn Station to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; Upstate New York, New England; cross-border service to Toronto and Montreal; and destinations in the South and Midwest.

The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles a day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan, is the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world.[212] 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 to Manhattan's piers. 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.[213] President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first person to drive through it.[214]

The FDR Drive and Harlem River Drive are two routes with limited access that skirt the east side of Manhattan along the East River, designed by controversial New York master planner Robert Moses.[215]

Manhattan has three public heliports. US Helicopter offered regularly scheduled helicopter service connecting the Downtown Manhattan Heliport with John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey before going out of business in 2009.[216]

New York has the largest clean-air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country. It also has some of the first hybrid taxis, most of which operate in Manhattan.[217]


Gas and electric service is provided by Consolidated Edison to all of Manhattan. Con Edison's electric business traces its roots back to Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Illuminating Company, the first investor-owned electric utility. The company started service on September 4, 1882, using one generator to provide 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers with 800 light bulbs, in a one-square-mile area of Lower Manhattan from his Pearl Street Station.[218] Con Edison operates the world's largest district steam system, which consists of 105 miles (169 km) of steam pipes, providing steam for heating, hot water, and air conditioning[219] by some 1,800 Manhattan customers.[220] Cable service is provided by Time Warner Cable and telephone service is provided by Verizon Communications, although AT&T is available as well.

Manhattan, surrounded by two brackish rivers, had a limited supply of fresh water. The supply dwindled as the city grew rapidly after the American Revolutionary War. To satisfy the growing population, the city acquired land in Westchester County and constructed the Croton Aqueduct system, which went into service in 1842. The system took water from a dam at the Croton River, and sent it down through the Bronx, over the Harlem River by way of the High Bridge, to storage reservoirs in Central Park and at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, and through a network of cast iron pipes on to consumer's faucets.[221]

Today, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection provides water to residents fed by a 2,000-square-mile (5,200 km2) watershed in the Catskill Mountains. Because the watershed is in one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the United States, the natural water filtration process remains intact. As a result, New York is one of only five major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough to require only chlorination to ensure its purity at the tap under normal conditions.[222][223] Water comes to Manhattan through New York City Water Tunnel No. 1 and Tunnel No. 2, completed in 1917 and 1936, respectively. Construction started in 1970 continues on New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, which will double the system's existing 1.2 billion gallon-a-day capacity while providing a much-needed backup to the two other tunnels.[224]

The New York City Department of Sanitation is responsible for garbage removal.[225] The bulk of the city's trash ultimately is disposed at mega-dumps in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Ohio (via transfer stations in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens) since the 2001 closure of the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.[226] A small amount of trash processed at transfer sites in New Jersey is sometimes incinerated at waste-to-energy facilities. Like New York City, New Jersey and much of Greater New York relies on exporting its trash to far-flung places.


New York Public Library, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, built 1897–1911, Carrère and Hastings, architects.

Education in Manhattan is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. Public schools in the borough are operated by the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States.[227] Charter schools include Harlem Success Academy and Girls Prep.

Some of the best-known New York City public high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, High School of Fashion Industries, Murry Bergtraum High School, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, Hunter College High School and High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College are located in Manhattan. Bard High School Early College, a new hybrid school created by Bard College, serves students from around the city. Manhattan is home to many of the most prestigious private prep schools in the nation including the Upper East Side's Brearley School, Dalton School, Browning School, Spence School, Chapin School, Nightingale-Bamford School, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Regis High School, The Hewitt School, and Loyola School (New York City). Along with the Upper West Side's Collegiate School and Trinity School. The borough is also home to two private schools that are known as the most diverse in the nation, Manhattan Country School and United Nations International School. Manhattan is home to the only official Italian American school in the U.S., La Scuola d'Italia.[228]

As of 2003, 52.3% of Manhattan residents over age 25 have a bachelor's degree, the fifth highest of all counties in the country.[229] By 2005, about 60% of residents were college graduates and some 25% had earned advanced degrees, giving Manhattan one of the nation's densest concentrations of highly educated people.[230]

Manhattan has various colleges and universities including Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University (NYU), The Juilliard School, Pace University, Berkeley College, The New School, and Yeshiva University. Other schools include Bank Street College of Education, Boricua College, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Marymount Manhattan College, Manhattan School of Music, Metropolitan College of New York, New York Institute of Technology, Pace University, St. John's University, School of Visual Arts, Touro College and Union Theological Seminary. Several other private institutions maintain a Manhattan presence, among them The College of New Rochelle and Pratt Institute.

The City University of New York (CUNY), the municipal college system of New York City, is the largest urban university system in the United States, serving more than 226,000 degree students and a roughly equal number of adult, continuing and professional education students.[231] A third of college graduates in New York City graduate from CUNY, with the institution enrolling about half of all college students in New York City. CUNY senior colleges located in Manhattan include: Baruch College, City College of New York, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the CUNY Graduate Center (graduate studies and doctoral granting institution). The only CUNY community college located in Manhattan is the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

The State University of New York is represented by the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York State College of Optometry and Stony Brook University – Manhattan.

Manhattan is a world center for training and education in medicine and the life sciences.[232] The city as a whole receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities,[233] the bulk of which goes to Manhattan's research institutions, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Weill Cornell Medical College and New York University School of Medicine.

Manhattan is served by the New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country.[234] The five units of the Central Library—Mid-Manhattan Library, Donnell Library Center, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library—are all located in Manhattan.[235] More than 35 other branch libraries are located in the borough.[236]

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Coordinates: 40°47′25″N 73°57′35″W / 40.79028°N 73.95972°W / 40.79028; -73.95972

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