New York City

New York City
New York City
—  City  —
City of New York
Clockwise from top: Midtown Manhattan, the United Nations Headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Times Square, and the Unisphere in Queens.


The Big Apple, Gotham, Center of the Universe, The City That Never Sleeps,[1] The Capital of the World[2][3][4][5]
Location in the state of New York
New York City is located in United States
New York City
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°43′N 74°00′W / 40.717°N 74°W / 40.717; -74Coordinates: 40°43′N 74°00′W / 40.717°N 74°W / 40.717; -74
Country United States
State New York
Counties Bronx
New York
Settled 1624
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Body New York City Council
 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I)[6]
 - City 468.9 sq mi (1,214.4 km2)
 - Land 304.8 sq mi (789.4 km2)
 - Water 165.6 sq mi (428.8 km2)
 - Urban 3,352.6 sq mi (8,683.2 km2)
 - Metro 6,720 sq mi (17,405 km2)
Elevation 33 ft (10 m)
Population (April 1, 2010 United States Census)[7][8]
 - City 8,175,133
 - Density 27,532/sq mi (10,630/km2)
 Urban 18,223,567
 - Urban density 5,435.7/sq mi (2,098.7/km2)
 Metro 18,897,109
 - Metro density 2,812.1/sq mi (1,085.7/km2)
Demonym New Yorker
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 100xx-104xx, 11004-05, 111xx-114xx, 116xx
Area code(s) 212, 718, 917, 646, 347, 929
FIPS code 36-51000

New York is the most populous city in the United States[9] and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world.[10][11][12] New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters,[13] New York is an important center for international affairs and is widely deemed the cultural capital of the world.[14][15][16][17][18] The city is also referred to as New York City or the City of New York[19] to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.[20]

Located on one of the world's largest natural harbors,[21] New York City consists of five boroughs which were consolidated in 1898:[22] The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.[23] With a 2010 United States Census population of 8,175,133[7] distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2),[24][25][26] New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States.[27] As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.[28] The New York City Metropolitan Area's population is the United States' largest, estimated at 18.9 million people distributed over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2),[8][29] and is also part of the most populous combined statistical area in the United States, containing 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates.[30] New York is the most highly googled location in the world; registering 4.6 billion search results as of September 2011.[31]

New York traces its roots to its 1624 founding as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic, and was named New Amsterdam in 1626.[32] The city and its surrounds came under English control in 1664[33][34] and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York.[35][36] New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.[37] It has been the country's largest city since 1790.[38] The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries[39] and is a globally recognized symbol of the United States and its democracy.[40]

Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known to its nearly 50 million annual visitors.[41] Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World",[42][43][44][45] is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district,[46] one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections,[47] and a major center of the world's entertainment industry.[48] The city hosts many world renowned bridges, skyscrapers,[49] and parks. New York City's financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, functions as the financial capital of the world[50][51][52][53][54][55][56] and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies.[57] Manhattan's real estate market is among the most prized and expensive in the world.[58] Manhattan's Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere.[59] Unlike most global rapid transit systems, the New York City Subway is designed to provide 24/7 service.[60] Numerous colleges and universities are located in New York,[61] including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which are ranked among the top 100 in the world.[62]



In the pre-colonial era the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by various bands of Algonquian tribes of Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island, the western portion of Long Island including the area that would become Brooklyn and western Queens and lower Manhattan.[63] The Weckquaesgeek, members of the Wappinger Confederation, inhabited the area of the present-day Bronx and the northern portion of the island of Manhattan,[64] and various bands of the Metoac, principally the Rockaway tribe, inhabited portions of present-day western Queens[65]

The first documented visit by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown, who sailed his ship La Dauphine into Upper New York Harbor, where he spent one night aboard ship and sailed out the next day. He claimed the area for France and named it "Nouvelle Angoulême" (New Angoulême).[66] In January a year later, Esteban Gomez, a Portugese of African descent sailing for Emperor Charles V of Spain, entered New York Harbor and charted the mouth of the Hudson river which he named Rio de San Antonio, heavy ice kept him from further exploration.[67]

In 1609 English explorer Henry Hudson re-discovered the region when he sailed his ship the Halve Maen (Half Moon) into New York Harbor while searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient for his employer the Dutch East India Company. He proceeded to sail up what he named the North River also called the Mauritis River, to the site of the present-day New York State capital of Albany in the belief that the it may be a passage. When the river narrowed and was no longer salty he realized it wasn't a sea passage and sailed back downriver. He made a ten-day exploration of the area and claimed to the region for his employer. In 1614 the area between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay would be claimed by the Netherlands and called Nieuw-Nederland (New Netherland).

The year 1614 saw the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on the southern tip of Manhattan which would be called "Nieuw Amsterdam" (New Amsterdam) in 1625. Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Canarsie, a small band of the Lenape,[68] in 1626 for a value of 60 guilders[69] (about $1000 in 2006);[70] a disproved legend says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.[71][72]

In 1664 Peter Stuyvesant the Director-General of the colony of New Netherland surrendered New Amsterdam to the English without bloodshed. The English promptly renamed the fledgling city "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany.[73] At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch gained control of Run (then a much more valuable asset) in exchange for the English controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and some epidemics brought on by the arrival of the Europeans caused sizable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670.[74] By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200.[75] In 1702, the city lost 10% of its population to yellow fever.[76] New York underwent no fewer than seven important yellow fever epidemics from 1702 to 1800.[77]

New Amsterdam in 1664, the year Britain took control and renamed it "New York"

New York grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. The city hosted the influential John Peter Zenger trial in 1735, helping to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by George II of Great Britain as King's College in Lower Manhattan.[78] The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October of 1765 as the Sons of Liberty organized in the city, skirmishing over the next ten years with British troops stationed there.

The Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the American Revolution took place in Brooklyn in 1776

During the American Revolution, the largest battle of the war, the Battle of Long Island, was fought in August 1776 entirely within the modern day borough of Brooklyn. After the battle, in which the Americans were routed, leaving subsequent smaller engagements following in its wake, the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America. The city was a haven for Loyalist refugees, until the war ended in 1783. The only attempt at a peaceful solution to the war took place at the Conference House on Staten Island between American delegates including Benjamin Franklin, and British general Lord Howe on September 11, 1776. Shortly after the British occupation began the Great Fire of New York occurred, a large conflagration which destroyed about a quarter of the buildings in the city, including Trinity Church.[79]

The assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York the national capital in 1785, shortly after the war. New York was the last capital of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation and the first capital under the Constitution of the United States. In 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States each assembled for the first time, and the United States Bill of Rights was drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street.[80] By 1790, New York had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.

In the 19th century, the city was transformed by immigration and development.[81] A visionary development proposal, the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan, and the 1819 opening of the Erie Canal connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the North American interior.[82] Local politics fell under the domination of Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish immigrants.[83] Several prominent American literary figures lived in New York during the 1830s and 1840s, including William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, John Keese, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Public-minded members of the old merchant aristocracy lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which became the first landscaped park in an American city in 1857. A significant free-black population also existed in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Slaves had been held in New York through 1827, but during the 1830s New York became a center of interracial abolitionist activism in the North. New York's black population was over 16,000 in 1840.[84] The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants, and by 1860, one in four New Yorkers—over 200,000—had been born in Ireland.[85]

Bird's eye view print of Manhattan & New York City, 1873.

Anger at military conscription during the American Civil War (1861–1865) led to the Draft Riots of 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.[86]

In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens.[87] The opening of the subway in 1904 helped bind the new city together. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. However, this development did not come without a price. In 1904, the steamship General Slocum caught fire in the East River, killing 1,021 people on board.

In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city's worst industrial disaster until the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.[88]

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, from Rockefeller Center, 1932

New York's nonwhite population was 36,620 in 1890.[89] In the 1920s, New York City was a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration from the American South. By 1916, New York City was home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The Harlem Renaissance flourished during the era of Prohibition, coincident with a larger economic boom that saw the skyline develop with the construction of competing skyscrapers.

New York became the most populous urbanized area in the world in early 1920s, overtaking London, and the metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in early 1930s, becoming the first megacity in human history.[90] The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello LaGuardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.[91]

Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed as the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's place as the world's dominant economic power. The United Nations Headquarters (completed in 1950) emphasized New York's political influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitated New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.[92]

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, a designated National Historic Landmark as the site of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.[93]
United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the former World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

In the 1960s, New York City began to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates. While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city's economic health in the 1980s, New York's crime rate continued a steep uphill climb through the decade and into the beginning of the 1990s.[94] By the 1990s, crime rates started to drop dramatically due to increased police presence and gentrification, and many American transplants and waves of new immigrants arrived from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city's economy and New York's population reached an all-time high in the 2000 census.

The city was one of the sites of the September 11, 2001 attacks, when nearly 3,000 people died in the destruction of the World Trade Center.[95] A new One World Trade Center, a World Trade Center Memorial, and three other office towers are being built on the site and are scheduled for completion by 2014. The new World Trade Center site skyscrapers, memorial, and a new transportation hub that are under construction at the site will bring about a more modern Lower Manhattan and restore the skyline of New York City.[96]


Satellite imagery demonstrating the core of the New York City Metropolitan Area.

New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston.[97] The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading city. Much of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.

The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary.[98] The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River—a tidal strait—flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates most of Manhattan from the Bronx. The Bronx River, which flows through the Bronx and Westchester County, is the only entirely fresh water river in the city.[99]

The city's land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most prominent in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s.[100] Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, especially in Manhattan.[101]

The city's total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 square miles (425 km2) of this are water and 304.8 square miles (789 km2) is land.[25][26] The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which, at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level, is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine.[102] The summit of the ridge is mostly covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.[103]


Under the Köppen climate classification New York City has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), and using the 0 °C (32 °F) threshold it is the northernmost major city on the continent with such categorization.

The area averages 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, and averages 58% of possible sunshine annually,[104] accumulating 2,400 to 2,800 hours of sunshine per annum.[105]

Winters are cold and damp, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet the Atlantic and the partial shielding of the Appalachians keep the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities located at similar or lesser latitudes such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. The average temperature in January, the area's coldest month, is 32.1 °F (0.1 °C). However temperatures in winter could for a few days be as low as 10 °F (−12 °C) and as high as 50 °F (10 °C).[106] Spring and autumn are unpredictable, and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically hot and humid with a July average of 76.5 °F (24.7 °C). Nighttime conditions are often exacerbated by the urban heat island phenomenon, and temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 18 days each summer and can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) every 4–6 years.[107][108]

The city receives 49.7 inches (1,260 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall for 1971 to 2000 has been 22.4 inches (57 cm), but this usually varies considerably from year to year.[108] Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the area.

Extreme temperatures have ranged from −15 to 106 °F (-26 to 41 °C), recorded on February 9, 1934 and July 9, 1936, respectively.[109]

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 [107][110]


Midtown Manhattan during the day
Lower Manhattan during the day
Lower Manhattan at night


Brownstone row houses in Harlem
The Seagram Building (1957) is a prominent example of the International style of Modernist architecture

New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles and from distinct time periods from the saltbox style Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, the oldest section of which dates to 1656, to the modern Freedom Tower, the modern skyscraper currently under construction at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Manhattan's skyline with its many skyscrapers is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world. As of 2011, New York City had 5,937 high-rise buildings, of which 550 completed structures were at least 100 meters high, both second in the world after Hong Kong,[111][112] with over 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing.

The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.[113] The Art Deco style of the Chrysler Building (1930) and Empire State Building (1931), with their tapered tops and steel spires, reflected the zoning requirements. The buildings have distinctive ornamentation, such as the eagles at the corners of the 61st floor on the Chrysler Building, and are considered some of the finest examples of the Art Deco style.[114]

A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its façade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is a prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers.[115]

New York's large residential districts are often defined by the classic brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and tenements that were built during a period of rapid growth from 1870 to 1930.[116] Stone and brick became the city's building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1835.[117]

A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the wooden roof-mounted water towers. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes.[118]

Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, such as Jackson Heights in Queens.[119]


The Statue of Liberty National Monument, in New York Harbor, with the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the background.

New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches.[120] This parkland complements tens of thousands of acres of federal and state parkland.

National Park System

Gateway National Recreation Area is over 26,000 acres (10,521.83 ha) in total, most of it surrounded by New York City; the New York State portion includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Brooklyn and Queens, over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of salt marsh, islands and water that includes most of Jamaica Bay. Also in Queens the park includes a significant portion of the western Rockaway Peninsula, most notably Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden. Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island with historic pre-Civil war era Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, and Great Kills Park with beaches, trails and marina also on Staten Island.

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum are managed by the National Park Service and are located both in the states of New York and New Jersey. They are joined in the harbor by Governors Island National Monument, located in New York. Historic sites under federal management on Manhattan Island include Castle Clinton National Monument; Federal Hall National Memorial; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site; General Grant National Memorial ("Grant's Tomb"); African Burial Ground National Monument; Hamilton Grange National Memorial; and the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village is a designated National Historic Landmark as the catalyst of the modern gay rights movement.[121]

New York State Parks

There are seven state parks within the confines of New York City, including Clay Pit Ponds State Park, a natural area which includes extensive riding trails, and Riverbank State Park, a 28-acre (110,000 m2) facility that rises 69 feet (21 m) over the Hudson River.[122]

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

  • Central Park an 883-acre (3.57 km2) park in Manhattan, is the most visited city park in the United States, with 25 million visitors each year.[123] The park contains a myriad of attractions; there are several lakes and ponds, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, the 106-acre (0.43 km2) Jackie Onasis Reservoir. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel.
  • Prospect Park in Brooklyn has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow, a lake and extensive woodlands. Located within the park is the historic Battle Pass, which figured prominently in the Battle of Long Island.[124]
  • In Staten Island, the Conference House Park contains the historic Conference House, site of the only attempt of a peaceful resolution to the American Revolution, attended by Benjamin Franklin representing the Americans and Lord Howe representing the British Crown. Located within the park is the historic Burial Ridge, the largest Native American burial ground within New York City.
Central Park is the most visited city park in the United States.


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
City of New York
8,175,133 303 786
19,378,102 47,214 122,284
Source: United States Census Bureau[7][27][126]

New York City is composed of five boroughs.[127] Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

  • Manhattan (New York County; 2009 Est. Pop.: 1,629,054)[128] is the most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city's skyscrapers. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the UN, a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.
  • Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,567,098),[128] on the western tip of Long Island, is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a distinctive architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown neighborhood. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.[132]
  • Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 491,730)[128] is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 2,500 acres (10 km2) Greenbelt has some 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city.[135] Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.

Culture and contemporary life

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the world.
Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather

Tom Wolfe[136]

Numerous major American cultural movements began in the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance, which established the African-American literary canon in the United States.

The city was a center of jazz in the 1940s, abstract expressionism in the 1950s and the birthplace of hip hop in the 1970s. The city's punk and hardcore scenes were influential in the 1970s and 1980s, and the city has long had a flourishing scene for Jewish American literature.

The city prominently excels in its spheres of art, cuisine, dance, music, opera, theater, independent film, fashion, museums, and literature. The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; and hip hop,[131] punk,[137] salsa, disco, freestyle, and Tin Pan Alley in music. New York City has been considered the dance capital of the world.[138][139][140] The city is also widely celebrated in popular lore, featured frequently as the setting for books, movies (see New York in film), and television programs.

Entertainment and performing arts

The city is also prominent in the American film industry. Manhatta (1920), an early avant-garde film, was filmed in the city.[141]

Today, New York City is the second largest center for the film industry in the United States. The city has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes.[142]

The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts.[142] Wealthy industrialists in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established.

The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theater productions, and in the 1880s New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began featuring a new stage form that became known as the Broadway musical. Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition. Today these productions are a staple of the New York theater scene.

The city's 39 largest theaters (with more than 500 seats each) are collectively known as "Broadway," after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square theater district.[143] This area is sometimes referred to as The Main Stem, The Great White Way or The Rialto.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic. New York City Ballet, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Juilliard School and Alice Tully Hall. It is the largest performing arts center in the United States.

Central Park SummerStage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park.


Times Square has the highest annual attendance rate of any tourist attraction in the US.[144]

Tourism is one of New York City's most vital industries, with more than 40 million combined domestic and international tourists visiting each year in the past five years.[145] Major destinations include the Empire State Building; Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island; Broadway theater productions; museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; greenspaces such as Central Park and Washington Square Park; Rockefeller Center; Times Square; luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues; and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the St. Patrick's Day parade, seasonal activities such as ice skating in Central Park in the wintertime, the Tribeca Film Festival, and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage. Special experiences outside the key tourist areas of the city include, but are not limited to the Bronx Zoo; Coney Island; and the New York Botanical Garden.

In 2010, New York City had a record number of tourists with 48.7 million.[146] Since the United States economy is still recovering, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's goal is to break the record again in 2012 by drawing more than 50 million tourists.[147]


New York is a center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper, and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto).[148]

Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the Thomson Reuters Corporation, the News Corporation, The New York Times Company, NBCUniversal, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York.[149] Two of the "Big Four" record labels' headquarters, are in New York City - Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Universal Music Group and EMI also have major offices in New York. One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York.[150]

More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city[150] and the book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people.[151]

Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which has won the most Pulitzer Prizes for journalism.

Major tabloid newspapers in the city include: The New York Daily News which was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson[152] and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton.[153]

The city also has a comprehensive ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages.[154] El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation.[155] The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African American newspaper. The Village Voice is the largest alternative newspaper

The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy.

The four major American broadcast networks are all headquartered in New York: ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Many cable channels are based in the city as well, including MTV, Fox News, HBO, and Comedy Central.

In 2005, there were more than 100 television shows taped in New York City.[156]

New York is also a major center for non-commercial educational media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971.[157] WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary source of national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States.[158]

The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, NYCTV,[159] that has produced several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods and city government.


New York-style pizza is a popular food throughout the city.

New York's food culture includes a variety of world cuisines influenced by the city's immigrant history.

Eastern European and Italian immigrants have made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza, while Chinese restaurants are ubiquitous. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafels and kebabs standbys of modern New York street food, although hot dogs and pretzels are still the main street fare.[160]

The city is also home to many of the finest and most diverse haute cuisine restaurants in the United States.[161]


The New York area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It is generally considered one of the most recognizable accents within American English.[162] The classic version of this dialect is centered on middle and working class people of European American descent, and the influx of non-European immigrants in recent decades has led to changes in this distinctive dialect.[163]

The traditional New York area accent is non-rhotic, so that the sound [ɹ] does not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant; hence the pronunciation of the city name as "New Yawk."[163] There is no [ɹ] in words like park [pɑək] or [pɒək] (with vowel backed and diphthongized due to the low-back chain shift), butter [bʌɾə], or here [hiə]. In another feature called the low back chain shift, the [ɔ] vowel sound of words like talk, law, cross, chocolate, and coffee and the often homophonous [ɔr] in core and more are tensed and usually raised more than in General American.

In the most old-fashioned and extreme versions of the New York dialect, the vowel sounds of words like "girl" and of words like "oil" become a diphthong [ɜɪ]. This is often misperceived by speakers of other accents as a reversal of the er and oy sounds, so that girl is pronounced "goil" and oil is pronounced "erl"; this leads to the caricature of New Yorkers saying things like "Joizey" (Jersey), "Toidy-Toid Street" (33rd St.) and "terlet" (toilet).[163] The character Archie Bunker from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family was a good example of a speaker who had this feature. This speech pattern is no longer prevalent.[163]


The new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, home to the New York Yankees since 2009
Citi Field in Queens, home to the New York Mets since 2009

There have been thirty-five Major League Baseball World Series won by New York teams. It is one of only five metro areas (Chicago, Washington-Baltimore, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area being the others) to have two baseball teams. Additionally, there have been fourteen World Series played exclusively by New York City teams, most recently in 2000, far more than any other metropolitan area that has had baseball teams in both the American League and National League. The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, who compete in six games every regular season called the Subway Series. The Yankees have won a record 27 championships, while the Mets have won the World Series twice. The city also was once home to the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two minor league baseball teams in the city, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones.

The New York Marathon is the largest marathon in the world.[164]
The US Open Tennis Championships are held every August and September in Flushing Meadows, Queens.

The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Jets and New York Giants (officially the New York Football Giants), although both teams play their home games at New Meadowlands Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey. The stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League. Within the metropolitan area are two other NHL franchises, the New Jersey Devils, who play in nearby Newark, New Jersey and appeal mostly to the fans of Northern and Central New Jersey, and the New York Islanders, who play in Nassau County, Long Island and draw the majority of their fans from Nassau and Suffolk Counties. This is the only instance of a single metropolitan area having three teams within one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

The city's National Basketball Association team is the New York Knicks and the city's Women's National Basketball Association team is the New York Liberty. Also within the metropolitan area are the New Jersey Nets, who currently share the Prudential Center in Newark with the Devils, but will be moving to Brooklyn's Barclays Center when it is complete in 2012 and thereafter be known as the Brooklyn Nets. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.[165] Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many professional athletes play in the summer league.

In soccer, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls play their home games at Red Bull Arena in nearby Harrison, New Jersey.

Queens is host of the U.S. Tennis Open, one of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments. The New York Marathon is one of the world's largest, and the 2004–2006 events hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006.[164] The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.

Many sports are associated with New York's immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in working class Italian, German, and Irish neighborhoods in the 1930s. A street in The Bronx has been renamed Stickball Blvd, as tribute to New York's most known street sport.[166]


Top publicly traded companies
in New York City for 2010
(ranked by revenues)
with State and U.S. ranks
NYC corporation US
1 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. 13
2 Citigroup 14
3 Verizon Communications 16
4 American International Group 17
5 Pfizer 31
6 MetLife 46
7 INTL FCStone 51
8 Goldman Sachs Group 54
9 Morgan Stanley 63
10 New York Life Insurance 71
11 Hess 79
12 News Corporation 83
Source: Fortune[167]
Financial services

New York is a global hub of international business and commerce and is one of three "command centers" for the world economy (along with London and Tokyo).[168] The city is a major center for banking and finance, retailing, world trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, insurance, new media as well as traditional media, theater, fashion, and the arts in the United States.

The New York metropolitan area had approximately gross metropolitan product of $1.28 trillion in 2010,[169] making it the largest regional economy in the United States and, according to IT Week, the second largest city economy in the world.[170] According to Cinco Dias, New York controlled 40% of the world's finances by the end of 2008, making it the largest financial center in the world.[171][172][173]

Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City, including 45 Fortune 500 companies.[174] New York is also unique among American cities for its large number of foreign corporations. One out of ten private sector jobs in the city is with a foreign company.[175]

Manhattan had 353.7 million square feet (32,860,000 m²) of office space in 2001.[176]

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies.[177]

Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States. Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States and is home to The New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, representing the world's first and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured by average daily trading volume and overall market capitalization.[178] Financial services account for more than 35% of the city's employment income.[179]

Real estate is a major force in the city's economy, as the total value of all New York City property was $802.4 billion in 2006.[180] The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at $1.1 billion in 2006.[180] New York City is home to some of the nation's—and the world's—most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for $510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.[181]

The city's television and film industry is the second largest in the country after Hollywood.[182] Creative industries such as new media, advertising, fashion, design and architecture account for a growing share of employment, with New York City possessing a strong competitive advantage in these industries.[183]

High-tech industries like biotechnology, software development, game design, and internet services are also growing, bolstered by the city's position at the terminus of several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines.[184] Other important sectors include medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities.

Manufacturing accounts for a large but declining share of employment. Garments, chemicals, metal products, processed foods, and furniture are some of the principal products.[185] The food-processing industry is the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city.[186] Food making is a $5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents. Chocolate is New York City's leading specialty-food export, with $234 million worth of exports each year.[186]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1698 4,937
1712 5,840 +18.3%
1723 7,248 +24.1%
1737 10,664 +47.1%
1746 11,717 +9.9%
1756 13,046 +11.3%
1771 21,863 +67.6%
1790 49,401 +126.0%
1800 79,216 +60.4%
1810 119,734 +51.1%
1820 152,056 +27.0%
1830 242,278 +59.3%
1840 391,114 +61.4%
1850 696,115 +78.0%
1860 1,174,779 +68.8%
1870 1,478,103 +25.8%
1880 1,911,698 +29.3%
1890 2,507,414 +31.2%
1900 3,437,202 +37.1%
1910 4,766,883 +38.7%
1920 5,620,048 +17.9%
1930 6,930,446 +23.3%
1940 7,454,995 +7.6%
1950 7,891,957 +5.9%
1960 7,781,984 −1.4%
1970 7,894,862 +1.5%
1980 7,071,639 −10.4%
1990 7,322,564 +3.5%
2000 8,008,288 +9.4%
2010 8,175,133 +2.1%
Note: Census figures (1790–2010) cover the present area of all five boroughs, before and after the 1898 consolidation. For New York City itself before annexing part of the Bronx in 1874, see Manhattan#Demographics.[188] Sources: 1698–1771,[189] 1790–1890,[188][190] 1900–1990,[191] 2000 and 2010 Census.[128][192]

New York is the most populous city in the United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population stood at a record high of 8,175,133, a 2.1% increase from the 8 million counted in 2000. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg immediately challenged the Census Bureau’s 2010 data as representing an undercount upon release.[193] This amounts to about 40% of the state of New York's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. In 2006, demographers estimated that New York's population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.[194] The city's population in 2010 was 33% white (non-Hispanic), 23% black (non-Hispanic), and 13% Asian. Hispanics of any race represented 29% of the population, while Asians constituted the fastest growing segment of the city's population between 2000 and 2010; the non-Hispanic white population declined 3 percent, the smallest recorded decline in decades; and for the first time since the Civil War, the number of blacks declined over a decade.[193]

Manhattan's Little Italy, Lower East Side, circa 1900

Two demographic points are New York City's density and ethnic diversity. In 2010, the city had a population density of 27,532 people per square mile (10,630/km²), rendering it the most densely populated of all municipalities with over 100,000 population in the United States; however, several small cities in adjacent Hudson County, New Jersey are actually more dense overall, as per the 2000 Census.[195] Geographically co-extensive with New York County, conversely, the borough of Manhattan's population density of 66,940 people per square mile[196] (25,846/km²) makes it the highest of any county in the United States[197] and higher than the density of any individual American city.

New York City's population is exceptionally diverse.[198] Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants; more than 12 million European immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924.[199] The term "melting pot" was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. By 1900, Germans constituted the largest immigrant group, followed by the Irish, Jews, and Italians.[200]

Approximately 36% of the city's population is foreign-born.[201] Among American cities, this proportion is higher only in Los Angeles and Miami.[202] While the immigrant communities in those cities are dominated by a few nationalities, in New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest sources of foreign-born individuals in the metropolitan area are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Mexico, India, Ecuador, Italy, Haiti, Colombia, and Guyana.[203] The New York region continues to be the leading metropolitan gateway for legal immigrants admitted into the United States.[204]

Manhattan Chinatown

The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.[205] It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian Americans and 15% of all Korean Americans;[206][207] the largest African American community of any city in the country; and including 6 Chinatowns in the city proper,[208] comprised as of 2008 a population of 659,596 overseas Chinese,[209] the largest outside of Asia. New York City alone, according to the 2010 Census, has now become home to more than one million Asian Americans, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles.[210] New York contains the highest total Asian population of any U.S. city proper.[211] 6.0% of New York City is of Chinese ethnicity, with about forty percent of them living in the borough of Queens alone. Koreans make up 1.2% of the city's population, and Japanese at 0.3%. Filipinos are the largest southeast Asian ethnic group at 0.8%, followed by Vietnamese who make up only 0.2% of New York City's population. Indians are the largest South Asian group, comprising 2.4% of the city's population, and Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.[212]

There are also substantial Puerto Rican and Dominican populations. Another significant ethnic group is Italians, who emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century, mainly from Sicily and other parts of southern Italy. The Irish also have a notable presence; one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carries a distinctive genetic signature on his Y chromosome inherited from the clan of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king of the fifth century A.D.[213] or from one of the related clans of Uí Briúin and Uí Fiachrach.[214]

The metropolitan area is home to a self-identifying gay and bisexual community estimated at 568,903 individuals, the largest in the United States.[215] Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011 and were authorized to take place beginning 30 days thereafter.[216]

New York City has a high degree of income disparity. In 2005 the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320.[217] The disparity is driven by wage growth in high income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest and fastest growing among the largest counties in the United States.[218] The borough is also experiencing a baby boom that is unique among American cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.[219]

Law and government

The Manhattan Municipal Building is home to many city agencies.

Since its consolidation in 1898, New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The government of New York is more centralized than that of most other U.S. cities. In New York City, the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The mayor and councillors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries.[220] The mayor and councilors are limited to three consecutive four-year terms but can run again after a four year break.

The present mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, former Republican (2001–2008), and current political independent elected on the Republican and Independence Party tickets against opponents supported by the Democratic and Working Families Parties in 2001 (50.3% of the vote to 47.9%), 2005 (58.4% to 39%) and 2009 (50.6% to 46%).[221] Bloomberg is known for taking control of the city's education system from the state, rezoning and economic development, sound fiscal management, and aggressive public health policy. In his second term he has made school reform, poverty reduction, and strict gun control central priorities of his administration.[222] Together with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, in 2006 he founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization with the goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets."[223] The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of November 2008, 67% of registered voters in the city are Democrats.[224] New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since 1924. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.

New York City Hall is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions.

New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry.[225] The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). The city also sends an additional $11 billion more each year to the state of New York than it receives back.[226]

Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the New York Supreme Court and hosts other state and city courts. Manhattan also hosts the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, while Brooklyn hosts the Appellate Division, Second Department. Federal courts located near City Hall include the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Court of International Trade. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

City planning

Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s.[227] The city's high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion US gallons (6,800,000 m3) of oil in 2006; New York City saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide.[228] The city's population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States.[229] Its greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5.[230] New Yorkers are collectively responsible for 1% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions[230] though they comprise 2.7% of the nation's population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.[231]

As of July 2010 the city had 3,715 hybrid taxis in service, the largest number in any city in North America.

In recent years, the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York has led to a high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents.[232] The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing.[233] New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country,[234] and also, by mid 2010 the city had 3,715 hybrid taxis and other clean diesel vehicles, representing around 28% of New York's taxi fleet in service, the most in any city in North America.[235]

The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.[115]

The city is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed.[236] As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants.[237]

New York is the only US city in which a majority (52%) of households do not have a car; only 22% of Manhattanites own a car.[238]


Since 2005 the city has had the lowest crime rate among the 25 largest U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1980s[239] and early 1990s from the crack epidemic that affected many neighborhoods. By 2002, New York City had about the same crime rate as Provo, Utah and was ranked 197th in crime among the 216 U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000. Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% from 1993 to 2005 and continued decreasing during periods when the nation as a whole saw increases.[240] In 2005 the homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1966,[241] and in 2007 the city recorded fewer than 500 homicides for the first time ever since crime statistics were first published in 1963.[242] 95.1% of all murder victims and 95.9% of all shooting victims in New York City are black or Hispanic. And 90.2 percent of those arrested for murder and 96.7 percent of those arrested for shooting someone are black or Hispanic.[243]

Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on what explains the dramatic decrease in the city's crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the New York City Police Department,[244] including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory.[245] Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes.[246]

Organized crime has long been associated with New York City, beginning with the Forty Thieves and the Roach Guards in the Five Points in the 1820s. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia dominated by the Five Families and they are still the largest and most powerful criminal organization in the city.[247] Gangs including the Black Spades also grew in the late 20th century.[248] As early as 1850, New York City recorded more than 200 gang wars fought largely by youth gangs.[249] The most prominent gangs in New York City today are the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and MS-13.[250]


Columbia University's Low Memorial Library

The city's public school system, managed by the New York City Department of Education, is the largest in the United States. About 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate primary and secondary schools.[251] Charter schools, which are partly publicly funded, include Harlem Success Academy and Girls Prep. There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city.[252] Though it is not often thought of as a college town, there are about 594,000 university students in New York City, the highest number of any city in the United States.[253] In 2005, three out of five Manhattan residents were college graduates and one out of four had advanced degrees, forming one of the highest concentrations of highly educated people in any American city.[254]

New York City is home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University, The New School, Pace University, and Yeshiva University. The public City University of New York system is one of the largest universities in the nation, and includes a number of undergraduate colleges and associate degree community colleges, with options in each borough. The city has dozens of other smaller private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. John's University, The Juilliard School, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, and The School of Visual Arts.

Fordham University's Keating Hall in The Bronx

Much of the scientific research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. New York City has the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, 40,000 licensed physicians, and 127 Nobel laureates with roots in local institutions.[255] The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities.[256] Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.

The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country, serves Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.[257] The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, which is the nation's second largest public library system. The Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn.[257]


New York City is home to the two busiest rail stations in the US, including Grand Central Terminal
The George Washington Bridge, connecting Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan across the Hudson River to Fort Lee, Bergen County, New Jersey, is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge.[258]
The TWA Flight Center Building at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Mass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, is the most complex and extensive in North America. About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York and its suburbs.[259][260] The iconic New York City Subway system is the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, while Grand Central Terminal, also popularly referred to as "Grand Central Station", is the world's largest railway station by number of platforms. New York's airspace is one of the world's busiest air transportation corridors. The George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Bergen County, New Jersey, is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge.[261][262]

Public transit is popular in New York City. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit.[263] This is in contrast to the rest of the United States, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace.[264] According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes a day getting to work, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities.[265]

The New York City Subway is the world's largest mass transit system by number of stations.

New York City is served by Amtrak, which uses Pennsylvania Station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor and long-distance train service to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.[266]

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by stations in operation, with 468. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.5 billion passenger trips in 2006).[259] New York's subway is also notable because nearly all the system remains open 24 hours a day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including London, Paris, Montreal, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo. The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America,[267] the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel,[268] more than 12,000 yellow cabs,[269] an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, and a ferry system connecting Manhattan to various locales within and outside the city. The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry, which annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson ("PATH" train) links Midtown and Lower Manhattan to northeastern New Jersey, primarily Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark. Like the New York City Subway, the PATH operates 24 hours a day; meaning two of the four rapid transit systems in the world which operate on 24-hour schedules are wholly or partly in New York (the others are a portion of the Chicago "L" and the PATCO Speedline serving Philadelphia).

New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America.[259] The rail network, connecting the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.[259][270]

New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States.[271] The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans to expand a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, New York, by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which administers the other three airports and took over control of Stewart in 2007), as a "reliever" airport to help cope with increasing passenger volume. 100 million travelers used the three airports in 2005 and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation.[272] Outbound international travel from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004.[273] JFK Airport is the largest hub for JetBlue. It is the fourth largest hub for American Airlines and is the sixth largest hub for Delta Air Lines. Newark Airport will be the third largest hub for United Airlines once they complete their merger with Continental Airlines. This will make United Airlines the largest airline in the New York market.

New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists[274] and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States.[227] Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%.[275] In 2011, Walk Score named it the most walkable city in the United States.[276][277]

To complement New York's vast mass transit network, the city also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, that link New York City to Northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwest Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of suburban residents who commute into New York, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour.[262]

Despite New York's reliance on public transit, roads are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street and Madison Avenue are also used as metonyms for national industries located there: the theater, finance, and advertising organizations, respectively.

Sister cities

New York City has ten historic sister cities. The Sister City Program of the City of New York was restructured and renamed New York City Global Partners, Inc. in 2006 with the aim of expanding the City’s interaction with foreign cities while maintaining its historic ten sister city relationships.:[278]

City Geographical location Nation Since
Tokyo Kantō region (Honshū island)  Japan 1960
Beijing Bohai Economic Rim, North China  China[279] 1980
Cairo Cairo Governorate  Egypt 1982
Madrid Community of Madrid  Spain[280] 1982
Santo Domingo National District  Dominican Republic 1983
Budapest Central Hungary  Hungary 1992
Rome Lazio (Latium)  Italy 1992
Jerusalem Jerusalem District  Israel 1993
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv District  Israel 1996
London England  United Kingdom 2001
Johannesburg Gauteng Province[281]  South Africa 2003

Like New York, all except Beijing are the most populous cities of their respective nations,[282] but unlike New York, all but Johannesburg also serve as de facto or de jure national political capitals. New York and her sister cities are all major economic centers, but few of the sister cities share New York's status as a major seaport.[283]


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