New York, New York

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This article is about the U.S. city. For other uses of the term New York, please see New York (disambiguation).
The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom throughout the world, and is one of the best known symbols of New York City

New York City is the largest city in the United States of America. It is located in New York state east of the Hudson River's mouth. The wider metropolitan area (including portions in New Jersey) has about 20 million people and is the largest urban area in the United States and one of the larger ones in the world[1]. However, it is not the capital city of the state--Albany, New York, 2.5 hours north, is.

New York City is home to one of the twelve district Federal Reserve System banks and is a world center of commerce, business, and culture, as well as one of the world's financial hubs. The New York Stock Exchange (Wall Street) and the NASDAQ are the world's first and second largest stock exchanges.

New York saw 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. through Ellis Island; making the city a cosmopolitan metropolis. New York has always been a melting pot, and it has large groups of Americans with Jewish, Irish, German, Italian or Hispanic descent. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36 percent of its population was foreign born.[2]


The region was inhabited by the Lenape people at the time of the arrival of the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. Verrazzano called the settlement "Nouvelle Angoulême".[3] The Dutch founded the first European settlement in 1614, called "New Amsterdam," on the southern tip of Manhattan. Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Canarsie in 1626.[4] In 1664, the British conquered the city and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany.[5]

The first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated at Federal Hall on Wall Street. The Federal Hall is now dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers

New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. In 1754, King's College (later Columbia University) was founded under charter by King George II. It was located in Lower Manhattan.[6] The city emerged as the theater for a series of major battles known as the New York Campaign during the American Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress met in New York City and in 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated at Federal Hall on Wall Street.[7] New York City was the capital of the United States until 1790.

During the 19th century, the city was transformed by immigration. A visionary development proposal, called the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan. With the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal, New York was connected to the vast agricultural markets of the North American interior.[8][9] By 1835, New York City had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States. Local politics fell under the domination of Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish immigrants.[10] Public-minded members of the old merchant aristocracy pressed for Central Park, which became the first landscaped park in an American city in 1857.

Anger at military conscription during the American Civil War led to draft riots in 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.[11] In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then an independent city), Manhattan, Queens, Richmond, and the Bronx.[12] The opening of the New York City Subway in 1904 connected the different neighborhoods of the city and spurred development in uptown Manhattan. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for art, industry, commerce, and communication. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city's worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.[13]

Bohemian cigarmakers at work in their crowded tenement. Large amounts of European immigrants moved to New York in the second half of the nineteenth century, and living conditions were often poor

In the 1920s, New York City was a major 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 City became the most populous city in the world in 1925, overtaking London, which had reigned for a century. 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.[14]

After World War II, returning veterans and immigrants from Europe created a postwar economic boom and the development of huge housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed and the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's ascendance as the world's dominant economic power, the United Nations headquarters (built in 1952) emphasizing New York's political influence, and the rise of Abstract Expressionism in the city precipitating New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.[15] Yet like many large American cities, New York suffered a decline in manufacturing and rising crime rates, race riots, and white flight in the 1960s. By the 1970s, the city had gained a reputation as a crime-ridden relic of history.

In the 1980s, a resurgence in the financial industry improved the city's fiscal health. By the 1990s, racial tensions had calmed, crime rates dropped dramatically, and waves of new immigrants arrived from Asia and Latin America. New York's economy was revitalized, and New York's population reached an all-time high in the 2000 census.

The city was one of the sites of the 9-11 Attack. Nearly 3,000 people died in the destruction of the World Trade Center. The Freedom Tower is being built on the site.[16] It is scheduled for completion in 2013.


The East River separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. Downtown Manhattan to the left, Brooklyn to the right.

New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately half way between Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts.[17] 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. Most of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and western 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 a tidal estuary.[18] The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River, actually 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 Manhattan from the Bronx.

The city's land has been altered considerably by human intervention, with substantial land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most notable in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s.[19] Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, particularly in Manhattan.[20]

The city's land area is 321 mi² (831.4 km²).[21] The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which at 409.8 ft (124.9 m) above sea level is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine.[22] The summit of the ridge is largely covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.[23]


Skiing in Central Park. A record snowfall buried New York City in February 2006.

Although located at about the same latitude as the much warmer European cities of Naples and Madrid, New York has a humid continental climate resulting from prevailing wind patterns that bring cool air from the interior of the North American continent.[24] The city's coastal position keeps temperatures relatively warmer than 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.[24] New York City has a frost-free period lasting an average of 199 days between seasonal freezes.[24] Spring and Fall in New York City are erratic, and can range from cold and snowy to hot and humid, although they can also be cold or cool and rainy. Summer in New York City is very warm and humid, with temperatures of 90°F (32°C) or higher recorded on average 18 to 25 days each summer.[24] The city's longterm climate patterns have been 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.[25] Many scientists believe, however, that global warming will change this pattern.[26]


The Hearst Tower is the first green building completed in New York City.

Environmental concerns in the city involve managing its extraordinary population density. Mass transit use is the highest in the nation and gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s.[27] New York City's dense population and low automobile dependence help make New York among the most energy efficient in the United States.[28]

The city's greenhouse gas emission levels are relatively low when measured per capita, at 7.1 metric tons per person, below San Francisco, at 11.2 metric tons, and the national average, at 24.5.[29] New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions,[29] though 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, Texas.[30]

Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York City lead to high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents.[31] In recent years the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing.[32] New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.[33]

New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed.[34] As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration process, New York is one of only five major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants.[35][36]



The Woolworth Building is one of the most famous skyscrapers in New York City.

The building form most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, a pioneering urban form that saw city building shift from the low-scale European tradition to the vertical rise of business districts. Surrounded mostly by water, New York's residential density and high real estate values in commercial districts saw the city amass the largest collection of individual, free-standing office and residential towers in the world.[37]

New York has architecturally significant buildings in a wide range of styles. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing able to be read from street level several hundred feet below. 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.[38] The Art Deco design of the Chrysler Building (1930), with its tapered top and steel spire, reflected the zoning requirements. The building is considered by many historians and architects to be New York's finest building, with its distinctive ornamentation such as replicas at the corners of the 61st floor of the 1928 Chrysler eagle hood ornaments and V-shaped lighting inserts capped by a steel spire at the tower's crown.[39] A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its facade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is an important example of green design in American skyscrapers.[33]

The character of New York's large residential districts is often defined by the elegant brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and tenements that were built during a period of rapid expansion from 1870 to 1930.[40] 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.[41][42] Unlike Paris, which for centuries was built from its own limestone bedrock, New York has always drawn its building stone from a far-flung network of quarries and its stone buildings have a variety of textures and hues.[43] A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the presence of 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 burst municipal water pipes.[44] Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, including Jackson Heights in Queens, which became more accessible with expansion of the subway.[45]


The five boroughs: 1: Manhattan, 2: Brooklyn, 3: Queens, 4: Bronx, 5: Staten Island
Map by Julius Schorzman

New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government used to administer the five constituent counties that make up the city.[46] 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.

  • The Bronx (Bronx County; pop. 1,364,566)[47] is the northernmost borough of New York City. The site of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City.[48] Except for a small piece of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (107.2 hectares) and is home to over 6,000 animals.[49] The Bronx is the birthplace of hip hop.[50]
  • Brooklyn (Kings County; pop. 2,511,408)[47] 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 unique architectural heritage. The borough also features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.[51]
  • Queens (Queens County; pop. 2,256,576)[47] is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States.[52] Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch colonists, the borough today is mainly residential and middle class. It is the only large county in the United States where the median income among black households, about $52,000 a year, has surpassed that of whites.[53] The borough hosted the New York World's Fairs of 1939-1940 and 1964-1965. Queens is the site of the New York Mets' home since 2009, Citi Field, as well as their former home, Shea Stadium, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. It is also the home to New York City's two major airports, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, interior view.

The writer Tom Wolfe once said of New York that "Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather." Numerous major American cultural movements began in the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance, which established the African-American literary canon in the United States. The city was the epicenter of jazz in the 1940s, abstract expressionism in the 1950s, and the birthplace of hip hop in the 1970s. The city's punk rock scene was influential in the 1970s and 1980s, and the city has long had a flourishing scene for Jewish-American literature. The city is also important in the American film industry. Manhatta (1920), the nation's first avante-garde film, was filmed in the city.[55] Most of the film industry moved to Hollywood in the 1910s, but New York City is still the second largest center for the American film industry.

The city has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts.[56] 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 showcasing a new stage form that came to be 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 mainstay of the New York theater scene. The city's 39 largest theaters (with more than 500 seats) are collectively known as "Broadway", after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square theater district.[57]

Times Square is in the center of New York City's theater district.

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, The Juilliard School, and Alice Tully Hall, is the largest performing arts center in the United States. Summerstage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park and 1,200 free concerts, dance, and theater events across all five boroughs in the summer months.[58]


The Rockefeller Center and its Christmas tree are popular tourist attractions in New York City.

About 40 million foreign and American tourists visit New York City each year.[59] Major destinations include the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Broadway theatre productions, museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other tourist attractions including Central Park, Washington Square Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues, and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, the Tribeca Film Festival, and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage. The Statue of Liberty is a major tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the United States.[60] Many of the city's ethnic enclaves, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, and Brighton Beach are major shopping destinations for first and second generation Americans up and down the East Coast.

New York City has over 28,000 acres (113 km²) of parkland and 14 miles (22 km) of public beaches.[61][62] Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States.[63] Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90 acre (36 Hectare) meadow.[64] Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and 1964 World's Fair.

New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Jewish and Italian immigrants made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake and New York style pizza. 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 contemporary New York street food.[65] The city is also home to many of the finest haute cuisine restaurants in the United States.[66]


New York is a global center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in the United States. Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks are headquartered in New York. Three of the "Big Four" record labels are also based in the city. One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York.[67] More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city[67] and book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people.[68]

Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Major tabloid newspapers in the city include The New York Daily News and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. The city also has a major ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages.[69] El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation.[70] The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African-American newspaper.

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 New York. 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.

New York is also a major center for non-commercial media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971.[71] WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary provider of national PBS programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States.[72] The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, NYCTV, that produces several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods, as well as city government.


The New York City area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It is often considered to be one of the most recognizable accents within American English.[73] 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.

One of the more notable features of this dialect is its "r-lessness". 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 as "New Yawk". There is no [ɹ] in words like park [pɔːk] (with vowel raised 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, 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 both become a diphthong [ɜɪ].


New York City has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues, each of which also has its headquarters in the city.

Baseball is the city's most closely followed sport. There have been fourteen World Series championship series between New York City teams, in matchups called Subway Series. The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, who enjoy a rivalry arguably as fierce as that between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. There are also two minor league baseball teams in the city, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones.

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 in Giants Stadium in nearby New Jersey.

The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League, playing in the Madison Square Garden.

The city's National Basketball Association team is the New York Knicks. The first national college-level basketball championship was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.[74] Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many professional athletes play in the summer league.

As a global city, New York supports many events outside these sports. These include the U.S. Tennis Open, the New York City Marathon and the Millrose Games, an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a very prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year. The New York City Marathon is the world's largest, and the 2004-2006 runnings hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006.[75]

Many sports are associated with New York's immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in working class Puerto Rican, Italian, and Irish neighborhoods in the 1930s. In recent years several amateur cricket leagues have emerged with the arrival of immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean.


The New York Stock Exchange, usually called "Wall Street."

New York City 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).[76] The city is a major center for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts in the United States. The New York metropolitan area had an estimated gross metropolitan product of $952.6 billion in 2005, the largest regional economy in the United States. The city's economy accounts for the majority of the economic activity in the states of New York and New Jersey.[77] Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City, including 44 Fortune 500 companies.[78] 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.[79]

New York City is home to some of the nation's — and world's — most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for $510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($148/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($137/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.[80]

New York City hosts a considerable food-processing industry. The picture shows the former factory of Domino Foods in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ are the world's first and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured by average daily trading volume and overall market capitalization.[81] Financial services account for more than 35 percent of the city's employment income.[82] 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.[83] The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at $1.1 billion in 2006.[83]

The city's television and film industry is the second largest in the country after Hollywood.[84] 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.[85] High-tech industries like bioscience, software development, game design, and Internet services are also growing due to its position at the terminus of the transatlantic fiber optic trunk line in New York City.[86] 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.[87] The food-processing industry is the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city.[88] Food making is a $5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents, many of them immigrants who speak little English. Chocolate is New York City's leading specialty-food export, with $234 million worth of exports each year.[88]


New York City Compared
2000 Census NY City NY State U.S.
Total population 8,213,839[47] 18,976,457 281,421,906
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 +9.4% +5.5% +13.1%
Population density 26,403/mi² 402/mi² 80/mi²
Median household income (1999) $38,293 $43,393 $41,994
Bachelor's degree or higher 27% 27% 29%
Foreign born 36% 20% 11%
White (non-Hispanic) 37% 62% 67%
Black 28% 16% 12%
Hispanic (any race) 27% 15% 11%
Asian 10% 6% 4%

New York is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 2005 population of 8,213,839 (up from 7.3 million in 1990).[47] This amounts to about 40% of New York State's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. Over the last decade the city has been growing rapidly and demographers estimate New York's population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.[89]

New York's two key demographic features are its density and diversity. The city's population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²), makes it the densest of any American municipality with a population above 100,000. Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²), highest of any county in the United States.[90][91]

New York City is exceptionally diverse. Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants; the term "melting pot" was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. 36% of the city's population is foreign-born. Among American cities, this proportion is higher only in Los Angeles and Miami. 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 countries of origin for modern immigration are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Pakistan, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and Russia.[92] About 170 languages are spoken in the city.[2]

The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel; Tel Aviv proper (non-metro/within municipal limits) has a smaller population than the Jewish population of New York City proper, making New York the largest Jewish community in the world. About 12% of New Yorkers are Jewish.[93] It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's South Asians,[94] and the largest African American community of any city in the country.

The five largest ethnic groups as of 2005 are Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans, and Chinese.[95] The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside of Puerto Rico.[96] Italian Americans emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century. The Irish, the sixth largest ethnic group in the city, also have a notable presence; one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes inherited from Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the fifth century A.D.[97]

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.[98] 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.[99] 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%.[100]


Michael Bloomberg has been mayor of New York City since 2002.

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.[101] The mayor and councilors are limited to two four-year terms.

The mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat and current independent elected as a Republican in 2001 and re-elected in 2005 with 59% of the vote.[102] He 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.[103] Together with Boston, Massachusetts 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."[104] The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. 66% of registered voters in the city are Democrats.[105] New York City has not been won 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.

The New York County Supreme Court building, located between Worth and Pearl Streets.

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 both George W. Bush and John Kerry.[106] The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. New York City 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.[107]

Located near City Hall are the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and each Borough has a branch of the New York Supreme Court and other New York State courts.

As the host of the United Nations, New York City is home to Permanent Missions from 191 of the U.N.'s 192 member nations [108]. It also hosts the world's largest international consular corps, comprising 122 consulates, consulates general and honorary consulate offices.[109]

Crime and safety

NYPD officers, Times Square

New York City is among the safest cities in the United States; out of 216 U.S. cities with populations of more than 100,000 in 2002, the city ranked 197th in overall crime.[110] Violent crime in New York city has dropped 75% in the last twelve years and the murder rate in 2005 was at its lowest level since 1963.[111] Crime rates spiked in the 1980s and early 1990s as the crack epidemic hit the city. During the 1990s the New York City Police Department (NYPD) adopted CompStat, "broken windows policing" and other strategies in a major effort to reduce crime. The city's dramatic drop in crime has been attributed by criminologists to these policing tactics, the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes.[112][113]

Organized crime has long been associated with New York City beginning in the early 19th century. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia. Gangs including the Black Spades also grew in the late 20th century.[114] Numerous major riots have occurred in New York City since the mid-1800s, including the Draft Riots in 1863, multiple riots at Tompkins Square Park, and in Harlem.[115] The serial killings by David Berkowitz (nicknamed "Son of Sam"), which began on July 29, 1976, terrorized the city for the next year.[116]


Columbia University is an Ivy League university, located in the Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights.

The city's public school system is the largest in the United States. About 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate primary and secondary schools.[117] There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city, including some of the most prestigious private schools in the United States.[118]

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.[119] 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.[120] Public postsecondary education is provided by the City University of New York, the nation's third-largest public university system, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, part of the State University of New York. New York City is also home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Berkeley College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, Manhattan College, The New School, New York Institute of Technology, New York University, Pace University, Polytechnic University, and St. John's University. The city has dozens of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as The Juilliard School.

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.[121] The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities.[122] Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, 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.[123] Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, which is the nation's second largest public library system, and Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn.[123] The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


Public transit is overwhelmingly the dominant form of travel for New Yorkers. The New York City Subway is one of the world's most extensive public transportation systems.

Public transit is overwhelmingly the dominant form of travel for New Yorkers.[124] 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.[125][126] This is in contrast to the rest of the country, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace.[124] New York is the only city in the United States where more than half of all households do not own a car (in Manhattan, more than 75% of residents do not own a car; nationally, the percentage is 8%).[124]

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by track with 660 miles (1,062 km ) of mainline track, and by number of stations in operation, with 468. It is also the fourth-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.4 billion passenger trips in 2005).[125] The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in North America,[127] as well as the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, and an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan.

New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America.[125] The rail network, which connects the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, has more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.[125][128][129] The commuter rail system converges at the two busiest rail stations in the United States, Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania (Penn) Station.[130][131]

New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States.[132] The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans for a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, NY, to be taken over and enlarged by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which administers the other three airports), 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.[133] Outbound international travel from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004.[134]

New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists[135] and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States.[27] It is well positioned to endure an oil crisis with an extended gasoline price shock in the range of US$3 to US$8 per gallon.[136] 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%.[137]


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