New York or New York City (officially The City of New York) is a city located at the southeastern tip of the state of New York. It is the most populous city in the United States of America and the third most populous metropolitan area in the world. New York City is one of the preeminent global economic centers, with its business, financial, legal, and media organizations having worldwide influence. New York is an important cultural center, with many museums, galleries, and performance venues. As the home of the United Nations, the city is a hub for international diplomacy. Residents of the city are known as New Yorkers.
New York City comprises five boroughs, each of which is coterminous with a county: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. With over 8.2 million residents within an area of 322 square miles (830ÃÂÃÂ kmÃÂÃÂ²), New York City is the most densely populated major city in North America. The New York metropolitan area, with a population of nearly 22 million (21,976,224), ranks among the largest urban areas in the world.
The city has many neighborhoods and landmarks known around the world. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building (standing 1,453 feet 8 9/16 inches from the base to the top of the lightning rod) and the former twin towers of the World Trade Center. The city is the birthplace of many American 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 along with the Tin Pan Alley in music. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36 percent of its population was foreign born. Because of areas like Times Square, New York has earned the nickname "The City that Never Sleeps".
The region was inhabited by about 5000ÃÂÃÂ Lenape Native Americans at the time of its European discovery in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in the service of the French crown, who called it "Nouvelle AngoulÃÂÃÂªme" (New AngoulÃÂÃÂªme). European settlement began with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement, later called "New Amsterdam," on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1614. Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Lenape in 1626 (legend, now disproved, says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads). In 1664, the British conquered the city and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany. At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch gained control of Run (island) (a much more valuable asset at the time) in exchange for the British controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. By 1700, the Lenape population was diminished to 200.
New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by King George II as King's College in Lower Manhattan. 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. 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 that expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan, and the 1819 opening of the Erie Canal, which connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the North American interior. 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. 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 (1861ÃÂÃÂ1865) led to the Draft Riots of 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history. In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then an independent city), Manhattan and municipalities in the other boroughs. The opening of the New York City 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. 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.
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.
Returning World War II 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. 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. 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. The Freedom Tower will be built on the site and is scheduled for completion in 2010.
New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately half way between Washington, D.C. and Boston. 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 a tidal estuary. 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. Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, particularly in Manhattan.
The city's land area is 322ÃÂÃÂ miÃÂÃÂ² (831.4ÃÂÃÂ kmÃÂÃÂ²). The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which at 409.8ÃÂÃÂ ft (124.9ÃÂÃÂ m) above sea level is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine. The summit of the ridge is largely covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.
Environmental concerns in the city involve managing the city's 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. New York City's dense population and low automobile dependence help make New York among the most energy efficient in the United States. 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. New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions,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.
Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York City lead to high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents. 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. 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.
New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. 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.