New York is the largest American city. The population of the central area is about 7 million, while the population of the whole metropolitan area amounts to nearly 18 million. The city lies on the eastern coast at the mouth of the River Hudson and the East River. It spreads both on the shore an on adjacent island and consists of 5 parts called boroughs:
Manhattan (on the island of the same name)
Brooklyn (both Bronx and Brooklyn are on the mainland)
Queens (on Long Islands)
Richmond (on Staten Island)
The oldest part of New York is Manhattan. This island between the East River and the Hudson River originally belonged to Indians (its name meant “heavenly land” in an old Indian language). In 1625 the Dutch b ought it for goods worth 25 dollars and the Dutch settlement was given the name New Amsterdam. In 1644 the British captured the town and renamed it New York. Thank to its favorable position it soon became an important trading port. Today the city is often called Big Apple.
Manhattan was built on a grid plan of streets and avenues. Streets run east-west and avenues north-south. They don’t have names but numbers. The famous avenue is 5th avenue with elegant residences and fine shops. The area east of the 5th avenue is called East Side, while the area west of the avenue is called West Side. Some streets are avenues have names, not numbers, e.g. Wall Street. It’s in the south of Manhattan, where a wall protecting colonists from Indian used to stand. |This part of Manhattan is the centre of financial life. It is here that the world’s most important stock exchange is situated. Another famous street with a name is Broadway, the world-known centre of theatre life.
Manhattan is also famous for its skyscrapers. The first skyscrapers were built in the beginning of the century. The reason was the lack of space and the high price of land on the island. One of the most famous skyscrapers is the Empire State building with a T.V. tower and a restaurant at the top. For a long time it was the highest building not only in New York is the World Trade Centre. While American highest skyscraper is in Chicago – The Sears Tower.
A skyscraper is an interesting phenomenon – it’s a small town in one building. There are flats, offices, car parks, restaurants, shops, fitness centers etc. Some skyscrapers have become a tourist’s attraction; too speedy lifts take visitors to the top. Such a trip affords them a bird’s eye view of the city. Rockefeller Centre, Trump Tower, Chrysler Building are among the best-known.
Manhattan, however, is not only skyscrapers, banks, luxurious hotels, theatres and museums. Manhattan is a borough of many faces. Greenwich is the home of artists, writers and N.Y.U.students. In East Village you can find many ethnic restaurants, rock and jazz clubs. Other characteristic parts of Manhattan are Chinatown, Soho and also Harlem – a black quarter known for its slums. Manhattan is also 42nd street with its drug addicts and Bowery with its alcoholics. ´
In short, Manhattan is a borough of extremes and so is New York as a whole. Here you can find astonishing richness and shocking poverty, you can meet multimillionaires and homeless people who carry all their property in two bags, you can come across brilliant scientists and a lot of illiterates, puritans and gangsters.
The “average” New Yorker, if any, can be found in Brooklyn. It was founded by the immigrants in the 19th century and individual minorities still tend to live in close-knit communities. So there are Italian, Irish, Jewish, and other quarters. Although Brooklyn is a city with the population more than 2 million, it looks like a provincial town. It has no centre and most people live in two-storied brick houses that are far from along externally, but provide quite comfortable middle-class housing. Of course I like in each New York, borough, there are bad and good quarters in Brooklyn too, bad meaning mainly poor and dangerous.
The most horrific face of New York can be seen in the southern part of Bronx with its long streets of deserted, sometimes burned out or demolished block. Some forty years ago there were lively quarters here inhabited mainly by soon and were replaced by poorer tenants. This process was repeated several times and finally the flats became so dilapidated, that even people living on the welfare (on the dole) refused to live there. The ruins became the refuge of the dregs of society. Tourists are recommended to avoid these places not only at night, but also at daytime.
New York underground hasn’t a very good reputation either. It’s old, dark, dirty, crowded at rush hours and dangerous at night. Nevertheless it’s reliable means of public transport. It works 24 hours a day. Of course, a far more pleasant way of traveling in New York is in a well-known yellow taxi, called cab in American English.
New York is a wonderful city to visit especially if you are interested in fine arts, opera, theatre and fashion. The Museum of Modern Arts, The Metropolitan Opera and theatres in Broadway have become New York’s symbols. But the most prominent symbol of New York and of America general is the Statue of Liberty. It stands on the Isle of Liberty near New York port. It’s the tallest bronze statue in the world (/50 meters high). It’s a symbol of freedom – a figure of a woman with a torch in her right hand and the Declaration of Independence in her left hand, with a tiara on her head and broken chains of tyranny and slavery at her feet. The statue welcomed immigrants arriving in the USA by sea as a symbol of new hopes. It also symbolized friendship between the peoples of France and USA.