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Great American Cities – New York Posted by on Dec 24, 2014 in Travel

From the capital of Washington, D.C., we now head to what is perhaps the most famous city in all of the United States – New York.

Name: In 1664, when the Dutch surrendered the area to the English, the city was named New York after the Duke of York. It is officially named New York City to distinguish the city from the state as a whole. The city is actually composed of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

613px-New_York_City_District_Map

The 5 boroughs of NYC.

Location: The state of New York is in the northeastern United States, and the city can be found in the southeastern part of the state. Its location at the mouth of the Hudson River has helped NYC become a major trading hub. Most of the city has been built on three islands – Manhattan, Long Island, and Staten Island.

A view of Manhattan.

A view of Manhattan.

Nicknames: New York goes by many names. Often referred to simply as “The City” due to its status as the largest American city, it is also commonly called “NYC.” Some other famous nicknames of New York include “The Big Apple” and “The City That Never Sleeps.”

Year Founded: Many Europeans visited New York throughout the years, but the first attempt at settlement came in 1624 with the Dutch. In 1664, the British took over and changed the name to New York. The Dutch would briefly take over again, but the city returned to British control in 1674. After the US Constitution was ratified, New York became the first capital of the new nation until it was moved to Philadelphia in 1790. The first US President – George Washington – was inaugurated in New York on April 30, 1789.

Washington Square Park in NYC

Washington Square Park in NYC

Population: There are nearly 8.5 million people who call New York home, making it the most populous city in the United States. In fact, more people live in NYC than in the next two cities – LA and Chicago – combined. New York is often known as a “melting pot” for its diverse range of people. People from all corners of the world make up the population of New Yorkers.

Wall Street - world financial center.

Wall Street – world financial center.

Main Industries: With its famous Wall Street, NYC is considered the financial center of the world. It’s not all about stocks in New York, though, as the city is also a hub for international relations with the headquarters of the United Nations. In addition, health care, real estate, and insurance are all huge industries in the city. Mass media is also a big part of the New York economy, whether it be traditional print media or more modern digital forms.

Transportation: As the largest city in the country, New York has an extensive transportation network. This includes one of the largest subway systems in the world, so you can get just about anywhere underground. Getting in and out of the city is easy whether by air, train, bus, or car – just watch out for the notoriously bad NYC traffic. In the city, there are also tons of cabs, pedicabs, rickshaws, and even horse-drawn carriages. More and more people are choosing to go green by cycling in NYC, and there are now thousands of public bicycles available for rent. Another popular method of transportation is the free Staten Island ferry, which gives you great views of Manhattan.

State of Liberty

State of Liberty

Famous Places: New York has no shortage of famous places, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Perhaps the most iconic image of NYC is the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the US and symbol of the country. Other notable places include: the Empire State building, Times Square, Central Park, and Wall Street.

Central Park

Central Park

Times Square

Times Square

The National September 11 Memorial commemorates the victims of the terrorist attacks on New York, and the 1,776-feet tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in the country.

One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial

One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial

Culture: It can and has been argued that NYC is the cultural center of the world. From music, to art, to television, to theater, New York has got it all. The city is home to many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One word that is synonymous with New York is Broadway – the name of a famous street where grand theatrical performances are put on every night of the week. NYC also has a wide variety of concert venues, art galleries, and so much more.

Plenty of places to see a show in NYC.

Plenty of places to see a show in NYC.

You can’t talk about the culture of NYC without mentioning the food. Here, you can sample cuisines from all over the world. As far as local fare goes, New York is famous for its “dirty water dogs,” pizza, and countless delis where you can enjoy a great sandwich.

Corned beef sandwich in one of the city's many delis.

Corned beef sandwich in one of the city’s many delis.

Sports: New York has no shortage of sports teams. In fact, it has the most of any city in the United States. Here’s a list of the professional sports teams in NYC:

  • MLB – New York Yankees and New York Mets
  • NFL – New York Giants and New York Jets
  • NBA – New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets
  • NHL – New York Rangers and New York Islanders
  • MLS – New York Red Bulls

Travel Experience: I’ve made a few trips to the Big Apple throughout my life. Back in middle school, I went for the first time with my dad and sister. We did most of the touristy stuff, including heading to the top of the Empire State building to take in the views. I have since returned on three occasions, to visit family, see concerts, attend sporting events, or just to be a tourist. On my last trip to New York, I really enjoyed taking in the scenery from the High Line, an elevated park built on a disused section of the railroad.

The High Line in NYC.

The High Line in NYC.

Having a limited budget and having done most of the touristy things before, we simply enjoyed taking a few walks through some of the city’s historic neighborhoods. A trip on the Staten Island ferry also gave us great (and free) views of the city and the Statue of Liberty.

Walking through NYC's historic neighborhoods.

Walking through NYC’s historic neighborhoods.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Being a night owl, I loved going out and soaking up the nightlife of the city. From an amazing performance of “Book of Mormon” on Broadway to a concert on the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center), there’s so much to do in NYC at night that you’ll never go bored. No matter what you do in New York, you’re sure to have a memorable trip.

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.