NEW YORK CITY (NYC)
New York is the largest city in the USA and an industrial port (printing, publishing, clothing). It lies on the east coast at the mouth of the Hudson and the East Rivers and covers an area of 780 square kilometers. The number of inhabitants varies and depends whether the whole metropolitan area is counted (about 18 million people) or only the central area (about 7.3 million in 1992). Out of these about 43 per cent are white, 25 per cent black and 24 percent Hispanic. New York has five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island (formerly Richmond). All these boroughs are located near the point where the Hudson River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. NYC is one of the most important financial, commercial and cultural centers in the world.
It is quite impossible to say when the site of New York was first populated. What is known for sure is that in the 16th century the area was occupied by Algonquin tribes who lived by fishing, hunting and growing corn, squashes and beans. The only remaining trace of their existence is the name of the island of Manhattan. In 1524 the Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano was sent by the French king Francis I to try to find another route to Asia. On the way he discovered the bay and so became the discoverer of New York. Later one of the bridges (between Brooklyn and Staten Island) was named after him. Eighty years later the Englishman Henry Hudson, working for the Dutch East India Company, entered the bay and sailed up the river which bears his name today.
In 1624, the settlement New Amsterdam was established by the Dutch people in the south of the island of Manhattan. In 1626, the island was bought from the Canarsie Indians for goods worth 24 dollars and Walloon settlers came there. New Amsterdam was a small and prosperous town and with its windmills and brick houses it resembled its parent town Amsterdam.
Its prosperity was based on the sale of beaver skins, otter and other skins, as well as on tobacco farming. The inhabitants were mainly Dutch and English settlers, and also some Brazilian Jews. Before 1630 the first African slaves arrived in New Amsterdam.
In 1664 New Amsterdam became an English colony after a victorious struggle between England and the Netherlands for supremacy at sea. Charles II, the king of England, gave this territory to his brother, the Duke of York and that is why the town was renamed New York. The city expanded and trades diversified. Flour became one of colony's main exports.
In 1765 representatives from nine of the thirteen colonies met in New York to protest against the imposition of a stamp duty on commodities. Tradesmen played an important role in the struggle for independence by boycotting English products. In 1789, New York became the capital of the United States of America for two years and George Washington the first American president. The following year the seat of the federal government moved to Philadelphia. In 1797 Albany became the capital of the state of New York.
By 1800 New York had more than 60,000 inhabitants and during the next decades it became the busiest harbor in the country. By 1860 the city was the largest in the U.S.A. As the city grew, it became more cosmopolitan. People were free to choose their religion and their culture and language were respected. A great number of immigrants arrived, especially the Irish and the Germans.
A grid street plan was developed. In 1870s the first skyscrapers appeared in downtown Manhattan. Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge joined two important areas of the city and New York became the gateway to the New World. The Statue of Liberty, a French present to the U.S.A. in 1886, welcomed the immigrants arriving at the city. The population density increased so much that it was necessary to improve public transportation. Streetcars (dating from the beginning of the 20th century) and an elevated railway (built in 1867) were electrified between 1890 and 1905. A subway system was added in 1904.
A difficult era hit New York in the 1930s. October 24th 1929 was the day of the Wall Street Crash. On the other hand some major projects were completed at that time: the first bridge over the Hudson (The George Washington Bridge), the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building. Work on the Rockefeller Center started.
At the time of the World War II many intellectuals and artists, such as Albert Einstein and Marc Chagall, took refuge there from the Nazis. After the war New York became the seat of the newly created United Nations in 1953. Later some other famous buildings were added to Manhattan, e.g. the towers of the World Trade Center, Battery Park City etc. New York remains a financial and cultural capital of the country.
New York City is said to be an ethnic melting pot where people of different cultures meet. Each of the city's neighborhoods has its own character and life-style. Ethnic territories have been spread throughout Manhattan, from black and Spanish Harlem in the north to the various enclaves of the Lower East Side such as Little Italy and Chinatown. New York City has large numbers of Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans, Asians, and West Indians, as well as the largest Jewish population of any city in the world. This ethnic and racial mix is the result of the waves of immigration.
After arriving in New York, Italians, Jews, and Chinese immigrants first settled in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They settled in different neighborhoods preserving traditions of their homelands. The Italians, who made their homes in the part known today as "Little Italy", lived in crowded tenement housing. It was not rare to find ten to twelve people living in one room. Today, there are less than 5,000 Italians living in Little Italy, but the smells of the Italian bakeries and restaurants can still be found there.
Chinatown is New York's largest ethnic neighborhood with over 80,000 residents and growing rapidly. Hundreds of Chinese restaurants can be found here, most of which serve very good food. Chinatown started as a community of mainly male Chinese immigrants who had first emigrated from China to California in search of work. These immigrants sent back their wages to family members in China. Due to immigration laws, family members in China were prevented from joining their families in America. Chinatown was isolated.
Jewish immigrant presence was located in and around Orchard Street. It was here that the New York garment industry began. Considered a stepping-stone to a new life, Jewish immigrants often moved out of the Lower East Side more quickly than their ethnic neighbors. Many of the large Jewish synagogues found here were eventually abandoned; however, restoration is now in progress.
New York is also known as the "melting pot" because of its cosmopolitan society. In 1933 40 per cent of New Yorkers had one relative born abroad. Modern-day New York is home to more than one hundred religious denominations. Catholicism is the main religion, while the Jewish community is the largest outside Israel.
All kinds of languages and dialects are spoken in New York, due to trade and immigration waves. More than eighty languages are spoken in the city today. Spanish is the second most frequent language after English reflecting the high number of residents from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Various other languages are currently used in daily business transactions: Yiddish, Arabic, Bengali, Moroccan, Korean, etc. Different languages can also be heard in all the ethnic enclaves scattered around the city: Cantonese in Chinatown, Haitian Creole on the Upper West Side, Ukrainian and Polish in the East Village, Hungarian in Yorkville, Armenian in Murray Hill and Spanish in East Harlem.
First streets of New Amsterdam were laid out by the settlers along routes already used by people and livestock and all of them had names (Broadway, Wall Street, the Bowery). During the 18th century the city grew to such a big size that it was necessary to plan its further development. At the beginning of the 19th century the state governor appointed a commission to design a plan for Manhattan. The commission perfected the existing grid system which consists of rectangular streets and avenues. This system makes it easy for people to find what they look for from north to south and east to west.
There are nearly 200 streets running from the east to the west, 60 feet wide, with numbering starting in the south and 12 avenues running from the north to the south, 100 feet wide, with numbering starting in the east. These blocks were subdivided into plots of approximately the same size. The only exception in this plan of streets and avenues is Broadway that runs almost diagonally from the south to the north. Not many public squares and open spaces were planned because in the opinion of the town planners the vast expanses of water surrounding the city made them unnecessary. In the mid-19th century the town plan began to be criticized and that is why Central Park was designed by Frederic van Olmsted.
New York was a city of immigrants. First they settled in south-east Manhattan (today's the Lower East Side) and gradually the settlement spread up to the north. The immigrants formed self-sufficient communities such as Chinatown, Little Italy, the Jewish Neighborhood, the German Neighborhood in East Village, the Latin Quarter (the French Community) in South Village. Harlem, north Manhattan, is known as an African American neighborhood.
The first bridge joining Manhattan and Long Island (Brooklyn and Queens are situated here) was constructed in 1883 and it is called the Brooklyn Bridge. For twenty years this bridge remained the only link (apart from ferries) between Manhattan and Long Island. Then in the first decade of the 20th century three other bridges over the East River were built. The George Washington Bridge from 1931 remains the city's only bridge over the Hudson River. The Verrazano Bridge (1964) is built over the strait dividing Brooklyn from Staten Island at the mouth of the Upper Bay.
Skyscrapers are the typical phenomenon of all major American cities. They started to be built because of the lack of space and the high price of land in the city centers. The first skyscrapers in New York were built at the turn of the 20th century - Flatiron Building 1903, Citibank 1907, Woolworth Building 1913, the Chrysler Building 1930, the Empire State Building 1931. A skyscraper is a small city itself; it offers residential quarters, office spaces, parking plots, restaurants, shopping, cultural and sports facilities.
In the 18th century the main method of transportation were ferries taking passengers to and from Manhattan. The first ferry started running in 1712 and many other lines were opened during the steam era. The ferry system even works today because two of New Yorks boroughs are islands. 75,000 people use ferries every day.
There are also four underwater tunnels here, too. The first regular shipping line between New York and Liverpool was established in 1818 and since that time New York's harbor has become the second busiest in the world after Rotterdam.
The first horse-drawn buses appeared in the 1830s, but because they caused a lot of traffic jam in the streets, they were replaced by elevated railroads. The problem was solved by the subway system. The first lines were opened in 1904 by Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) which meant you could quickly get yourself from one neighborhood to another. At present it is the largest urban transportation system in the world - it has 710 miles of tracks, 469 stations and 5950 trains.
New York has three main airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (south-east of Manhattan), Newark International Airport (south-west of Manhattan) and La Guardia Airport (east of Manhattan).
The train connection to the center of New York is provided by trains running from two Manhattan railway stations: Grand Central Terminal (42nd St. and Park Ave. South) and the Pennsylvania Station (7th Ave and West 34th Street), built in 1910.
It is also possible to use a bus connection when one travels to New York. All "long distance" buses terminate at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (West 41st Street and 8th Ave). There are also local buses and 12,000 licensed yellow taxis in New York which are called cabs. Yellow taxis are a landmark of New York City and they can be seen especially in Manhattan. They were painted yellow in 1970 and their drivers are drawn mainly from the city's ethnic minorities.
New York City is also a center of world trade, finance and communications. The city is the financial capital of the United States and houses the headquarters of many of the worlïs largest corporations. The best-known street symbolizing a high standard of living is Wall Street in the borough of Manhattan. It is the seat of some of the chief financial institutions of the United States. It was named after a wall built by Dutch settlers in 1653 to guard against an expected English invasion. Wall Street is home to the nation's largest stock exchange and is the headquarters of the country's largest brokerage firms. In 1820 the Stock Exchange replaced the open-air money market that had operated on Wall Street since 1792. The Stock Exchange and many banks which were established around Wall Street during 19th and 20th centuries have made this street a synonym for the financial world.
With the headquarters of the nation's television and radio networks and the main offices of the largest advertising agencies, New York City is the heart of the mass media in the United States. Printing and publishing are also of great importance, and most of the nation's major publishing houses are based in midtown Manhattan.
The city's economic life also depends on the great diversity of its numerous small businesses and manufacturing establishments.
In the 17th century the prosperity of New Amsterdam was based on the sale of skins and on the tobacco farming, later flour became the most important. In the 19th century port activity escalated and New York's harbor became the busiest business port in the country. In 1807 on the Hudson, Robert Fulton launched the first commercially successful steamboat. Soon the first regular shipping line was established. Shipyards spread out along the East River and the food and textile industries flourished. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 which connected the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean consolidated New York's supremacy as a port.
THE BOROUGHS OF NEW YORK CITY
Manhattan is bounded by the Hudson River (west), Harlem River (northeast), East River (east), and Upper New York Bay (south). It is considered one of the worlïs foremost commercial, financial, and cultural centers. It is renowned for its many points of interest. Among these are some of the worlïs best-known skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building or the United Nations headquarters and various cultural and educational institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University, two branches of the City University of New York, and New York University.
Manhattan is at first sight a city of skyscrapers and neon lights. The shopping promenade of Fifth Avenue, the financial institutions of Wall Street, the residential mansions of Park Avenue, or the bohemian sections of the East Village and SoHo give typical views.
The Bronx, the only mainland borough, is connected to Manhattan by a dozen bridges and railroad tunnels.
Although the Bronx is primarily residential, much of its waterfront is used for shipping, warehouses, and industry (textiles, foods, machinery, and paper products). The borough's educational institutions include Fordham University (1841), Manhattan College (1853), a division of the City University of New York, a division of New York University (1831), and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Bronx Park, the New York Zoological Gardens, and Yankee Stadium (home of the New York Yankees baseball team) are in the borough.
Brooklyn is separated from Manhattan by the East River and is bordered by the Upper and Lower New York bays (west), the Atlantic Ocean (south), and the borough of Queens (north and east). Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by three bridges.
Brooklyn is both residential and industrial. It is a western terminus of the Long Island Rail Road. There are many educational institutions, including Pratt Institute (1887) and branches of the Polytechnic University, the City University of New York, the State University of New York, and Long Island University. Several colonial churches (including Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims), Coney Island, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Arboretum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum are in the borough. Famed native sons include composer George Gershwin, lyricist Ira Gershwin, filmmaker Woody Allen, and writers Arthur Miller and Norman Mailer.
Richmond is linked to Brooklyn by the Verrazano Bridge.
Queens is the largest of the five boroughs of New York City. It is mostly residential, though it has extensive manufacturing industry around Long Island City and storage and shipping facilities lining the East River. New York City's John F. Kennedy International and La Guardia airports are in the borough, as are several branches of the City University of New York and the main campus of St. John's University, New York.
Harlem has no fixed boundaries. After World War I, Harlem became the center of the creative literary development called the "Harlem Renaissance". The term Harlem is often used inaccurately as a synonym for New York's black community; inaccurately, the black population has expanded to other parts of Manhattan and to large parts of the Bronx and Brooklyn. Furthermore, New York City's large Puerto Rican community has a principal center in eastern Harlem, along Park Avenue from 96th Street northward. This district, known pejoratively as "Spanish Harlem," shares the economic and social problems of black Harlem.
In the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, Harlem became known as a Mecca for jazz and blues music. Nightclubs like the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater featured the top black entertainers of the day. The Cotton Club is long gone, but the Apollo still features top black entertainment.
PLACES OF INTEREST
This island is situated not far from Liberty Island. It was a gateway to America for more than 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954 and it was known as Isle of tears, isle of hopes.
STATUE OF LIBERTY
Liberty Island with the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline are the first sights which attract the visitors from the sea. The statue "Liberty Enlightening the World" was erected on Liberty Island in 1886. It has become a symbol of freedom and the United States itself. The statue was given to the USA by the people of France and commemorates French-American friendship and the alliance of the two nations in achieving the independence of the USA.
The French historian Edouard Laboulaye and sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue, and Gustave Eiffel, who engineered the Eiffel Tower, designed the interior iron support structure the frame. Bartholdi used his own mother as the model for the statue and devoted 21 years of his life to the making of the monument. He first created Liberty as a 2.25-meter clay model. Then he enlarged it in plaster several times until he had 300 full-sized sections. Thin copper sheets were hammered into shape against wooden forms.
The statue is 91.5 m high from the pedestal to the torch, the height of statue is 45.3 m and it weights 225 tons. From the entrance to the crown visitors must climb 354 steps. The seven rays of the Statue of Liberty's crown represent the seven seas and seven continents. There are 25 windows in the crown, which symbolize 25 gemstones found on the earth. The Lady holds a book with the inscription "4th July 1776", the date of the beginning of the independent United States.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument, designed in 1924, is one of the countrys monuments. A trip can mean a several-hour wait in line and a strenuous (namáhavý) climb. The monument has other attractions, including a museum and an exhibition in the pedestal. The promenade, colonnade, and top levels of the pedestal offer spectacular views of New York Harbor, including Ellis Island.
WALL STREET AND STOCK EXCHANGE
The United States' financial world is concentrated around Wall Street which once marked the boundary of New Amsterdam. It occupies the place of a former wall which protected the settlement first against Indians and then against the English. From 1792 when the first stock exchange was organized in this neighborhood, Wall Street began to establish its reputation as a financial center. The Stock Exchange and many banks are situated here (Citibank, Bank of New York).
New York Stock Exchange began as a simple gathering area around a buttonwood tree which grew at 68 Wall Street. It was there, in 1792, that 24 traders agreed to deal only with each other. At that time, admission to the exchange cost 25 dollars. Today it can cost one million dollars and a rigorous test of suitability is required. Through the public viewing gallery, visitors can watch the hustle and bustle of the traders on the trading floor. Over the years, the stock exchange has seen numerous "bear markets" (slumps) and "bull markets" (booms). On October 29, 1929, the stock market suffered one of its worst market crashes. Contrary to popular belief, traders did not jump out of windows in panic. Throughout the years, the advance of technology has produced many changes at the stock exchange.
Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. It was the first bridge to be constructed using steel. The bridge links the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn which were once two separate cities. The concept for the bridge came from engineer John A. Roebling.
In the South of Manhattan between Park Row and Broadway City Hall (1826), the Mayor's office and the place for official ceremonies, is situated. Park Row to the east of Broadway used to be the center of journalism and the area around City Hall was well known as a theater district. At present the newspapers and theaters have moved uptown to the vicinity of Times Square.
WORLD TRADE CENTER
The World Trade Center, also known as the "Twin Towers" was begun in 1966 and completed in 1970. At least 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center and other 70,000 visited it each day. The Center consisted of two 110-story (1,350 feet - 417 m each) office towers, a 47-story office building, two nine-story office buildings, an eight-story U.S. Customhouse, and the 22-story New York Marriott World Trade Center Hotel. The buildings were located around the 5-acre Austin J. Tobin Plaza. The World Trade Center MaIl, located immediately below the plaza, hosted a wide range of shops and restaurants.
At 107 floors, The World Trade Center was New Yorks tallest building and the second highest in the USA after Sears Tower in Chicago. The elevator took passengers to the glass enclosed observation decks for spectacular views of the city skyline. On the 100th floor there was the world's highest outdoor promenade.
The WTC crashed down as a result of a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.
The area of Washington Square became a cemetery in the 1700s. When Washington Square was excavated for the park, at least 10,000 skeletal remains were unearthed. Over the years, the area has been used for a variety of purposes. For example, the square was used as a dueling ground for a time and the "hanging elm" tree in the northwest corner of the park was used for public executions until 1819. Eventually, the brook was filled in and diverted underground where it still flows today. Washington Square is known for its marble arch, built by Stanford White in 1895. It replaced a wooden version that had presided over 5th Avenue. It was built to mark the centenary of George Washington's inauguration. Now part of NYC University, "the Row" (located across the street from the Square) was once home to many of New York City's most prominent citizens.
Greenwich Village is a synonym for avant-garde, offbeat life-styles, non-conformists and starving artists. The offbeat feeling is still there, but the starving artists are gone because none of them could afford to live there! At night, Greenwich Village comes alive with sounds from late-night coffeehouses, cafés, experimental theaters, and music clubs. Many famous people have made their homes in Greenwich Village, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and playwright Eugene O'Neill.
The name village comes from a time when the area, a small village at the time, was used as an escape from the yellow fever epidemic of 1822.
THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Probably the most famous building of New York is the Empire State Building, built in 1931 at the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street. Built during the Depression, the building was the center of a competition between Walter Chrysler (Chrysler Corp.) and John Jacob Raskob (creator of General Motors) to see who could build the tallest building. It has 102 stories and is 1,250 feet - 381 m high. The television mast added in 1951 brings its total height to 1,472 feet - 448.7 m. It was the highest structure in the world until 1954. On the clearest days, visitors to the building's upper observation deck can see for some 30 miles in all directions. There are 3 restaurants and three coffee shops, several specialty boutiques, a post office and two banks. Being inside, visitors can use 73 elevators.
The official opening was a gala event, attended by Herbert Hoover, then president of the United States and by Alfred E. Smith, the former governor of New York State, whose real estate company owned and operated the structure. The building's vital statistics, as given at that time, included a total weight of 365,000 tons, of which 65,000 tons are steel. Some 10 million bricks enclose the frame. Despite the building's enormous height, its foundation extends only 55 feet (17 m) below street level, where it is firmly anchored to the underlying bedrock. Even in the winds up to 186 miles (300 km) per hour, the structure sways no more than 3/4 inch (about 2 cm). Other statistics are equally impressive: there are some 7 miles (11 km) of elevator shafts, and one elevator can reach the 80th floor in 60 seconds. Those visitors who are tough enough to walk to the top have to climb 1,860 steps. There are 6,400 windows in the building.
A disastrous event involving the Empire State Building occurred on July 28, 1945, when a U.S. B-25 bomber crashed into the 78th and 79th floors, killing 13 people and causing extensive damage in the area immediately surrounding the accident. The building itself, however, remained as sound as ever - a testimony to the quality of its construction.
Times Square, the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue, was, from the turn of the 20th century to the 1960s, known as a center of performing arts in New York. It received its name after the New York Times (a magazine) which in 1904 moved into the Times Tower, at the south of the square. The square has lost most of its glamour in recent years. Every year, thousands of people crowd the Square to watch the famous Iighted ball drop at the stroke of midnight, marking the New Year.
THE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
It is considered to be one of the finest public buildings in the United States. The new station was opened in 1913. The architect Whitney Warren saw the terminal as a triumphal gateway to the city and he designed the facade in the remarkable Beaux Arts Style (it was the style of the architects who studied in Paris at the turn of the 20th century and adopted classical elements) - reminiscent of classical buildings.
THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTER
The United Nations Building, located in Manhattan along the bank of the East River between 42nd and 48th Street, is the headquarters for the United Nations. Founded on October 24, 1945, the organization originally had only 51 member nations. The membership has grown to 180 nations - nearly every nation in the world. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the 8.5 million dollars needed to purchase the East River site. The American architect, Wallace Harrison was to design the buildings.
An interesting fact is that the site is not a part of U.S. territory. It is an international zone that has its own post office, security, and even postage stamps. A team of the architects including Le Corbusier designed three buildings: the Secretariat (39 stories) for the offices, the General Assembly and the Conference building. Later, in 1963, the library was added. The Conference Building houses the Security Council, the Trustship Council Chamber, the Economic and Social Council Chamber and a number of smaller rooms. The General Assembly, which is a true international parliament, is presently made up of delegations of 180 states.
The goals of the United Nations are to promote world peace, self-determination, and to aid economic and social well-being throughout the world. Some facts about the United Nations: The UN has no army. Governments voluntarily supply troops and other personnel to halt conflicts that threaten peace and security. The United States and other member states of the Security Council decide when and where to deploy peacekeeping troops. Eighty per cent of the work of the UN system is devoted to helping developing countries build the capacity to help themselves. This includes promoting and protecting national democracy and human rights; saving children from starvation and disease; providing assistance to refugees and disaster victims; countering global crime, drugs and disease; and assisting countries devastated by war and facing the long-term threat of land-mines.
Located at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue, Union Square was laid out in 1831. From a wealthy residential area and then a theater district it became a favorite site for labor-union gatherings and political demonstrations.
Madison Square, which was named in memory of James Madison, president of the USA, was founded as a park in 1811. Northwest of the square there is situated the Madison Square Garden Center. This vast complex was built in 1968 and offers cultural and sporting events. It is the third with this name (the former two fell victim to fire). Next to it and below it there is one of the two largest train stations in New York - the Pennsylvania Station.
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
It was designed in the Beaux Arts Style and was opened in 1911. The library holds about 36 million objects, including 11.3 million books. It is also the owner of some rarities such as a Gutenberg Bible and a globe dating from 1519, the first one to show in America.
Lincoln Center was built in the 1960s on a large plot of West Side land west of Broadway and south-west of Central Park between 62nd and 65th streets. The construction of Lincoln Center was postponed to allow the slums on 62nd Street to be used as a backdrop for scenes in Leonard Bernstein's musical West Side Story. The Center consists of New York State Theater, Metropolitan Opera House and Avery Fisher Hall. It is the home of Philharmonic Orchestra now, etc. New York State Theater is home of the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet. Metropolitan Opera House was founded in 1883 by wealthy New Yorkers such as J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts, who wanted to have their own opera house.
THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER
The Rockefeller Center is a complex of fourteen buildings built in the 1930s and five other buildings completed after 1945. The center is said to be a city within a city. The main axis is composed of Rockefeller Plaza, then the Lower Plaza, and finally Channel Gardens and the British Empire Building. At the center of the Lower Plaza there is a gilded bronze Prometheus arising from the waves. The sculpture is the work of Paul Manship. Everything in the Lower Plaza, like fountains, flags, sunshades, a huge Christmas tree, a skating rink, cafés, shipping companies, or luxury stores, creates the special atmosphere of something fabulous.
St. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL
Almost opposite Rockefeller Center there is St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was inspired by the great Gothic cathedrals. The Cathedral is named in honor of Ireland's patron saint. Saint Patrick's is the largest Roman Catholic church in America and the eleventh largest church in the world. St. Patrick's was the dream of John Hughes, the first Archbishop of New York. The site Hughes chose was a former graveyard at Fifth Avenue and 51 Street, in New York City.
The cornerstone was laid in 1858. But in 1860, work stopped for lack of money. When Hughes died in 1864, the site of St. Patrick's was overgrown with weeds. After the Civil War, Archbishop John McCloskey, Hughes's successor went on with the great work and on May 25, 1879, the cathedral, without its spires, opened for services. And still the work went on. The spires were lifted in 1889, but not until 1906 was St. Patrick's finally completed. Although the Cathedral reminds us of some other cathedrals - Cologne and Rheims, for instance - its Gothic style, common in European churches is worth seeing. The height of the spires from the street is 330 feet (100.6 m). The great organ has 7,380 pipes. The seating capacity is approximately 2,400. The Cathedral has 19 bells.
THE CHRYSLER BUILDING
Designed to be the corporate headquarters for Walter P. Chrysler and his automobile empire, the building was a competition against The Manhattan Bank Building for the title of the tallest building in the world. The building was designed to resemble a Chrysler automobile. It is faced with Nirosta metal (a chromium - nickel steel), which resembles platinum and is decorated with sculptures copied from the hood ornament of a 1929 Chrysler Plymouth. The top of the Chrysler Building once housed the Cloud Club. During prohibition, the Cloud Club was frequented by many of New York City's elite. The Cloud Club has been reopened, but is only available for special events. The Chrysler Building held the honor of the worlïs tallest building for only a short time. That honor was lost to the Empire State Building which was completed only a few months later. Still, the Chrysler Building remains the preeminent art-deco style building in all of New York City, if not the world. Date completed: 1930. Height: 1048 feet (77 floors). Unfortunately no tours are available at the Chrysler Building.
Since the end of the 19th century Broadway has been synonymous with American theater. In the 1920s the movie companies moved here and built huge movie palaces in the proximity of Times Square. The recession in the movie industry in 1950s and 1960s led to the closing of several movie theaters. Today there are about forty theaters in the Theater District around the famous 42nd Street. At the beginning of the 20th century there were about 12 theatres in the district. Most of them are now sex shops or cinemas showing so-called adult movies and that is why it is sometimes called Sin Street.
The New Amsterdam Theater and The Lyric, both opened in 1903, were rivals trying to engage the same prestigious stars, such as Douglas Fairbanks or Fred Astaire and his sister Adele. Musical shows by George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein were staged in the Imperial Theater (1923). The first of the Times Square theatres was the Lyceum Theater, built north of 42nd Street. Opened in 1903 it was a very modern and attractive building with no balcony for its auditorium and with a gift shop inside. The spectacular Carnegie Hall, opened in 1891, is said to have the best acoustics in the world and attracts the world's greatest musicians and performers.
There exist three types of theatres in New York: Broadway shows (large-scale productions staged in the Theater District), Off-Broadway shows (more modest-sized productions) and Off-off-Broadway productions (avant-garde theater).
Besides the official Broadway theatres, there have been small professional productions making their performances freer in style and more imaginative. The plays are produced on low budgets in small theatres, usually out of the Broadway area, though there are some exceptions.
The Off-Broadway productions do not rely on commercial success but with their experimental drama is an alternative to the official ones. The most important era for Off-Broadway productions started after 1952 when a lot of playwrights, directors and actors had an opportunity to show their talents. The works of such American playwrights as Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson or John Guare were first produced off Broadway, along with the works of European avant-garde dramatists such as Eugéne lonesco, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter.
Broadway became the center of an important theatre district in the mid-19th century. The number, size, and grandiosity of the Broadway theatres grew with New York City's prosperity and in the 1890s the brilliantly lighted street became known as "The Great White Way". At the beginning of the 20th century there were about 20 Broadway's theatres. In the late 1920s theatrical activity reached its peak and the number of theatres enlarged to 80 in 1925. In the 1980s only forty of them remained on Broadway.
RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL
Radio City Music Hall is one of the most popular theatres in New York City. It first opened in 1932 and was the largest indoor theatre in the world at the time. The theatre was designed in the Art Deco style which utilizes glass, aluminum, chrome, and geometric ornamentation. The famous marquee, a full city block in length, consists of more than six miles of red and blue neon tubes. The Grand Foyer ceiling is adorned with 24-carat gold leaf. Since 1979 Radio City has been presenting spectacular live stage performances, concerts, television events, and Hollywood movie premieres. Events such as awarding Grammy Awards annually take place here.
At the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue Carnegie Hall, the building in Italian Renaissance style, was built in 1891. This concert hall was financed by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) for the choir and later the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (it moved to Lincoln Center in 1962).
For over 70 years, Apollo Theater has been one of the most typical landmarks in Harlem. In the early days, entertainment consisted of vaudeville and burlesque performances played to white audiences. In 1934, under the leadership of white owner Frank Schiffman Apollo started presenting black entertainers to mixed audiences. The theatre became the best-known showcase in Harlem.
On the Apollo stage many legendary black stars appeared, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington to name just a few. Amateur night at the Apollo was famous, and many legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Pearl Bailey, James Brown, and Gladys Knight got their start from an amateur night appearance.
During World War II, the Apollo was an asylum for a new generation of musicians such as Charlie "Bird" Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and Aretha Franklin. Today the Apollo still presents top black entertainers performing blues, jazz and gospel music. The Apollo has been an icon to Harlem's entertainment tradition.
A part of 5th Avenue between 70th and 104th Streets is known as Museum Mile. It owes its name to the group of prestigious museums - Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Frick Collection and others).
MUSEUM OF MODERN ARTS
Founded in 1870, the Museum of Modem Art houses some of the most famous artwork of this century. The ever-changing exhibitions include works from such artists as Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Jackson Pollock. The museum collection houses works dating from the 1880s to the present day. More then 100,000 works are contained in the museum. Examples include, Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Claude Mones Lilies and Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory. Museum of Modern Arts close to Rockefeller Center on 5th Avenue was founded in 1929. The intention was to make it the largest museum of modern art in the world. Its collections form one of the most wide-ranging panoramas of modern arts: paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs as well as films, architectural models and high style functional objects (cars).
THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
The Guggenheim Museum was opened in 1959. It consists of five major private collections which include paintings by such masters as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. At present the Museum owns more than 5000 paintings, sculptures and sketches from the Impressionists to the present day. The Museum is named after Solomon Guggenheim who was a copper magnate and enlightened patron of the arts and also an owner of a collection of Old Masters.
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, originated between 1880 and 1902, houses a diverse collection of art (paintings, sculptures and furniture) from Africa, the Pacific, America, China as well as Europe. A part of this museum in north Manhattan was established in 1938 in the Cloisters and is devoted exclusively to European art of the Middle Age.
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
American Museum of Natural History is one of the most visited museums in New York. It is located in the west of Central Park and its collections document Native American, African and Pacific civilizations.
New York has always been closely joined with the world of sports. The first baseball game was organized in 1845 in Hoboken across the Hudson River. The most popular kinds of sports in New York as well as in the whole United States are baseball, ice hockey, tennis, and football. New York has two famous baseball teams - the Mets and the Yankees. There are also two of the country's most famous stadiums - Yankee and Shea.
If you like tennis, you can go to the United States Open Tennis Championships (early September) at the National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow, Queens. In November of every year, 25,000 or more people run through all five boroughs of New York in the New York Marathon. They finish - after running 41.84 kilometers - in Central Park. A million or more people watch them.
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Home of the New York Knickerbockers (the knicks) basketball team and the New York Rangers ice hockey team, Madison Square Garden hosts over 600 events a year. Events include rock concerts, wrestling, tennis championship, the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, antique shows, a dog show, boxing matches, and more.
In addition to sports and special events, Madison Square Garden provides convention and office facilities. The facility can seat 20,000 for Square Garden meetings, conventions or product launches. The convention area is approximately 36,000 square feet. Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Sarah Bernhardt are only examples of the celebrities who had been seen there.
New York is also home to many schools, a few universities (Columbia University 1754, New York University 1831, City University of New York 1849, Fordham University 1841 etc.) and colleges (Barnard College 1889, City College 1847) and other higher education institutions such as New York Institute of Technology (1955).
Columbia University, the oldest of them, is one of the oldest and largest universities in the country and one of the largest private landowners in New York. Columbia university has 18 000 students now.
New York University is the largest private university in the United States. The main building is located in Washington Square.
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
New York press has played an important role in the life of the nation for more than 250 years. The first newspapers in the early 1830s and early 1840s were The New York Herald and The New York Tribune. The two newspapers were called the Penny Press because of the price. The descendants of the newspaper today are the tabloid papers The New York Post and The New York Daily News. One of the most famous presses, The New Yorker, has been focused on society and culture in the city. The most famous magazines in the United States, issued in New York City are Time, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Vanity Fair, People, Ebony and Rolling Stone. Manhattan is also home to three major private broadcasting networks - ABC, CBS and NBS.
The busiest shopping streets are 5th Avenue (Rockefeller Center and the area around the Grand Central Terminal), Broadway and Madison Avenue. 5th Avenue is the place where the largest department stores or fashion stores are situated - Saks, Lord and Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany's jewellery store or the famous F.A.O. Schwarz toy store. Other famous shops are Bloomingdales in Third Avenue and 57th Street, and Macy's (the biggest shop in the world) on Broadway and 34th Street. Brooks Brothers, world-famous for men's clothes, is in Madison Avenue, but there are also many smaller shops. If you are shopping for something "different", go to SoHo (between Canal Street and West Houston Street) or Greenwich Village. The world famous art auction halls Christie's and Sotheby's can also be found in New York, in Park Avenue and York Avenue.
There are 17,000 or more restaurants, cafes, 'fast food' shops and food stands in New York, and there are more and more every day. You can eat in New York every night for fifty years and never visit the same cafe or restaurant twice! And you can find food from every country in the world. New Yorkers often eat at the "deli" or the delicatessen. These sell wonderful sandwiches. There are lots of "fast food" shops to buy something to eat quickly. There are many street stands on many street corners. These sell hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels, and drinks like Coca-Cola. Go to Chinatown for the best Chinese food, and Little Italy for the best Italian food.
Henry Vanderbilt built his mansion at Fifth Avenue and 51st street. This began a trend that has resulted in the construction of rich residences stretching as far as Central Park. "The Avenue" has been the home of such prominent families as the Astors, the Belmonts, and the Goulds. Unfortunately, only a few of these grand residences remain.
Here on Fifth Avenue a large array of luxury goods and famous brand names can be found. Visitors who "live to shop" can begin their trip starting at 52nd street, where the Cartier shop is located and work their way along the Avenue to the famous Tiffany's and Bergdorf Goodman on 57th street. Such a trip will provide a view of some of the most expensive and exclusive jewelry, clothing and other items in the world. But regardless of the budget, while the items may be expensive, window-shopping is always free.
Rowland Hussey Macy, a former whaler, opened a small store Macy's at West 14th Street in 1857. The red star logo is actually borrowed from a tattoo, which Macy got when he was a sailor. By 1877, the store had expanded to a row of eleven buildings. Macy died in 1877, but the store continued its growth. After outgrowing its original site, the firm acquired the present site in 1902. The ornate entrance at 34th street still has the original caryatids standing guard at the entrance. The clock and the original lettering are there, too. A plaque at the main entrance commemorates the death of Isidor and his wife who died aboard the Titanic in 1912.
Macy's is famous for sponsoring the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Fourth of July fireworks. The store also holds its own spring flower show which draws huge crowds annually. But Macy's is perhaps best known for being an important stop for any shopper who visits New York City. In addition to a tremendous array of fashions for all ages, it has home furnishings and other specialty departments. Macy's has a full-service Visitors' Center, as well as restaurants and its own post office.
There are not so many open spaces in New York in comparison to the area that it occupies because the first town planners thought them unnecessary. After the founding of the Central Park many more parks were founded such as Battery Park, East River Park, Riverside Park or Brooklyn Heights. The Bronx has two of the city's outstanding treasures - the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Z00.
Central Park is the largest and most important public park in Manhattan. It occupies an area of 840 acres (340 hectares) and extends between 59th and 110th streets and between Fifth and Eighth Avenues. It was one of the first American parks.
Central Park was officially opened in 1876, and it is still one of the greatest achievements in artificial landscaping. The park's terrain and vegetation are highly varied and range from fiat grassy swards, gentle slopes, and shady glens to steep, rocky ravines. The park affords interesting walks at nearly every point. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is in the park, facing Fifth Avenue. There are also a Zoo, an ice-skating rink, three small lakes, an open-air theatre, a bandstand, many athletic playing fields and children's playgrounds, several fountains, and hundreds of small monuments and plaques scattered through the area. There are also a police station, several blockhouses dating from the early 19th century, and "Cleopatra's Needle" (an ancient Egyptian obelisk). The park has numerous footpaths and bicycle paths. Concerts are regularly held within the park. Many celebrities have apartments overlooking Central Park; and, like singer Madonna who often jogs there, add to the variety of attractions found within the park's borders.
Strawberry Fields is one of the most visited spots in Central Park. Yoko Ono had this area restored in memory of her husband, ex-Beatle, John Lennon. Lennon used to play with his son, Sean, in this area. The nearby Dakota apartments, where the Lennons lived, overlook Strawberry Fields. This international peace garden was largely made using gifts received from all over the world. The city of Naples, Italy, donated the mosaic with the word Imagine (a famous song written by Lennon), in park inscribed in the pathway. One hundred and sixty species of plants are grown in the garden, one from every country in the world. Roses, and strawberries are grown here.
NEW YORK AND NEW YORKERS
Some visitors find that New Yorkers are not very friendly. Some are, some aren't. Some taxi drivers talk all through the journey, some talk if you talk to them, but only to say 'Yeah!' or 'OK!' Is New York dangerous? Perhaps it is, but so are many cities. Remember:
The city is always changing. You can hear the noise of buildings going up or coming down all the time. Cars and buses stop and start, and policemen blow whistles at the drivers. WALK and DON'T WALK signs go on and off, and people run between streets and avenues. That's New York. That's the most exciting city in the world.