Introduction to New York City
New York City, at the mouth of the Hudson River, is the largest city in the United States and one of the most important and exciting cities in the world. Originally explored in 1609 by Henry Hudson of the Dutch East India Company, it was settled five years later by the Dutch and called New Amsterdam. According to legend, Peter Minuet purchased the island of Manhattan for $28 worth of beads and trinkets. The settlement was claimed in 1664 by Great Britain and after the Revolutionary War by the United States, eventually becoming the capital of the country. By the turn of the 19th century, New York Stock Exchange was founded and the city overtook Philadelphia as the most populous city in the country. The development of railroads and the Erie Canal made New York the natural gateway to the Midwest, bringing additional prosperity and growth. By the turn of the 20th century, the city expanded to include all five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
The city is headquarters for some of the world's largest corporations and is a world leader in finance, with the stock exchange based there. New York is a center for advertising, fashion, entertainment, publishing and communications. New York is also home of the United Nations. Its port is the largest on the Eastern Seaboard. Its buildings are among the tallest and most famous in the world. Long known as a "melting pot" for its ethnic diversity, New York has communities representing almost every nation imaginable. On September 11, 2001, the destruction of New York's World Trade Center devastated the city. Though the events of 9/11 were a local and national tragedy, it demonstrated to the world the amazing resilience and character of New York's citizens.
New York Culture
Nowhere in the country (and possibly the world) can you find the cultural attractions that New York has to offer. Among its 100 museums are the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum (a piece of art unto itself, the last building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright). The city is home to the Metropolitan Opera Company, the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, and the Juilliard School. For decades, entertainers did not consider themselves a success until they performed at Carnegie Hall or on Broadway, both in New York. Many of the city's magazines and periodicals (including New Yorker, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal) are read across the world.
New York Sports and Leisure
Spectator sports fans will find the New York metropolitan area the most concentrated in the country for major league teams. Baseball has the National league's Mets and the American league's Yankees, with more championships than any team in baseball history. The Mets play in 55,000-seat Shea Stadium in Queens; legendary Yankee Stadium is in the Bronx. Historic Madison Square Garden in downtown Manhattan is home to the NBA's New York Knickerbockers and the NHL's New York Rangers, as well as St. John's University basketball, NIT and Big East basketball tournaments, and other events. The NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets both play across the river in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, NJ. The Meadowlands is also home to the NBA's New Jersey Nets and the NHL's New Jersey Devils. In Long Island, the Nassau County coliseum hosts the NHL's New York Islanders.
The large number of colleges in the area, including Rutgers and West Point, also contribute to the sporting scene. The US Open, held each fall at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, is one of the tennis world's grand slam events. Each June, the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, is held at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, just outside the city.
New York Outdoors
For participatory sports even more challenging than dodging the city's unyielding taxi cabs while crossing the street, there's plenty to do within a short distance. The city owns more than 28,000 acres in 1700 parks scattered throughout the five boroughs. The most famous is 843-acre Central Park, a haven for joggers, skaters and rollerbladers. With a zoo, pools, ponds, ball fields, and romantic horse-drawn carriage rides, Central Park has something for everyone. The Hamptons on the east side Long Island are a popular (and expensive) seaside getaway for celebrities and Wall Street types; Jones Beach on South Central Long Island is more accessible. Just north of the city and accessible by car or train, the Hudson Valley offers a respite from the city. Harriman State Park and neighboring Bear Mountain State Park offer hiking, swimming and fishing in the summer, cross-country skiing and skating in the winter.
New York at Night
Any city nicknamed "the city that never sleeps" has to have an energetic nightlife, and New York more than lives up to that reputation. From SoHo to Broadway to Times Square to Harlem, live music and other entertainment are virtually without limit. All over the city are Irish bars, sports bars, dance clubs, drinking halls, pool halls, and jazz and blues clubs. Whether it's a hotdog for less than a dollar, an expensive meal from the latest celebrity chef or an authentic ethnic meal from a country you've never heard of, you can find it in New York.