New York.
Although New York is not the capital of the United States (and not even of New York State), it is the biggest and most important city of the country. Situated at the mouth of the deep Hudson River, it has always been the gateway to the USA. But it is more than just a door: it is also a window through which the life of the whole nation may be observed.
New York is many things to many people. It's the financial and media capital of the world. It's the headquarters of the United Nations. It's the centre of American cultural life. It's the national leader in fashion and entertainment.
The "Big Apple', as New York City is nicknamed, is a city unlike any other. It has everything for everyone. It offers the best, the biggest and the brightest of everything.
It is a place of excitement, beauty ... and contradictions. There is, for example, no canal on Canal Street, Battery Park is not a power station, and Times Square is a triangle. As they say, only in New York!
New York is known as a "melting pot", because people of different races and nationalities make up its population of more than 7 million. About 13 of every 100 people in New York were bom in another country. More than 80 languages are spoken throughout the neighbourhoods and streets of the city. There are places where the English language is hardly ever heard.
When people say "New York City" they usually mean Manhattan. It is the real centre of the city. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, the United Nations building, tremendous traffic, dazzling advertisements, Central Park, Times Square, Broadway, Harlem, Chinatown, the most famous avenues and streets — all these are to be found in Manhattan.
The map of Manhattan seems unusual to a European eye. It is crossed from north to south by avenues and from east to west by streets. Only one avenue, Broadway, runs east to west. Each avenue has either a name or a number. The streets are numbered from one to over a hundred. Only a few of them have names.
Wall Street in Manhattan is the financial heart of the USA and the most important banking centre in the world.
Broadway is the symbol of American theatre, as Hollywood is of American cinema.
The intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue forms world-famous Times Square, the heart of the New York Theatre District. It is one of many New York City "squares" that are actually triangles. New Year's Eve celebrations always start here and at midnight a large red ball is lowered down to show that the New Year has begun.
Park Avenue represents luxury and fashion because of its large expensive apartment houses.
Madison Avenue is known as the centre of advertising industry.
Fifth Avenue is the most famous shopping centre.
If you want to have a good view of New York City you can do it from the top of the World Trade Center (110 stories) or from the Empire State Building (102 stories).
The Empire State Building is no longer the world's tallest building, but it is certainly one of the world's best-loved skyscrapers. Today more than 16,000 people work in the building, and more than 2,500 000 people a year visit the 86th and 102dfloor observatories. At night the top 30 stories are illuminated with colours appropriate to the season: red and green for Christmas, orange and brown for Halloween.
Not far from the Empire State Building there is an interesting architectural complex — Rockefeller Centre. It is a city-within-a-city. It was begun during the Great Depression of the 1930s by John Rockefeller and was built according to one general plan. Rockefeller Centre consists of 19 skyscrapers. It houses all kinds of offices, enterprises, banks, theatres, music halls, restaurants, shops, etc. All parts of the complex are linked by underground passageways.
New York is often called the cultural capital of the USA. There are more than 800 museums in New York. One of the best known is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is the largest art museum in the United States. Its magnificent collection of European and American paintings contains works of many of the greatest masters of art world.
The second best known is the Museum of Modern Art. The reputation of the "Moma", as the museum is nicknamed, rests on its wonderful collections of modern art and photography. The Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art contains an impressive collection of modern artists ranging from impressionists to abstractionists. The unusual circular building of the museum was designed by F.L. Wright.
No other city in the world offers as much theatre as New York where there is a daily choice of almost two hundred productions. You can see the newest plays and shows on Broadway. But away from the bright lights of Broadway are many smaller theatres. Their plays are called "off-Broadway" and "off-off-Broadway" and they are often more unusual than the Broadway shows.
The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Centre (the Met) is known throughout the music world. International stars sing here from September until April. The Carnegie Hall is the city's most popular concert hall. It was opened in 1891 with a concert conducted by P.I. Tchaikovsky.
New York is famous for its festivals and special events: summer jazz, one-act play marathons, international film series, and musical celebrations from the classical to the avant-garde.
There are a lot of colleges and universities in New York, among them such giants as Columbia University, the State University of New York, the City University of New York, New York University and others.
The New York Public Library is the largest library of the city. You can see a lot of interesting things here: Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington, Charles Dickens's desk, and Thomas Jefferson's own handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Last Updated (Friday, 19 February 2010 16:47)