New York City
New York City, often called simplyÂ New YorkÂ and abbreviated asÂ NYC, is theÂ most populous cityÂ in theÂ United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about 302.6 square miles (784Â km2), New York City is also theÂ most densely populatedÂ major city in the United States.Â Located at the southern tip of theÂ U.S. stateÂ ofÂ New York, the city is the center of theÂ New York metropolitan area, the largestÂ metropolitan areaÂ in the world byÂ urban landmass.Â With almost 20Â million people in itsÂ metropolitan statistical areaÂ and approximately 23Â million in itsÂ combined statistical area, it is one of the world’s most populousÂ megacities. New York City has been described as theÂ cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, significantly influencing commerce,Â entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. Home to theÂ headquarters of the United Nations,Â New York is an important center forÂ international diplomacy.
Situated onÂ one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City is composed of fiveÂ boroughs, each of which is aÂ county of the State of New York. The five boroughsâ€”Brooklyn,Â Queens,Â Manhattan,Â the Bronx, andÂ Staten Islandâ€”were consolidated into a single city in 1898.Â The city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legalÂ immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York,Â making it the mostÂ linguisticallyÂ diverse city in the world. New York is home to more than 3.2Â million residents born outside the United States,Â the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world as of 2016.Â As of 2019, the New York metropolitan area is estimated to produce aÂ gross metropolitan productÂ (GMP) of $2.0Â trillion. If the New York metropolitan area were aÂ sovereign state, it would have theÂ eighth-largest economyÂ in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.
New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from theÂ Dutch RepublicÂ in 1624 onÂ Lower Manhattan; the post was namedÂ New AmsterdamÂ in 1626.Â The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamedÂ New YorkÂ after KingÂ Charles II of EnglandÂ granted the lands to his brother, theÂ Duke of York.Â New York was theÂ capital of the United StatesÂ from 1785 until 1790,Â and has been the largest U.S. city since 1790.Â TheÂ Statue of LibertyÂ greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U.S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,Â and is a symbol of the U.S. and its ideals of liberty and peace.Â In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity, entrepreneurship,Â and environmental sustainability,Â and as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity.Â In 2019, New York was voted the greatest city in the world per a survey of over 30,000 people from 48 cities worldwide, citing its cultural diversity.
ManyÂ districts and landmarksÂ in New York City are well known, including three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013.Â A record 62.8Â million tourists visited New York City in 2017.Â Times SquareÂ is the brightly illuminated hub of theÂ Broadway Theater District,Â one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections,Â and a major center of the world’sÂ entertainment industry.Â Many of the city’s landmarks,Â skyscrapers,Â andÂ parksÂ are known around the world. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world.Â New York is home to the largestÂ ethnic ChineseÂ population outside of Asia,Â with multiple distinctÂ ChinatownsÂ across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service and contributing to theÂ nicknameÂ The City that Never Sleeps, theÂ New York City SubwayÂ is the largest single-operatorÂ rapid transitÂ system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. The city hasÂ over 120 colleges and universities, includingÂ Columbia University,Â New York University,Â Rockefeller University, and theÂ City University of New YorkÂ system, which is the largest urban public university system in the United States.Â Anchored byÂ Wall StreetÂ in theÂ Financial DistrictÂ of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the world’s leadingÂ financial centerÂ and the most financially powerful city in the world, and is home to the world’s twoÂ largest stock exchangesÂ by totalÂ market capitalization, theÂ New York Stock ExchangeÂ andÂ NASDAQ.
In 1664, the city was named in honor of theÂ Duke of York, who would become KingÂ James II of England. James’s older brother, KingÂ Charles II, appointed the DukeÂ proprietorÂ of the former territory ofÂ New Netherland, including the city ofÂ New Amsterdam, when England seized it from the Dutch.
In theÂ precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited byÂ AlgonquianÂ Native Americans, including theÂ Lenape. Their homeland, known asÂ Lenapehoking, included Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, the western portion ofÂ Long IslandÂ (including the areas that would later become the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens), and theÂ Lower Hudson Valley.
The first documented visit intoÂ New York HarborÂ by a European was in 1524 byÂ Giovanni da Verrazzano, aÂ FlorentineÂ explorer in the service of theÂ French crown.Â He claimed the area for France and named itÂ Nouvelle AngoulÃªmeÂ (New AngoulÃªme).Â AÂ SpanishÂ expedition, led by theÂ PortugueseÂ captainÂ EstÃªvÃ£o GomesÂ sailing forÂ Emperor Charles V, arrived inÂ New York HarborÂ in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he namedÂ RÃo de San AntonioÂ (Saint Anthony’s River). TheÂ PadrÃ³n RealÂ of 1527, the first scientific map to show the East Coast of North America continuously, was informed by Gomes’ expedition and labeled theÂ northeastern United StatesÂ asÂ Tierra de Esteban GÃ³mezÂ in his honor.
In 1609, the English explorerÂ Henry HudsonÂ rediscovered New York Harbor while searching for theÂ Northwest PassageÂ to theÂ OrientÂ for theÂ Dutch East India Company.Â He proceeded to sail up what the Dutch would name theÂ North RiverÂ (now theÂ Hudson River), named first by Hudson as theÂ MauritiusÂ afterÂ Maurice, Prince of Orange. Hudson’s first mate described the harbor as “a very good Harbour for all windes” and the river as “a mile broad” and “full of fish”.Â Hudson sailed roughly 150 miles (240Â km) north,Â past the site of the present-day New York StateÂ capital cityÂ ofÂ Albany, in the belief that it might be an oceanicÂ tributaryÂ before the river became too shallow to continue.Â He made a ten-day exploration of the area and claimed the region for the Dutch East India Company. In 1614, the area betweenÂ Cape CodÂ andÂ Delaware BayÂ was claimed by theÂ NetherlandsÂ and calledÂ Nieuw-NederlandÂ (New Netherland).
The first non-Native American inhabitant of what would eventually become New York City wasÂ Juan RodriguezÂ (transliteratedÂ to Dutch asÂ Jan Rodrigues), a merchant fromÂ Santo Domingo. Born inÂ Santo DomingoÂ ofÂ PortugueseÂ andÂ AfricanÂ descent, he arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613â€“14, trapping for pelts and trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch.Â Broadway, from 159th Street to 218th Street inÂ Upper Manhattan, is named Juan Rodriguez Way in his honor.
A permanent European presence near New York Harbor began in 1624â€”making New York the 12thÂ oldest continuously occupiedÂ European-established settlement in theÂ continental United Statesâ€”with the founding of a DutchÂ fur tradingÂ settlement onÂ Governors Island. In 1625, construction was started on aÂ citadelÂ andÂ Fort Amsterdam, later calledÂ Nieuw AmsterdamÂ (New Amsterdam), on present-day Manhattan Island.Â The colony of New Amsterdam was centered on what would later be known as Lower Manhattan. It extended from the lower tip of Manhattan to modern dayÂ Wall Street, where a 12-foot woodenÂ stockadeÂ was built in 1653 to protect against Native American and British raids.Â In 1626, the Dutch colonial Director-GeneralÂ Peter Minuit, acting as charged by theÂ Dutch West India Company, purchased the island of Manhattan from theÂ Canarsie, a small Lenape band,Â for “the value of 60Â guilders“Â (about $900 in 2018).Â A disproved legend claims that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.
Following the purchase, New Amsterdam grew slowly.Â To attract settlers, the Dutch instituted theÂ patroon systemÂ in 1628, whereby wealthy Dutchmen (patroons, or patrons) who brought 50 colonists to New Netherland would be awarded swaths of land, along with local political autonomy and rights to participate in the lucrative fur trade. This program had little success.
Since 1621, the Dutch West India Company had operated as aÂ monopolyÂ in New Netherland, on authority granted by theÂ Dutch States General. In 1639â€“1640, in an effort to bolster economic growth, the Dutch West India Company relinquished its monopoly over the fur trade, leading to growth in the production and trade of food, timber, tobacco, and slaves (particularly with theÂ Dutch West Indies).
In 1647,Â Peter StuyvesantÂ began his tenure as the lastÂ Director-GeneralÂ of New Netherland. During his tenure, the population of New Netherland grew from 2,000 to 8,000.Â Stuyvesant has been credited with improving law and order in the colony; however, he also earned a reputation as a despotic leader. He instituted regulations on liquor sales, attempted to assert control over theÂ Dutch Reformed Church, and blocked other religious groups (includingÂ Quakers,Â Jews, andÂ Lutherans) from establishing houses of worship.Â The Dutch West India Company would eventually attempt to ease tensions between Stuyvesant and residents of New Amsterdam.
In 1664, unable to summon any significant resistance, Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam to English troops, led by ColonelÂ Richard Nicolls, without bloodshed.Â The terms of the surrender permitted Dutch residents to remain in the colony and allowed for religious freedom.Â The English promptly renamed the fledgling city “New York” after theÂ Duke of YorkÂ (the future King James II of England),Â who was a leader of theÂ Royal Africa Company, which shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other institution in the history of theÂ Atlantic slave trade.Â The transfer was confirmed in 1667 by theÂ Treaty of Breda, which concluded theÂ Second Anglo-Dutch War.
On August 24, 1673, during theÂ Third Anglo-Dutch War, Dutch captainÂ Anthony ColveÂ seized the colony of New York from England at the behest ofÂ Cornelis Evertsen the YoungestÂ and rechristened it “New Orange” afterÂ William III, theÂ Prince of Orange.Â The Dutch would soon return the island to England under theÂ Treaty of WestminsterÂ of November 1674.
Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and someÂ epidemicsÂ brought on by contact with the Europeans caused sizeable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670.Â By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200.Â New York experienced severalÂ yellow feverÂ epidemics in the 18th century, losing ten percent of its population to the disease in 1702 alone.
New York grew in importance as a trading port while underÂ British ruleÂ in the early 1700s.Â It also became a center ofÂ slavery, with 42% of households holding slaves by 1730, the highest percentage outsideÂ Charleston, South Carolina.Â Most slaveholders held a few or several domestic slaves, but others hired them out to work at labor. Slavery became integrally tied to New York’s economy through the labor of slaves throughout the port, and the banks and shipping tied to theÂ American South. Discovery of theÂ African Burying GroundÂ in the 1990s, during construction of a newÂ federal courthouseÂ nearÂ Foley Square, revealed that tens of thousands of Africans had been buried in the area in the colonial years.
The 1735 trial and acquittal in Manhattan ofÂ John Peter Zenger, who had been accused ofÂ seditious libelÂ after criticizing colonial governorÂ William Cosby, helped to establish theÂ freedom of the pressÂ in North America.Â In 1754,Â Columbia UniversityÂ was founded under charter byÂ King George IIÂ as King’s College in Lower Manhattan.
TheÂ Stamp Act CongressÂ met in New York in October 1765, as theÂ Sons of Liberty, organized in the city,Â skirmishedÂ over the next ten years with British troops stationed there.Â TheÂ Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of theÂ American Revolutionary War, was fought in August 1776 within the modern-day borough of Brooklyn.Â After the battle, in which the Americans were defeated, the British made the city their military and political base of operations in North America. The city was a haven forÂ LoyalistÂ refugees and escaped slaves who joined the British lines for freedom newly promised by the Crown for all fighters. As many as 10,000 escaped slaves crowded into the city during the British occupation. When the British forcesÂ evacuatedÂ at the close of the war in 1783, they transported 3,000Â freedmenÂ for resettlement inÂ Nova Scotia.Â They resettled otherÂ freedmenÂ in England and theÂ Caribbean.
The only attempt at a peaceful solution to the war took place at theÂ Conference HouseÂ on Staten Island between American delegates, includingÂ Benjamin Franklin, and British generalÂ Lord HoweÂ on September 11, 1776. Shortly after the British occupation began, theÂ Great Fire of New YorkÂ occurred, a large conflagration on theÂ West SideÂ of Lower Manhattan, which destroyed about a quarter of the buildings in the city, includingÂ Trinity Church.
In 1785, the assembly of theÂ Congress of the ConfederationÂ made New York City the national capital shortly after the war. New York was the last capital of the U.S. under theÂ Articles of ConfederationÂ and the first capital under theÂ Constitution of the United States. New York City as the U.S. capital hosted several events of national scope in 1789â€”the first President of the United States,Â George Washington, was inaugurated; the firstÂ United States CongressÂ and theÂ Supreme Court of the United StatesÂ each assembled for the first time; and theÂ United States Bill of RightsÂ was drafted, all atÂ Federal HallÂ on Wall Street.Â By 1790, New York had surpassedÂ PhiladelphiaÂ to become the largest city in the United States, but by the end of that year, pursuant to theÂ Residence Act, the national capital was moved to Philadelphia.
Over the course of the nineteenth century, New York City’s population grew from ~60,000 to ~3.43Â million.Â Under New York State’sÂ abolitionÂ act of 1799, children of slave mothers were to be eventually liberated but to be held inÂ indentured servitudeÂ until their mid-to-late twenties.Â Together with slaves freed by their masters after the Revolutionary War and escaped slaves, a significant free-black population gradually developed in Manhattan. Under such influentialÂ United States foundersÂ asÂ Alexander HamiltonÂ andÂ John Jay, theÂ New York Manumission SocietyÂ worked for abolition and established theÂ African Free SchoolÂ to educate black children.Â It was not until 1827 that slavery was completely abolished in the state, and free blacks struggled afterward with discrimination. New York interracial abolitionist activism continued; among its leaders were graduates of the African Free School. The city’s black population reached more than 16,000 in 1840.
In the 19th century, the city was transformed by development relating to its status as a national andÂ international trading center, as well as by European immigration.Â The city adopted theÂ Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which expanded the cityÂ street gridÂ to encompass almost all of Manhattan. The 1825 completion of theÂ Erie CanalÂ throughÂ central New YorkÂ connected the Atlantic port to the agricultural markets and commodities of the North American interior via theÂ Hudson RiverÂ and theÂ Great Lakes.Â Local politics became dominated byÂ Tammany Hall, aÂ political machineÂ supported byÂ IrishÂ andÂ German immigrants.
Several prominent AmericanÂ literary figuresÂ lived in New York during the 1830s and 1840s, includingÂ William Cullen Bryant,Â Washington Irving,Â Herman Melville,Â Rufus Wilmot Griswold,Â John Keese,Â Nathaniel Parker Willis, andÂ Edgar Allan Poe. Public-minded members of the contemporaneous business elite lobbied for the establishment ofÂ Central Park, which in 1857 became the firstÂ landscaped parkÂ in an American city.
TheÂ Great Irish FamineÂ brought a large influx of Irish immigrants; more than 200,000 were living in New York by 1860, upwards of a quarter of the city’s population.Â There was also extensive immigration from the German provinces, where revolutions had disrupted societies, and Germans comprised another 25% of New York’s population by 1860.
Democratic PartyÂ candidates were consistently elected to local office, increasing the city’s ties to the South and its dominant party. In 1861, MayorÂ Fernando WoodÂ called upon theÂ aldermenÂ to declare independence from Albany and the United States after the South seceded, but his proposal was not acted on.Â Anger at newÂ military conscriptionÂ laws during theÂ American Civil WarÂ (1861â€“1865), which spared wealthier men who could afford to pay a $300 (equivalent to $6,229 in 2019) commutation fee to hire a substitute,Â led to theÂ Draft Riots of 1863, whose most visible participants were ethnic Irish working class.
The draft riots deteriorated into attacks on New York’s elite, followed by attacks on black New Yorkers and their property after fierce competition for a decade between Irish immigrants and black people for work. Rioters burned the Colored Orphan Asylum to the ground, with more than 200 children escaping harm due to efforts of theÂ New York Police Department, which was mainly made up of Irish immigrants.Â At least 120 people were killed.Â Eleven black men were lynched over five days, and the riots forced hundreds of blacks to flee the city forÂ Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The black population in Manhattan fell below 10,000 by 1865, which it had last been in 1820. The white working class had established dominance.Â Violence by longshoremen against black men was especially fierce in the docks area.Â It was one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.
In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with theÂ consolidationÂ of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens.Â The opening of theÂ subwayÂ in 1904, first built as separate private systems, helped bind the new city together.Â Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication.
In 1904, theÂ steamshipÂ General SlocumÂ caught fire in theÂ East River, killing 1,021 people on board.Â In 1911, theÂ Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city’s worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of theÂ International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ UnionÂ and major improvements in factory safety standards.
New York’s non-white population was 36,620 in 1890.Â New York City was a prime destination in the early twentieth century for African Americans during theÂ Great MigrationÂ from the American South, and by 1916, New York City had become home to the largest urbanÂ African diasporaÂ in North America.Â TheÂ Harlem RenaissanceÂ of literary and cultural life flourished during the era ofÂ Prohibition.Â The larger economic boom generated construction of skyscrapers competing in height and creating an identifiableÂ skyline.
New York became the most populous urbanized area in the world in the early-1920s, overtaking London. The metropolitan area surpassed the 10Â million mark in the early-1930s, becoming the firstÂ megacityÂ in human history.Â The difficult years of theÂ Great DepressionÂ saw the election of reformerÂ Fiorello La GuardiaÂ as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.
ReturningÂ World War IIÂ veterans created a post-warÂ economic boomÂ and the development of largeÂ housing tractsÂ in eastern Queens andÂ Nassau CountyÂ as well as similar suburban areas in New Jersey. New York emerged from the war unscathed as the leading city of the world, withÂ Wall StreetÂ leading America’s place as the world’s dominant economic power. TheÂ United Nations HeadquartersÂ was completed in 1952, solidifying New York’s globalÂ geopoliticalÂ influence, and the rise ofÂ abstract expressionismÂ in the city precipitated New York’s displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.
TheÂ Stonewall riotsÂ were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of theÂ gay communityÂ against aÂ police raidÂ that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at theÂ Stonewall InnÂ in theÂ Greenwich VillageÂ neighborhood of Lower Manhattan.Â They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to theÂ gay liberationÂ movementÂ and the modern fight forÂ LGBT rights.Â Wayne R. Dynes, author of theÂ Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, wrote thatÂ drag queensÂ were the only “transgender folks around” during the June 1969Â Stonewall riots. “None of them in fact made a major contribution to the movement.”Â Others say theÂ transgenderÂ community in New York City played a significant role in fighting forÂ LGBT equalityÂ during the period of the Stonewall riots and thereafter.
In the 1970s, job losses due toÂ industrial restructuringÂ caused New York City to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates.Â While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city’s economic health in the 1980s, New York’s crime rate continued to increase through that decade and into the beginning of the 1990s.Â By the mid 1990s, crime rates started to drop dramatically due to revised police strategies, improving economic opportunities,Â gentrification, and new residents, both American transplants and new immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such asÂ Silicon Alley, emerged in the city’s economy.Â New York’s population reached all-time highs in theÂ 2000 censusÂ and then again in the 2010 census.
New York City suffered the bulk of the economic damage and largest loss of human life in the aftermath of theÂ September 11, 2001 attacks.Â Two of the four airliners highjacked that day were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, destroying them and killing 2,192 civilians, 343 firefighters, and 71 law enforcement officers. The North Tower became the tallest building ever to be destroyed anywhere then or subsequently.
The area was rebuiltÂ with a newÂ One World Trade Center, aÂ 9/11 memorial and museum, and other new buildings and infrastructure.Â TheÂ World Trade Center PATH station, which had opened on July 19, 1909 as the Hudson Terminal, was also destroyed in the attacks. A temporary station was built and opened on November 23, 2003. An 800,000-square-foot (74,000Â m2) permanent rail station designed byÂ Santiago Calatrava, theÂ World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the city’s third-largest hub, was completed in 2016.Â The new One World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in the Western HemisphereÂ and theÂ sixth-tallest building in the worldÂ byÂ pinnacleÂ height, with itsÂ spireÂ reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541.3Â m) in reference to the year ofÂ U.S. independence.
TheÂ Occupy Wall StreetÂ protests inÂ Zuccotti ParkÂ in theÂ Financial DistrictÂ of Lower Manhattan began on September 17, 2011, receiving global attention and popularizing theÂ Occupy movementÂ againstÂ socialÂ andÂ economic inequalityÂ worldwide.
In March 2020, the first confirmed case ofÂ COVID-19Â for the city was in Manhattan.Â As of June 2020, New York City had recordedÂ over 20,000 deathsÂ from COVID-19-related complications. The city was the U.S. epicenter of theÂ pandemicÂ during the early phase, before the infection spread nationwide. New York City partially-reopened in its first phase on June 8.Â It began phase two on June 22,Â and phase three on July 6.Â During the pandemic, a federal judge blocked MayorÂ Bill de BlasioÂ from enforcing restrictions on religious organizations to 25% when others operated at 50%.Â A federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination began in June by Catholic priests and Jewish congregants against GovernorÂ Andrew CuomoÂ and Mayor de Blasio.
During theÂ Wisconsin glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City area was situated at the edge of a largeÂ ice sheetÂ over 2,000 feet (610Â m) in depth.Â The erosive forward movement of the ice (and its subsequent retreat) contributed to the separation of what is nowÂ Long IslandÂ andÂ Staten Island. That action also leftÂ bedrockÂ at a relatively shallow depth, providing a solidÂ foundationÂ for most of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.
New York City is situated in theÂ northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway betweenÂ Washington, D.C.Â andÂ Boston. The location at the mouth of theÂ Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading port. Most of New York City is built on the three islands ofÂ Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
TheÂ Hudson RiverÂ flows through theÂ Hudson ValleyÂ intoÂ New York Bay. Between New York City andÂ Troy, New York, the river is anÂ estuary.Â The Hudson River separates the city from the U.S. state ofÂ New Jersey. TheÂ East Riverâ€”aÂ tidal straitâ€”flows fromÂ Long Island SoundÂ and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. TheÂ Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson rivers, separates most of Manhattan from the Bronx. TheÂ Bronx River, which flows through the Bronx andÂ Westchester County, is the only entirelyÂ freshwaterÂ river in the city.
The city’s land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerableÂ land reclamationÂ along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times; reclamation is most prominent inÂ Lower Manhattan, with developments such asÂ Battery Park CityÂ in the 1970s and 1980s.Â Some of the natural relief in topography has been evened out, especially in Manhattan.
The city’s total area is 468.484 square miles (1,213.37Â km2); 302.643Â sqÂ mi (783.84Â km2) of the city is land and 165.841Â sqÂ mi (429.53Â km2) of this is water.Â The highest point in the city isÂ Todt HillÂ on Staten Island, which, at 409.8 feet (124.9Â m)Â above sea level, is the highest point on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard south ofÂ Maine.Â The summit of the ridge is mostly covered inÂ woodlandsÂ as part of theÂ Staten Island Greenbelt.
New York City’sÂ five boroughs
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Sources:Â and see individual borough articles
New York CityÂ is sometimes referred to collectively as theÂ Five Boroughs.
There areÂ hundreds of distinct neighborhoodsÂ throughout the boroughs, many with a definable history and character. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States (Staten Island would be ranked 37th as of 2020); these same boroughs are coterminous with the four most densely populated counties in the United States: New York (Manhattan), Kings (Brooklyn), Bronx, and Queens.
ManhattanÂ (New York County) is the geographically smallest and most densely populated borough, is home toÂ Central ParkÂ and most of the city’s skyscrapers, and is sometimes locally known asÂ The City.Â Manhattan’s population density of 72,033 people per square mile (27,812/km2) in 2015 makes it theÂ highest of any county in the United StatesÂ andÂ higher than the density of any individual American city.Â Manhattan is the cultural, administrative, andÂ financial centerÂ of New York City and contains the headquarters of many majorÂ multinational corporations, theÂ United Nations Headquarters,Â Wall Street, and a number of important universities. Manhattan is often described as the financial and cultural center of the world.
Most of the borough is situated onÂ Manhattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River. Several small islands also compose part of the borough of Manhattan, includingÂ Randall’s Island,Â Wards Island, andÂ Roosevelt IslandÂ in the East River, andÂ Governors IslandÂ andÂ Liberty IslandÂ to the south inÂ New York Harbor. Manhattan Island is loosely divided into theÂ Lower,Â Midtown, andÂ UptownÂ regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into theÂ Upper East SideÂ and theÂ Upper West Side, and above the park isÂ Harlem. Harlem was predominantly occupied by Jewish and Italian Americans in the 19th century until theÂ Great Migration. It was the center of theÂ Harlem Renaissance.
The borough of Manhattan also includes a small neighborhood on the mainland, calledÂ Marble Hill, which is contiguous with the Bronx. New York City’s remaining four boroughs are collectively referred to as the Outer Boroughs.
BrooklynÂ (Kings County), on the western tip ofÂ Long Island, is the city’s most populous borough. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social, and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene,Â distinct neighborhoods, and a distinctive architectural heritage.Â Downtown BrooklynÂ is the largest central core neighborhood in the Outer Boroughs. The borough has a long beachfront shoreline includingÂ Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the U.S.Â Marine ParkÂ andÂ Prospect ParkÂ are the two largest parks in Brooklyn.Â Since 2010, Brooklyn has evolved into a thriving hub ofÂ entrepreneurshipÂ andÂ high technologyÂ startup firms,Â and ofÂ postmodern artÂ and design.
QueensÂ (Queens County), on Long Island north and east of Brooklyn, is geographically the largest borough, the mostÂ ethnically diverseÂ county in the United States,Â and the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.Â Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, the borough has since developed both commercial and residential prominence.Â Downtown FlushingÂ has become one of the busiest central core neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. Queens is the site ofÂ Citi Field, theÂ baseball stadiumÂ of theÂ New York Mets, and hosts the annualÂ U.S. Open tennis tournamentÂ atÂ Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Additionally, two of the three busiest airports serving the New York metropolitan area,Â John F. Kennedy International AirportÂ andÂ LaGuardia Airport, are located in Queens. The third isÂ Newark Liberty International AirportÂ inÂ Newark, New Jersey.
The BronxÂ (Bronx County) is New York City’s northernmost borough and the only New York City borough that lies mainly on the mainland United States. It is the location ofÂ Yankee Stadium, the baseball park of theÂ New York Yankees, and home to the largestÂ cooperatively owned housingÂ complex in the United States,Â Co-op City.Â It is also home to theÂ Bronx Zoo, the world’s largest metropolitan zoo,Â which spans 265 acres (1.07Â km2) and houses more than 6,000 animals.Â The Bronx is also the birthplace ofÂ rapÂ andÂ hip hop culture.Â Pelham Bay ParkÂ is the largest park in New York City, at 2,772 acres (1,122Â ha).
Staten IslandÂ (Richmond County) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by theÂ Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and to Manhattan by way of the freeÂ Staten Island Ferry, a dailyÂ commuterÂ ferry which provides unobstructed views of theÂ Statue of Liberty,Â Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, theÂ Staten Island GreenbeltÂ spans approximately 2,500 acres (10Â km2), including 28 miles (45Â km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city.Â Designated in 1984 to protect the island’s natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.
New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles and from distinct time periods, from the Dutch ColonialÂ Pieter Claesen Wyckoff HouseÂ in Brooklyn, the oldest section of which dates to 1656, to the modernÂ One World Trade Center, the skyscraper atÂ Ground ZeroÂ in Lower Manhattan and theÂ most expensive office towerÂ in the world by construction cost.
Manhattan’sÂ skyline, with its many skyscrapers, is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of theÂ tallest buildings in the world. As of 2019, New York City had 6,455 high-rise buildings, the third most in world after Hong Kong andÂ Seoul.Â Of these, as of 2011, 550 completed structures were at least 330 feet (100Â m) high, the second most in the world after Hong Kong,[failed verification]Â with more than fifty completedÂ skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200Â m).Â These include theÂ Woolworth Building, an early example ofÂ Gothic Revival architectureÂ in skyscraper design, built with massively scaled Gothic detailing; completed in 1913, for 17 years it was the world’s tallest building.
TheÂ 1916 Zoning ResolutionÂ requiredÂ setbacksÂ in new buildings and restricted towers to a percentage of theÂ lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.Â TheÂ Art DecoÂ style of theÂ Chrysler BuildingÂ (1930) andÂ Empire State BuildingÂ (1931), with their tapered tops and steelÂ spires, reflected the zoning requirements. The buildings have distinctive ornamentation, such as the eagles at the corners of the 61st floor on the Chrysler Building, and are considered some of the finest examples of theÂ Art DecoÂ style.Â A highly influential example of theÂ international styleÂ in the United States is theÂ Seagram BuildingÂ (1957), distinctive for its faÃ§ade using visible bronze-tonedÂ I-beamsÂ to evoke the building’s structure. TheÂ CondÃ© Nast BuildingÂ (2000) is a prominent example ofÂ green designÂ in American skyscrapersÂ and has received an award from theÂ American Institute of ArchitectsÂ and AIA New York State for its design.
The character of New York’s large residential districts is often defined by the elegantÂ brownstoneÂ rowhousesÂ andÂ townhousesÂ and shabbyÂ tenementsÂ that were built during a period of rapid expansion from 1870 to 1930.Â In contrast, New York City also has neighborhoods that are less densely populated and feature free-standing dwellings. In neighborhoods such asÂ RiverdaleÂ (in the Bronx),Â Ditmas ParkÂ (in Brooklyn), andÂ DouglastonÂ (in Queens), large single-family homes are common in various architectural styles such asÂ Tudor RevivalÂ andÂ Victorian.
Stone and brick became the city’s building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of theÂ Great Fire of 1835.Â A distinctive feature of many of the city’s buildings is the roof-mounted woodenÂ water tower. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes.Â Garden apartmentsÂ became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, such asÂ Jackson Heights.
According to theÂ United States Geological Survey, an updated analysis ofÂ seismic hazardÂ in July 2014 revealed a “slightly lower hazard for tall buildings” in New York City than previously assessed. Scientists estimated this lessened risk based upon a lower likelihood than previously thought of slow shaking near the city, which would be more likely to cause damage to taller structures from an earthquake in the vicinity of the city.
Under theÂ KÃ¶ppen climate classification, using the 0Â Â°C (32Â Â°F) isotherm, New York City features aÂ humid subtropical climateÂ (Cfa), and is thus the northernmost major city on the North American continent with this categorization. The suburbs to the immediate north and west lie in the transitional zone between humid subtropical andÂ humid continental climatesÂ (Dfa).Â By theÂ Trewartha classification, the city is defined as having anÂ oceanic climateÂ (Do).Â Annually, the city averages 234 days with at least some sunshine.Â The city lies in theÂ USDAÂ 7b plant hardiness zone.
Winters are chilly and damp, and prevailing wind patterns that blowÂ sea breezesÂ offshore temper the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean; yet the Atlantic and the partial shielding from colder air by theÂ Appalachian MountainsÂ keep the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities at similar or lesser latitudes such asÂ Pittsburgh,Â Cincinnati, andÂ Indianapolis. The daily mean temperature in January, the area’s coldest month, is 32.6Â Â°F (0.3Â Â°C);Â temperatures usually drop to 10Â Â°F (âˆ’12Â Â°C) several times per winter,Â and reach 60Â Â°F (16Â Â°C) several days in the coldest winter month. Spring and autumn are unpredictable and can range from cool to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically hot and humid, with a daily mean temperature of 76.5Â Â°F (24.7Â Â°C) in July.
Nighttime temperatures are often enhanced due to theÂ urban heat islandÂ effect. Daytime temperatures exceed 90Â Â°F (32Â Â°C) on average of 17 days each summer and in some years exceed 100Â Â°F (38Â Â°C), although this is a rare achievement, last occurring on July 23, 2011.Â Similarly, readings of 0Â Â°F (âˆ’18Â Â°C) are also extremely rare, last occurring on February 14, 2016.Â Extreme temperatures have ranged from âˆ’15Â Â°F (âˆ’26Â Â°C), recorded on February 9, 1934, up to 106Â Â°F (41Â Â°C) on July 9, 1936;Â the coldest recorded wind chill was âˆ’37Â Â°F (âˆ’38Â Â°C) on the same day as the all-time record low.Â The record cold daily maximum was 2Â Â°F (âˆ’17Â Â°C) on December 30, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum was 84Â Â°F (29Â Â°C), last recorded on July 22, 2011.Â The average water temperature of the nearby Atlantic Ocean ranges from 39.7Â Â°F (4.3Â Â°C) in February to 74.1Â Â°F (23.4Â Â°C) in August.
The city receives 49.9 inches (1,270Â mm) of precipitation annually, which is relatively evenly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall between 1981 and 2010 has been 25.8 inches (66Â cm); this varies considerably between years.Â HurricanesÂ andÂ tropical stormsÂ are rare in the New York area.Â Hurricane SandyÂ brought a destructiveÂ storm surgeÂ to New York City on the evening of October 29, 2012, flooding numerous streets, tunnels, and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts of the city and its suburbs.Â The storm and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructingÂ seawallsÂ and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of the city and the metropolitan area to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future.
The coldest month on record is January 1857, with a mean temperature of 19.6Â Â°F (âˆ’6.9Â Â°C) whereas the warmest months on record are July 1825 and July 1999, both with a mean temperature of 81.4Â Â°F (27.4Â Â°C).Â The warmest year on record is 2012, with a mean temperature of 57.4Â Â°F (14.1Â Â°C). The coldest year is 1836, with a mean temperature of 47.3Â Â°F (8.5Â Â°C).Â The driest month on record is June 1949, with 0.02 inches (0.51Â mm) of rainfall. The wettest month was August 2011, with 18.95 inches (481Â mm) of rainfall. The driest year on record is 1965, with 26.09 inches (663Â mm) of rainfall. The wettest year was 1983, with 80.56 inches (2,046Â mm) of rainfall.Â The snowiest month on record is February 2010, with 36.9 inches (94Â cm) of snowfall. The snowiest seasonÂ (Julâ€“Jun)Â on record is 1995â€“1996, with 75.6 inches (192Â cm) of snowfall. The least snowy season was 1972â€“1973, with 2.3 inches (5.8Â cm) of snowfall.Â The earliest seasonal trace of snowfall occurred on October 10, in both 1979 and 1925. The latest seasonal trace of snowfall occurred on May 9, in both 2020 and 1977.