New York (official name is City of New York) is the largest city in the United States, the most densely populated city in North America and one of the world's most popular and major global cities. New York City, located in the state of New York, today is an international center for business, finance, entertainment, media, and culture. The city houses the headquarters of the United Nations, and a variety of the world's most famous skyscrapers.
New York City has a population of over 8 million people contained within 309 square miles (800 km2), and is the heart of the New York Metropolitan Area, which is one of the largest urban conglomerations in the world with a population of over 22 million. New York City proper comprises five separate counties, which are called boroughs and together cover 786 sq km (303 sq mi): Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, all of which can be considered the cities themselves.
Originally the city included only the borough of Manhattan, which is located on an island between the Hudson and the East Rivers. In 1898 a number of surrounding communities were incorporated into the city as the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. The Bronx is the only borough on the land of the United States. Both Manhattan and Staten Island are surrounded by water, Queens and Brooklyn are the part of Long Island.
Queens is the largest of the five boroughs. Covering 282.9 sq km (109.2 sq mi) at the western end of Long Island, Queens is separated from Brooklyn by Newtown It is overwhelmingly residential and probably the most ethnically diverse community in the world. In 2000 Queens had 1,951,598 residents and was second in population after Brooklyn among the five boroughs. Major ethnic concentrations include the Greeks in Astoria; the Irish in Woodside; the Italians in Maspeth and Ridgewood; African-Americans in Hollis, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, and South Jamaica; and Jews in Forest Hills. Large numbers of Chinese and Koreans live in Queens.
The famous places in Queens include Shea Stadium, Aqueduct Racetrack, the National Tennis Center, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports. Queens hosted the World's Fairs of 1939 and 1964. Queens has more than 6,400 acres of parkland, almost as much as the other four boroughs combined, and it has 16 km (10 mi) of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Queens is known for its numerous and enormous cemeteries. For example, Calvary Cemetery is the burial site of 2.5 million persons, more than any other burial ground in the United States.
Brooklyn is the second largest of the five boroughs by area and population. It is located on the southwestern tip of Long Island west of Queens and situated across the Upper Bay and the East River from Manhattan. The borough has a land area of 182.9 sq km (70.6 sq mi). Brooklyn retains a strong separate identity. It has an important central business district and dozens of varied and clearly identifiable neighborhoods, including Bedford Stuyvesant, the largest black community in the United States, and Williamsburgh, Crown Heights, and Borough Park, all of which have large populations of Orthodox Jews.
Brooklyn is the home of such major cultural institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Coney Island is well known for its beaches and amusement parks. Prospect Park, a landscaped area of broad drives and wooded hills, contains a restored carousel dating from 1912 and the Lefferts Homestead, a Dutch colonial farmhouse dating from 1783.
Staten Island is the third largest and least populous of the five boroughs. It is located at the juncture of Upper New York Bay and Lower New York Bay. The island is physically closer to New Jersey, to which it is connected by four bridges, than to the rest of New York City, to which it is connected only by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the world-famous Staten Island Ferry. Staten Island encompasses 151.5 sq km (58.5 sq mi).
Staten Island has dozens of distinct neighborhoods or towns, and it has the highest proportion of single-family housing and owner-occupied housing in the city. Staten Island has many homes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Of special interest are the Conference House (1680), where futile peace negotiations were held between the British and American representatives in 1776 during the American Revolution (1775-1783), and the Voorlezer's House (1695), the nation's oldest surviving elementary school building.
Other attractions include the Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art and the Staten Island Zoo. A memorial to Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, who lived on Staten Island in the 1850s, is located in the borough.
The Bronx is the fourth largest and the northernmost of the five boroughs, and the only one on the American mainland. Even so, it is surrounded by water on three sides: Long Island Sound on the east, the Harlem and East rivers on the south, and Hudson River on the west. Encompassing 109 sq km (42 sq mi).
Largely residential, the Bronx includes dozens of vibrant neighborhoods. Fieldston is particularly elegant, with great stone houses set among spacious lawns and privately-maintained streets, while Belmont has become the city's most authentically Italian section. The areas along Pelham Parkway and the northern reaches of the Grand Concourse are particularly prized, because the apartment buildings are well kept and the public parks are easily accessible. City Island retains the charm of a small fishing village.
The borough's many attractions include the world-famous Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, and the New York Botanical Garden. The Bronx also includes two of the largest middle-income housing projects in the United States. Parkchester, built between 1938 and 1942 for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, houses 40,000 people in apartment buildings arranged along well-planned circular drives. Co-op City is even larger, with 35 apartment towers, 236 townhouses, and more than 50,000 residents. Built between 1968 and 1970 on marshland near the Hutchinson River Parkway, it is the largest single housing complex in the nation.
Manhattan, or New York County, is the smallest of the five boroughs of New York City. The borough consists principally of the island of Manhattan, but also includes Governors Island, Randalls Island, Wards Island, Roosevelt Island, U Thant Island, and Marble Hill, a small enclave on the edge of the Bronx mainland. Its land area is 59.5 sq km (23 sq mi). Manhattan's population peaked in 1910 with 2.3 million people, after which it began a slow decline to 1.4 million in 1980. Since then, the population has again begun to increase, reaching 1,487,536 in 2000.
Manhattan is the glittering heart of the metropolis. It is the site of virtually all of the hundreds of skyscrapers that are the symbol of the city. Among the more famous of these are the Empire State Building (1931), the Chrysler Building (1930), and Citicorp Center (1977). Manhattan is also the oldest, densest, and most built-up part of the entire urbanized region.
Other noteworthy buildings include City Hall (1802-1811), a Federal-style building with French Renaissance detail; the Seagram Building (1958), an office tower clad in bronze and bronze-colored glass; and Grant's Tomb (1897), the tomb of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife.
Manhattan is the center of New York's cultural life. Numerous stage and motion picture theaters are located around Broadway in Midtown, which includes Times Square.