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New York City (or NYC) -- officially, "City of New York," and affectionately known as "The Big Apple" -- is the largest city of the state of New York and in the United States, and by many measures, one of the most important cities in the world. The city is probably the world's most important financial center, and one of the most important cultural centers of the Western world. The United Nations headquarters is in New York City, giving some credence to the city's self-designation as "capital of the world".
New York is also the location of what was, according to many experts, the most devastating act of terrorism in modern history: the September 11, 2001 attack that utterly destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center and several surrounding buildings.
The City of New York is composed of 5 boroughs, each a county of New York State:
The boroughs, although legally counties, do not have separate county governments. Each borough elects a Borough President, but under the current city charter, the Borough President's powers are limited--he or she has a small discretionary budget to spend on projects within the borough. (The last significant power of the borough presidents -- to appoint a member of the Board of Education -- was abolished, with the board, on June 30th, 2002.)
New York City is amongst the most densely populated places in the United States. The population of the City of New York is more than eight million (2000 US Census), with the population of the entire metropolitan area at around 20 million. The land area of the city is 831 square kilometers. (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/lufacts)
A resident of New York City is a New Yorker. Residents generally refer to New York City (or just Manhattan) as "New York" or "the city". Ambiguity is resolved by writing "NYS" for the state and "NYC" for the city.
See also: New York Minute
New York has had a reputation as a crime-ridden city, partly due to the hundreds of TV and cinematic crime dramas set in it. In fact, the city has a high crime rate compared to the United States of America at large, but a relatively low rate compared to other North American cities. In addition, New York has been growing safer for most of the last decade--FBI data indicate that the murder rate in 2000 was the lowest since 1967.
The current mayor of New York City is Michael Bloomberg, elected in 2001 on the Republican ticket. Bloomberg had come to prominence as an expert on Wall Street, which had brought him great wealth, but the mayoralty is his first political office. Bloomberg had been a Democrat until only a short time earlier, but switched to the Republican Party to run for mayor, in order to avoid a crowded Democratic primary. Bloomberg succeeded Rudy Giuliani, who actively supported Bloomberg as his successor.
Giuliani had been a very controversial mayor. His bid for United States Senator from New York State was aborted by treatment for cancer and controversy over his affair with Judith Nathan. He handled the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster well, providing much-needed leadership, and greatly increased his popularity.
Although New York's harbour was first discovered by Giovanni da Verrazano during his expedition of 1524, the history of New York City properly begins with the Dutch settlement of 1624. That town, at the southern tip of Manhattan, was called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam), and was the main city of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. The Dutch origins can still be seen in many names in New York City, such as Brooklyn (from Breukelen), Harlem (from Haarlem), The Bronx (from Pieter Bronck) and Staten Island. The island of Manhattan was in some measure self-selected as a future metropolis by its extraordinary natural harbor formed by New York Bay (actually an arm of the Atlantic Ocean), the East River (actually a tidal strait) and the Hudson River, all of which are confluent at the southern tip, from which all later development spread. Also of prime importance was the presence of deep fresh water aquifers near the southern tip, especially the Collect Pond[?].
In 1664, British ships captured the city, with minimal resistance: the governor at the time, Peter Stuyvesant, was unpopular with the residents of the city. The British renamed the colony New York, after James II of England, who sponsored the takeover and who was at that time the Duke of York. The city grew northward, and remained the largest and most important city in the colony of New York.
St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time at the Crown and Thistle Tavern on March 17, 1756. This holiday has since become a yearly city-wide celebration that is famous around the world as the St. Patricks's Day Parade[?].
The building of the Erie Canal, in the 1820s, helped the city grow further by increasing river traffic upstate and to the west. By 1835 Manhattan overtook Philadelphia as the most populous city and established itself as the financial and mercantile capital of the western hemisphere. A nearly pure form of capitalism created a large upper-middle and upper class, but its need for manpower encouraged immigration on an unprecedented scale, with mixed results. The famed melting pot was brought into being, from which multitudes have since arisen in the successful pursuit of the "American Dream". But countless others failed to rise, or entire generations were forced to plough themselves under for their children or grandchildren to rise. In the mid-1800s these antipodes could be found in the fabulously rich stretches of lower Broadway (wealth that would later take up residence on Fifth Avenue[?]) and the almost unbelievably squalid enclave of Five Points (abject poverty later to take up residence in the Lower East Side[?]).
The modern city of New York -- the five boroughs -- was created in 1898, as the merger of the cities of New York (then Manhattan and the Bronx) and Brooklyn with the largely rural areas of Queens and Staten Island.
Geography According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,214.4 km² (468.9 mi²). 785.6 km² (303.3 mi²) of it is land and 428.8 km² (165.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 35.31% water.
Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 8,008,278 people, 3,021,588 households, and 1,852,233 families residing in the city. The population density is 10,194.2/km² (26,402.9/mi²). There are 3,200,912 housing units at an average density of 4,074.6/km² (10,553.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 44.66% White, 26.59% African American, 0.52% Native American, 9.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.42% from other races, and 4.92% from two or more races. 26.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 3,021,588 households out of which 29.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% are married couples living together, 19.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.59 and the average family size is 3.32.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $38,293, and the median income for a family is $41,887. Males have a median income of $37,435 versus $32,949 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,402. 21.2% of the population and 18.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.0% are under the age of 18 and 17.8% are 65 or older.
See also New York City Transit Police.