|New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world's most important and influential cities. It is home to a nearly unrivaled number of world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres. Some of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most of countries have a consulate here. |
Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.
The focus of interest for most travelers are the areas in and around Manhattan island. When most people think of New York, they think of Manhattan and in fact, Manhattan is generally referred to as "the city", while the other four boroughs are typically called "the Outer Boroughs". The island of Manhattan is long and narrow, positioned squarely within the harbour of New York and separated from the Outer Boroughs and New Jersey by the Hudson River (to the west), the East River (actually a tidal strait between Manhattan and Long Island), and the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait between Manhattan and the Bronx).
The diverse population includes some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites, as well as hundreds of thousands of immigrants. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration-- first Dutch, then British, African-American, Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Eastern European, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Korean, African, Arab-- make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. In Manhattan, Little Italy remains an operating (if touristy and increasingly Chinese) Italian enclave, though many New Yorkers consider Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to be the "real" Little Italy. Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York's Chinese community, though in recent years the much larger Chinese neighborhood of Flushing in Queens has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and another Chinatown has formed in Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the newly-gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chassidic communities in Borough Park and Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying lately but remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of West Harlem and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, Mexicans, Haitians, Koreans and Japanese, amongst others.
Home to more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the country, the Big Apple is the engine of the US economy. Its gross metropolitan product of US$488.8 billion in 2003 was the largest of any city in the United States and the sixth largest if compared to any U.S. state. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th highest GDP in the world, exceeding that of Russia.
New York is the national center for numerous industries. It is the home of the three largest American stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and a wide array of banking and investment firms. Though these companies have traditionally been located in the area around Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, many can also be found in Midtown and other parts of the city. In addition to the financial sector, New York is also the hub of the country's publishing, accounting, advertising, media, and legal industries.