New York City is situated along the Hudson River and encompasses the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queen, The Bronx and Staten Island. New York City, nicknamed The Big Apple, is the most populous city in the United States with approximately 8.5 million inhabitants. The city is renowned as a great commercial port and as the center of financial transactions where billions of dollars are traded in the New York Stock Exchange. New York is also famous for its iconic bridges, skyscrapers, the Broadway Theater District and the picturesque Times Square where people gather to celebrate New Year.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift of international friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States. The colossal sculpture was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and it was opened to the public in 1886.
The interior of the Statue of Liberty has a steel framework designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same engineer who created the Eiffel tower in Paris. Ferries provide transportation to both Liberty Island (site of the Statue of Liberty) and Ellis Island. One ferry ticket provides access to both islands.
Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States from 1892 until 1954. The building that once received the immigrants has been converted into a museum of immigration since 1990.
The United States has been called a great melting pot where all immigrants become "American", but New York is different. People have come from different corners of the world and created communities that preserve their cultural traditions. There is a Chinatown teeming with Asian immigrants, a Russian community in Brighton Beach, as well as Little Italy in Manhattan.
Things are changing, though. During my visit to the Amici II restaurant, I noticed that most of the workers in the kitchen are recent Latin American immigrants, rather than Italian.
New York is famous for its delicatessens that offer a variety of ready-to-eat foods. Many apartments in New York do not have kitchens and people eat out a lot of the time. For breakfast, you can order omelettes, and for lunch and dinner there is a great variety of sandwiches.
Times Square is a major commercial intersection and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue that stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. The place is like a circus show where people in costumes try to earn money by posing for pictures with the multitude of tourists. There are superheroes such as Ironman and the Incredible Hulk. There are black and white guys portraying the Naked Cowboy wearing only jockey briefs, a hat and a guitar, and various versions of Wonder Woman wearing not much more than body paint.
The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper that was the world's tallest building from 1931 until 1970 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were completed. The twin towers were destroyed when Islamic terrorists crashed hijacked airplanes into them. The twin towers have been replaced by a single tower which is now the highest building in New York. The Empire State Building has been featured in many films, including a 1933 version of King Kong where the great ape climbs it trying to escape his captors. The Chrysler Building is another skyscraper famous for its Art Deco style.
The Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings developed in 1930 that include a skyscraper housing the headquarters of NBC and most of the network's New York TV studios. There is a plaza adjacent to the great tower that is used as a cafe during the summer and as an ice skating rink in the winter. A golden statue of Prometheus provides a spectacular background. In Greek mythology, Prometheus is the god who gave fire to mankind.
The top of the Rockefeller Center, called Top of the Rock, has three levels of viewing galleries that provide an unobstructed view of the skyscrapers in Manhattan.
New York has very busy streets. It is almost impossible to drive a car in Manhattan. When you consider the cost of parking and its scarcity, it is generally cheaper to ride a cab. The city also has a subway system with many stations in Manhattan and other boroughs.
As might be expected, many people come to New York searching for opportunities and a better life. Walking along the sidewalks, sometimes one finds persons who sleep on the streets. Businesses encourage these people to move along to avoid giving an unpleasant image for the customers. The firehose stand pipe below has been fitted with sharp points to keep people from using it as a bench.
New York has many museums and art galleries, such as the Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a military and maritime history museum that has been established in the decomissioned aircraft carrier anchored at Pier 86 at the intersection of West 46th St. and 12th Avenue. The museum houses a variety of vintage aircraft, including the Concorde which was a commercial supersonic airplane that could cross the Atlantic Ocean in less than three hours, and the A-12 Blackbird, a research spy plane that could fly at three times the speed of sound, faster than a speeding bullet. The Intrepid Museum also houses the Space Shuttle Enterprise which was used to perform test flights in the atmosphere prior to the development of the Columbia, Challenger and Endeavour shuttles.
In addition to the delicatessens, New York has many great restaurants. Some are renowned for their decor, like the expensive Russian Tea Room, while others provide just good food without much fanfare.
Walking near Times Square, we discovered the Via Brasil Restaurant on 34 West 46th Street. It had live music, excellent food and courteous service at reasonable prices. Here is a sampling of what we ordered.
New York has many tourist attractions and amenities. You will discover something new every time that you visit the city.