New York is the biggest city in the USA. The number of inhabitants is about 18 million. It belongs to the largest cities in the world. It is sometimes called “The Big Apple”. New York has five major parts: Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island (Richmond), and Brooklyn. The black quarter - Harlem - is in the northern part of Manhattan.
The original inhabitants were the Indians, which is remembered by the name of the oldest part - Manhattan Island. This island lies in the place where the Hudson River exits into the Atlantic Ocean. The island is washed by the Hudson River and the East River. This island was bought by the Dutch in the 17th century for goods worth 25 US dollars, and the Dutch also established their first city here. The original name was New Amsterdam, but soon they were pushed out by the predominance of English colonists. It´s interesting to know that in the southern part of Manhattan, there used to be a wall against Indians, and now there is Wall Street - the centre of financial life.
The city was built on a modern plan of streets and avenues, which are numbered. Streets run east-west and avenues north-south. Only a few of them have names, e. g. Wall Street and Broadway. Broadway is the centre of cultural life. Most of the entertainment is concentrated there (e. g. the Metropolitan Opera or Carnegie Hall).
New York is famous for its Manhattan skyline - a large number of skyscrapers on a small area. They started to build skyscrapers here because the price of land on the island was very high. The first skyscraper was built in 1903. Today they are built with the help of computers. In fact, the skyscrapers are small towns. We can find residential quarters here as well as offices, parking lots, restaurants, shops, fitness centers, and swimming pools. Living here is very expensive.
The highest skyscraper in New York is The Empire State Building. It was built in 1931 and has 102 floors and is 1250 feet high. It´s interesting to know that on the top of the skyscraper there are a TV tower and a restaurant. There are also many others - e. g. the Chrysler Building, the PanAm Building and the UN building.
The only quiet place is Central Park is where famous rock concerts take place. We can go there to relax by walking or jogging.
There are many attractive places where visitors like to go in New York. The most known bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge. There are many islands in this area - Roosevelt Island, Coney Island, and Liberty Island with the Statue of Liberty (It´s a copy of a small statue given to the USA by France as the symbol of the friendship between these two nations, as well as being a symbol of freedom).
In New York, about one hundred languages are spoken. There are different communities of people living together, e.g. there is a big Jewish community, the second biggest after Israel, and an Italian community called Little Italy. Being in this quarter means that you feel as if you were in Italy there. There is also a French Quarter, Harlem, originally a quarter of the black.
N.Y. is called a Melting Pot because it is a cosmopolitan city, which means that people of different nationalities from the whole world have been living here. That´s why about 100 languages are spoken here. The main language is English although in the southern states of the US Spanish prevails, as in Arizona.
The first European settlement in what is now Harlem was made by Dutch settlers and was formalized in 1658 as Nieuw Haarlem (or New Haarlem), after the Dutch city of Haarlem. In the 19th century, Harlem was a place of farms.
With the construction of railways during the 19th century, the urbanization of this place and its development occurred very rapidly, with townhouses, apartments, and tenements springing up practically overnight. By the early 1900s, Harlem's population was German, German Jewish, and Eastern European Jewish. Having something in common with many other Jewish neighborhoods, Jewish Harlem was an ephemeral entity. By 1930, only 5,000 Jews remained, down from the 1917 peak in population of 150,000. The area of Harlem by the East River, now known as Spanish Harlem, became occupied by Italians. Italian Harlem is gone as well, though it lasted longer than Jewish Harlem (traces of Italian Harlem lasted into the 1970s, in the area around Pleasant Avenue). The number of black residents increased rapidly in the early 20th century, and Central Harlem was essentially entirely black by 1920.
There was little investment in private homes or businesses in the neighborhood between 1911 and the 1990s. There were great differences between the citizen who lived in Harlem and the others who lived in other parts of N.Y., for example, a typical white working class family in New York paid $6.67 per month per room, while blacks in Harlem paid $9.50 for the same space. Inadequate housing contributed to racial unrest and health problems. However, the lack of development also preserved buildings from the 1870 - 1910 building boom, and Harlem as a result has many of the finest original townhouses in New York. By the 1980s, 60% of the buildings in Harlem were owned by the City of New York, and many had become empty shells, convenient centers for drug dealing and other antisocial activity. The lack of habitable buildings and a falling population reduced tax rolls and made the neighborhood even less attractive to residential and retail investment.
After years of false starts, Harlem began to see rapid gentrification in the late 1990s. This was driven by changing federal and city policies, including fierce crime-fighting and a concentrated effort to develop the retail corridor on 125th Street. Starting in 1994, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone funneled money into new developments including the Harlem USA retail complex. Finally, wealthier New Yorkers, having gentrified every other part of Manhattan and much of Brooklyn, had nowhere else to go.