New York City
The City of New York, commonly called New York City and New York, has been the most populous city in the United States since 1790, while the New York metropolitan area ranks among the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city located in the state of New York, it exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of United Nations headquarters, New York is also an important center for international affairs.
With a large harbor located on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's estimated population exceeds 8.2 million people  living in just under 305 square miles (790 km2), making New York City the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 18.8 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2).
New York is notable among American cities for its high use of mass transit, much of which runs 24 hours, and for the overall density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States. The city is sometimes referred to as "The City that Never Sleeps", while other nicknames include Gotham and the Big Apple.
New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under British control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.
Many neighborhoods and landmarks in the city have become world-famous. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.
New York is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting, and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco and Tin Pan Alley in music. It is the home of Broadway theater.
New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston. The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading city. Much of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.
The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary. The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River, actually a tidal strait, flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates Manhattan from the Bronx.
The city's land has been altered considerably by human intervention, with substantial land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most notable in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, particularly in Manhattan.
The city's land area is estimated at 304.8 square miles (789 km2). New York City's total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 square miles (425 km2) of this is water and 304.8 square miles (789 km2) is land. The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine. The summit of the ridge is largely covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.
Under the Köppen climate classification, New York City has a humid subtropical climate and enjoys an average of 234 sunshine days annually. It's the northernmost major city in North America that features a humid subtropical climate using the 0 °C (American scientist standard) isotherm as criteria.
Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 79 – 84 °F (26 – 29 °C) and lows of 63 – 69 °F (17 – 21 °C), however temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 16 – 19 days each summer and can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) every 4-6 years.. Winters are cold, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore somewhat minimizes the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, the Atlantic Ocean keeps the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities located at similar latitudes such as Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The average temperature in January, New York City's coldest month, is 32 °F (0 °C). However temperatures in winter could for few days be as low as 10s to 20s °F (-12 to -6 °C) and for a few days be as high as 50s or 60s °F (~10–15 °C). Spring and autumn are erratic, and could range from chilly to warm, although they are usually pleasantly mild with low humidity.
New York City receives 49.7 inches (1,260 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall is about 24.4 inches (62 cm), but this often varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains very short. Hurricanes and tropical storms are very rare in New York area, but not unheard of.
Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in United States and gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s. New York City's high rate of transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006; New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide. The city's population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States. New York City's greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5. New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions though comprise 2.7% of the nation's population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.
In recent years the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York City led to high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents. The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing. New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis. The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.
New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration process, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants.
New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government. Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.
* The Bronx (Bronx County: Pop. 1,373,659) is New York City's northernmost borough, the site of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. Except for a small piece of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and is home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.
* Manhattan (New York County: Pop. 1,620,867) is the most densely populated borough and home to most of the city's skyscrapers, as well as Central Park. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, as well as a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions, including numerous museums, the Broadway theatre district, Greenwich Village, and Madison Square Garden. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.
* Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,528,050) is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a unique architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown area. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.
* Queens (Queens County: Pop. 2,270,338) is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, and may overtake Brooklyn as the city's most populous borough due to its growth. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is largely residential and middle class. It is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. (The third being Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.)
* Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 481,613) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan via the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 25 km² Greenbelt has some 35 miles (56 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks. The FDR Boardwalk along South Beach is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, the fourth largest in the world.
New York is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 2007 population of 8,274,527 (up from 7.3 million in 1990). This amounts to about 40% of New York State's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. Over the last decade the city's population has been increasing and demographers estimate New York's population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.
New York's two key demographic features are its population density and cultural diversity. The city's population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²) makes it the most densely populated American municipality with a population above 100,000. Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²), highest of any county in the United States.
New York City is exceptionally diverse. Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants; the term melting pot was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. Today, 36,7% of the city's population is foreign-born and another 3.9% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents.  Among American cities, this proportion is exceeded only by Los Angeles and Miami. While the immigrant communities in those cities are dominated by a few nationalities, in New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest countries of origin for modern immigration are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Russia. About 170 languages are spoken in the city.
The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel; Tel Aviv proper (non-metro/within municipal limits) has a smaller population than the Jewish population of New York City proper, making New York the largest Jewish community in the world. About 12% of New Yorkers are Jewish or of Jewish descent and roots. It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian Americans, and the largest African American community of any city in the United States.
The five largest ethnic groups as of the 2005 census estimates are: Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans and Chinese. The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside of Puerto Rico. Italians emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century. The Irish, the sixth largest ethnic group, also have a notable presence; one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes inherited from Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the fifth century A.D.
At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 45.3% White (35.1% non-Hispanic White alone), 26.2% Black or African American (23.7% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.7% American Indian and Alaska Native, 12.1% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 17.7% from some other race and 1.9% from two or more races. 27.4% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 
New York City has a high degree of income disparity. In 2005 the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320. The disparity is driven by wage growth in high income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest and fastest growing among the largest counties in the United States. The borough is also experiencing a baby boom that is unique among American cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.
Home ownership in New York City is about 33%, much lower than the national average of 69%. Rental vacancy is usually between 3% and 4.5%, well below the 5% threshold defined to be a housing emergency and used to justify the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization. About 33% of rental units are rent-stabilized. Finding housing, particularly affordable housing, in New York City can be more than challenging.
Unlike any other major city in the United States, public transit is the most popular way to get around. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit. About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York and its suburbs. This is in contrast to the rest of the country, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace. New York is the only city in the United States where more than half of all households do not own a car[not in citation given] (in Manhattan, more than 75% of residents do not own a car;[not in citation given] nationally, the percentage is 8%). According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes per day getting to work, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities.
New York City is served by Amtrak, which uses Pennsylvania Station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor as well as long-distance train service to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.
The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by the number of stations in operation, with 468. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.5 billion passenger trips in 2006). New York's subway is also notable because nearly all of the system remains open 24 hours per day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including London, Paris, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo. The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America, the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel, more than 12,000 yellow cabs, an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, and a ferry system connecting Manhattan to various locales within and outside the city. The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry, which annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island. The "PATH" train (short for Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway system going under the Hudson River, linking the New York City subway to points in northeast New Jersey.
New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America. The rail network, connecting the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.
New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States. The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans for a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, NY, to be taken over and enlarged by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which administers the other three airports), as a "reliever" airport to help cope with increasing passenger volume. 100 million travelers used the three airports in 2005 and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation. Outbound international travel from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004.
New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%.
To complement New York's vast mass transit network, the city also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, that link New York City to northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwest Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of suburban residents who commute into New York, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour. The George Washington Bridge is considered one of the world's busiest bridges in terms of vehicle traffic.
Despite New York's reliance on public transit, roads are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street and Madison Avenue are also used as shorthand in the American vernacular for national industries located there: the theater, finance, and advertising organizations, respectively.