New York


New York is the biggest city in the United States with a population of over 8 million . It lies along the Hudson River in the southeast corner of the state that has the same name. New York is always alive – a “city that never sleeps”.



New York is made up of five districts, called boroughs.

  • Manhattan is the central part of New York. It is the smallest district with an area of only 60 square kilometres. All of the city’s major banks and the stock exchanges can be found here. It is the seat of the city’s government and the home of cultural institutions.
  • Brooklyn is a major seaport and the centre of industry. It has the most residents of all boroughs and is known as the district of churches and homes.
  • Queens is the largest of New York’s boroughs. It consists of rows of single-family houses and is often referred to as the city’s biggest suburb. Whites, Hispanics and Blacks live together in Queens.
  • The Bronx , a residential district with many apartment buildings, is the only borough situated on the mainland.
  • For many years Staten Island could only be reached by ferry. Today, the borough is connected with Brooklyn through the Verrazano – Narrows Bridge. The opening of this bridge in 1964 led many New Yorkers to move to Staten Island.






New York is a melting pot of different nationalities with people who have their origins all over the world. Hispanics, African Americans and people of European origin make up most of the city’s population. Ellis Island, not far from the Statue of Liberty, was once the main entry point for the millions of immigrants who have come to America in the past two centuries.

The first immigrants came from England, Germany and Scandinavia at the beginning of the 19th century. Between 1880 and 1930 Eastern Europeans, Italians and the Irish came to America. After World War II Asians, Cubans and Hispanics came to New York in large numbers. The city also has the largest Jewish community in the world.




For over a hundred years the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of the United States. It stands on Liberty Island and was a gift that France gave to the USA in 1886 as a symbol of friendship between the two countries . With its pedestal made of concrete the statue has a height of 93 metres. It represents a woman looking out over the harbour. On her head is a crown and in her hand a torch. Although tourists can go up to the observation deck in the crown, the torch itself is closed to all visitors.

Times Square, where 42 nd Street and Broadway meet, is often called Crossroads of the World. Millions of people see it on television every New Year’s Eve. It got its name because the New York Times building was originally located there. Today it is home to theatres and cinemas with many electronic billboards surrounding the square.



The Empire State Building is one of the best known buildings in the world. Located in the middle of Manhattan, the steel framed structure has 102 storeys and a height of 381 metres. Built in 1931, it was the first building of such a tremendous height. For over twenty years it was the tallest building in the world and the tallest building of New York until the construction of the World Trade Centre in the 1970s. The building has appeared in famous films like King Kong and Superman. About 2 million tourists visit the Empire State Building every year.

Central Park is the largest and most important public park in Manhattan. It extends for about 4km and has an area of 340 hectares. The park includes lakes, ice rinks, fountains, playgrounds, bicycle paths and other facilities. When it was built in the 1840s the park was far away from the city’s centre. Some of it was farming area another part was swampy, wet land that had to be laid dry. It took 20,000 workers more than 15 years to remove thousands of trees and complete the park.

Brooklyn Bridge, built between 1869 and 1883 connects Manhattan with New York’s most populous borough, Brooklyn. The 1.5 km long bridge, which spans the East River, is one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 19 th century.



New York is often said to be the cultural centre of the United States. Many famous museums are at home in the city. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a huge collection of over 2,000 European and 4,000 American paintings, sculptures and drawings. Other famous museums are the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.

New York City is especially popular among theatre-goers. The greatest theatre district in the world is around Times Square and Broadway. About 40 theatres offer a wide range of dramas, musicals and comedy shows.

Music lovers can attend performances of New York’s Metropolitan Opera or concerts of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.



Like many modern megacities New York also has great traffic problems. Most foreign travellers get to New York through John F. Kennedy International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, situated in the south-eastern part of the city.

Public transport centres on a subway system which is the largest in the world. It is over 300 km long, has over 400 stations and is used by almost 4 million people every day. Because New York is such a large city many people tend to walk or, when in a hurry, go by one of the thousands of Yellow Cabs that cruise around.



The first Europeans were explorers who were impressed by the area’s natural harbour. In 1609 the English navigator Henry Hudson sailed up the river that is today named after him. In 1626 the Dutch set up a trading post at the southern tip of Manhattan and called it New Amsterdam. In the same year they bought Manhattan from the Indians who lived there.

The British took over the colony in 1664 and named it after the Duke of York. After the American Revolution New York became America’s first capital , but only for a short time. Back then about 33,000 people lived there.

In the early part of the 19 th century waves of European immigrants started to come to the city. They usually worked for little money, helped boost the economy and made New York the largest city in the country. The rapid growth of the city also created problems: crime, poverty, overpopulation and pollution. In the 1970s the city went through a big economic crisis. It didn’t have enough money to pay its bills and almost went bankrupt , but recovered again some years later.

In recent years the city has become the target of terrorist activities. In 1993 a car bomb exploded in the basement of the World Trade Centre, killing six people. The city’s darkest hour came on September 11 th , 2001 when terrorists hijacked two planes and flew them into the World Trade Centre. Both buildings collapsed— the attack killed almost three thousand people. In April 2006 developers began constructing a skyscraper called Freedom Tower at the place where the World Trade Centre once stood.



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Related Topics



  • 9/11 = another name for September 11, 2001, when the attacks on New York and Washington took place
  • achievement = something important that you have done
  • American Revolution = war in which the British colonies in America became independent
  • appear = show
  • area =the size of an object
  • attend = go to
  • bankrupt = when you don’t have enough money to pay for things
  • basement = underground floor of a building
  • bill = written list that shows how much you have to pay for something
  • boost = improve; to make better
  • busy = here: many planes take off and land ; active
  • cab = taxi
  • capital = the main city of a country ; where the government is
  • centre = focus on
  • collapse = fall down
  • community = here: population, group of people
  • complete = finish
  • concrete = material that is made by mixing sand, cement and water—it is used for building houses
  • connect = link
  • consist = to be made up of
  • construction = building
  • crossroad =an important or central place
  • crown = a circle made of gold and jewels that kings and queens have on their heads
  • cruise = travel around
  • developer = person who buys land and plans to build something new on it
  • district = part of a city
  • economic =everything related to business and money
  • economy =the buying and selling of things in a country
  • electronic billboard = large signs that change all the time and are used to show ads
  • engineering = the building of roads, bridges , machines and other objects
  • entry point = place where an immigrant enters a new country
  • especially =above all
  • explorer = someone who travels to an unknown area to find out something about it
  • facility =a building or service used for special things
  • ferry = boat that brings people or goods across a river or sea
  • foreign = from another country
  • fountain = a structure in a garden or a park from which water is pushed up into the air
  • gift = present
  • growth =increase
  • height =how high something is
  • hijack = to take control of a plane or ship by using force
  • Hispanic = someone who comes from a country where Spanish or Portuguese is spoken, especially from Central or South America
  • huge = very big
  • ice rink = an area where they make ice so you can go ice skating
  • immigrant = someone who goes to another country to live and work there
  • include = to have in it
  • is said to be = people say that it is
  • Jew, Jewish =someone whose religion is Judaism
  • lay dry =to get water out of a wet place
  • little = not very much
  • mainland = the main area of a country , not the islands
  • major = main, most important
  • megacity = very big city with millions of people
  • melting pot = place where people from different races, countries or social classes come to live together
  • navigator = here: explorer on a ship
  • observation deck = place high up in a building where you can look out of the window and have a view of an area or a city
  • origin = the country or place which someone has come from
  • overpopulation = when too many people live in a place
  • pedestal = base, platform
  • performance = when someone acts out a play or plays a piece of music
  • pollution =when you make air and water dirty so that you cannot use it any more
  • popular = liked by a lot of people
  • population = the people who live in an area
  • populous = full of people, crowded
  • poverty = a situation in which many people are very poor
  • public = for anyone
  • range = here: very many different things
  • rapid = fast
  • recent = in the last few
  • recover = get back; get better
  • refer = is said to be
  • remove = here: cut down
  • resident = someone who lives in a place
  • residential district = area of a town in which people live ; without offices or factories
  • row = line
  • sculpture = an object made of stone, wood or other materials by an artist
  • seaport =a large town on or near a coast with a harbour that ships can use
  • seat =base, centre
  • situated = located
  • skyscraper = a very tall modern building
  • span = to go across
  • square kilometre =an area that is one kilometre in all directions
  • steel-framed =with a steel structure
  • stock exchange = a place where stocks are bought and sold
  • storey = level, floor of a building
  • suburb = an area where people live which is farther away from the centre of a town or city
  • subway = underground railroad
  • surround = to be around something
  • swampy = wet ground
  • tip = end
  • torch = an object that burns on one end
  • trading post = a place that was set up a long time ago at which people could buy and sell goods
  • tremendous = very big
  • wave = here: groups of people