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It is the largest and most influential American metropolis, encompassing Manhattan and Staten islands, the western sections of Long Islandand a small portion of the New York state mainland to the north of Manhattan. Moving from one city neighbourhood to the next may be like passing from one country to another. New York is the most populous and the most international city in the country.
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Area square miles square km. New York is the most ethnically diversereligiously varied, commercially driven, famously congested, and, in the eyes of many, the most attractive urban centre in the country. No other city has contributed more images to the collective consciousness of Americans: Wall Street means finance, Broadway is synonymous with theatre, Fifth Avenue is automatically paired with shopping, Madison Avenue means the advertising industry, Greenwich Village connotes bohemian lifestyles, Seventh Avenue ifies fashion, Tammany Hall defines machine politics, and Harlem evokes images of the Jazz Age, African American aspirationsand slums.
The word tenement brings to mind both the miseries of urban life and the upward mobility of striving immigrant masses.
For the past two centuries, New York has been the largest and wealthiest American city. More than half the people and goods that ever entered the United States came through its port, and that stream of commerce has made change a constant presence in city life. New York always meant possibility, for it was an urban centre on its way to something better, a metropolis too busy to be solicitous of those who stood in the way of progress. No one thinks of the place as belonging to a particular state but to the United States.
However, New York remains for its residents a conglomeration of local neighbourhoods that provide them with familiar cuisines, languages, and experiences. A city of stark contrasts and deep contradictions, New York is perhaps the most fitting representative of a diverse and powerful nation. Sections of the granite bedrock of New York date to about million years ago, but the topography of the present city is largely the product of the glacial recession that marked the end of the Wisconsin Glacial Stage about 10, years ago.
Glacial retreat also carved out the waterways around the city. The approximately miles 1, km of New York shoreline are locked in constant combat with the ocean, as it erodes the land and adds new sediments elsewhere. Although the harbour is constantly dredged, ship channels are continually filled with river silt and are too shallow for more modern deep-sea vessels.
Character of the city
South of the rockbound terrain of Manhattan stretches a sheltered, deepwater anchorage offering easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. Cargo containerization, the obsolescence of its waterfront piers, and soaring labour costs shifted business to the New Jersey side of the river after the s, but at the beginning of the 21st century the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey still dominated the water trade of the northeastern United States. New York City.
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Britannica Quiz. The buroughs and architecture are just some of the attributes that make New York City a thriving metropolis. Test your knowledge of New York City in this quiz. Know what makes a New York bagel taste so distinctly delicious. Discover the chemistry of what makes the bagels in New York City distinctive.
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Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. A look at New York City in the s, showing activity in the Garment District and views of the public transportation system and the urban landscape, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which were destroyed in the September 11,terrorist attack.
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