Ah, the Big Apple, one of the most famous cities in the entire world. New York, New York, also known as New York City, is what most people think of when they think of New York. While New York State is vast and, surprisingly, a large part of the state is quite rural, New York City at the southern tip of New York, including the island of Manhattan, is what most people think of when they think of this gigantic, historic city that has figured so prominently in popular culture for so many years of America’s history. New York is truly the city that never sleeps, a city of adventure and excitement that is truly unique among the planet’s world-class urban environments. It is also the biggest city in all of the United States, and a massive, teeming urban area known throughout the world for everything it has to offer. New York is a thriving hub of everything from business and entertainment to news, art, the development of new technologies and research, and education and training. In some ways, New York could be considered the world’s premier city, and we at Babe-Directory.com are proud to call New York city one of the many urban areas that we serve for bookings. The greater New York City area is a draw for entertainment, tourism, and business like no other, and as a result, it is one of the more important jewels in the Babe-Directory.com crown of areas we service.
Divided into five areas (the “boroughs” of New York City), New York is a harbor town that is correspondingly divided into five separate counties (it’s that large). New York has been a city since the late nineteenth century, and it boasts a whopping population of well over eight million people throughout the greater New York area. It is easily the most heavily populated city in America, and also one of the most interesting and varied multicultural urban centers that the United States has to offer. The New York City economy pumps out a gross product of one and a half trillion dollars, which mean that economically, New York City is more powerful than most of the nations in the world (there are about a dozen that do more business than New York City, and of course the figures vary year to year, but that’s about the average).
Millions of tourists – to the tune of about a fifth of the total population of the United States – visit the city of New York and surrounding area every year, making this one of the most visited tourist destinations in all of the country (and a contender for tourism around the world. It is also believed that tourists and professional photographers take more pictures of and in and around New York City than any other location on planet Earth. There is so much to see and do in New York, including fabled Times Square (the famous location of a yearly New Year’s Eve festival, as well as the synonymous with Broadway and all the theater that this entails), which is one of the most trafficked walkways anywhere in the world (and a place that, if you’ve visited it, you know is almost never quiet; there are always people walking around). New York is also prominent in the entertainment business, rivaled only by Los Angeles and Hollywood for its significance. (There is actually a good reason for this, too, as legend has it that the early establishment of Los Angeles on the West Coast was an attempt to evade Thomas Edison and the patents he held on the various film technologies used to make movies. Back then, it simply wasn’t feasible to sue someone for patent infringement from across the country.) Movies are constantly shot in New York City and it is not uncommon to see signs on the sidewalk warning passersby that they might be filmed for a movie if they continue on in the direction they are going.
Among the many tourist attractions in New York City are the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, Coney Island, the New York Botanical Garden, Rockefeller Center (especially at Christmas time), Chinatown in Manhattan, and Madison Avenue. Rockefeller center is home to NBC studios, and interested tourists can take tours of the studio, visit Bryant Park, and generally see the sights of Manhattan. You can take in Broadway shows in Time Square at a discount by seeking out sites that allow you to buy up unpurchased tickets. Something like 50 million tourists visit New York City every year, bringing roughly as many billions of dollars into the New York City economy. There are nearly a hundred thousand hotel rooms in Manhattan alone, to accommodate all that tourist traffic. And of course the entertainment industry as a whole is very much centered in New York City, given that the only bigger place for making movies compared to New York is Hollywood itself. Hundreds of movies are filmed in New York City every year.
Many publishing companies and newspapers call New York City home. These include Viacom, the New York Times, NBC-Universal, the Hearst Corporation, Thomson Reuters Corporation, Time Warner, and the Associated Press. Hundreds of newspapers and magazines have their headquarters in the city. So do all of the major television networks, Public Broadcasting, and various educational firms.
New York is also incredibly culturally diverse, and its various districts and neighborhoods draw curious visitors from around the world who are interested in soaking up some of the culture of the Big Apple, For example, many cities have a Chinatown area, but New York City’s Chinatown has the highest density of Asian citizens in the entire Western portion of the world. New York is also a model for urban public transportation, as its subway system is one of the biggest and most thorough anywhere on the planet, boasting more than 450 stations with constant twenty-four-hour-a-day service. New York is a center of business and commercial activity, most notably with the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street, but extending also the many business and corporate interests that call Manhattan and the surrounding area their home.
The area that we now know of as NYC was once territory held by sundry Algonquian native Americans, such as the Lenape. The Lenape once claimed large portions of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Hudson Valley, and Staten Island. In the sixteenth century, an explorer from Europe named Giovanni Da Verrazzano visited the area on behalf of the French, claiming it for them and calling the island “New Angouleme.” In that same century, another explorer, Estevao Gomes, came to the area, but he was prevented by terrible weather from doing much exploring and he went back to Spain without much to show for his visit. Also in the sixteenth century, the first maps of the eastern coast of North America were produced. It was in the following century that Henry Hudson traveled to the area for England during his quest for the Northwest Passage on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. The Hudson River is today named for this explorer. Hudson realized some time into his journey that he had not, in fact, discovered a passage through to the sea. His visit would forever mark the area, however. It was also in the seventeenth century that a man named Peter Minuit supposedly bought Manhattan from the native Americans for what has been described before as twenty-something dollars in trinkets, although the more that story is told, the harder it becomes to believe it.
According to Wikipedia, what we now know as New York was initially to become the city of New Amsterdam, located in what we now call Manhattan. It was renamed New York (named for the Duke of York at the time) in 1664 when the English took control of the area. It would eventually become the capital of the United States of America (until a few years short of 1800 and has been the continent’s largest city, undisputed and uninterrupted, since the late 1700s. Thanks to the presence of Europeans in the area from the 1600s onward, New York holds the distinction of being one of the oldest European settlements that has been occupied since it was established. Briefly, the colony of New York was known as “New Orange” after King William the Third (who was the Prince of Orange), but that didn’t last long. Various wars between the Dutch and England eventually led to the city being given back to the English.
The city became a very important port in the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, it was also a hub of the slave trade (nearly half of all American households had slaves in the seventeen hundreds). Slaves moving through the area were a big part of the city’s economy. When the Revolutionary war came to New York, one of the biggest battles of the war took place in Long Island. The Americans lost, actually, and New York was, at the time, a hotbed of activity in support of British rule, with the city occupied by the British.
By the time the Industrial revolution came to New York, the city became extremely prominent in commerce in the United States, and in the moving of freight through the port of New York. The early nineteenth century saw the Erie Canal dug out to connect New York to America’s heartland, as goods were taken through the canal and to the Great Lakes and beyond. The city also saw a tremendous influx of Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century, driven by harsh economic times in Ireland. Other prominent immigrants included Germans and Italians, as well as blacks from the southern states in the nineteenth century. Pressure among various immigrant groups and minorities eventually led to riots in the nineteenth century that seriously harmed the city’s reputation... but the city’s best years were still ahead of it, and with the dawning of the twentieth century, it came back with a vengeance. The mighty New York subway system opened in the early 1900s, and during the 1900s, the New York city skyline swelled as building after building went up in this world-class city. The city managed to fight its way through the great depression, fueled by the economic recovery that was, ironically, World War II. In the years since the war, the city started to assume the shape and character that we know today. Some of its most famous landmarks were established in the years that followed, such as the United Nations building in 1952.
Riots and civil rights demonstrations would mar the otherwise bustling city’s thriving urban life in the sixties and early seventies. The seventies also marked a low point in New York life because the city was suffering economically during the doldrums of the Carter years, and the crime rate skyrocketed. Soon, New York was known as a haven of crime and violence, and movies like “Death Wish” chronicled the area’s descent into lawless chaos. But these turbulent years, too, were only temporary, and the economic boom of the 1980s saw New York surge back again. Movies that depicted the city of the day were once again more positive, although the harsh life of living in the city was also portrayed as claiming its own victims from time to time. Human beings have always had a love-hate relationship with the bright lights of the big city, and New York stands prominently in popular culture as the kind of world-class city where anything can happen and everything is possible. The city’s position in popular culture was arguably cemented during the seventies and eighties, as New York became synonymous with large urban living and its economic influence continued to dominate New York State specifically and New England in general.
New York City would face its greatest challenge in 2001, when on September 11th it suffered a devastating pair of terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center. The attack killed thousands of people and dealt the American public a serious blow in what would become a war with radicalized Islam that still rages globally today. More recently, Wall Street and New York in general was the main site of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, in which perceived economic disparity was the subject of widespread protests and a protracted occupation of Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s Financial District. Today, New York remains the biggest single cultural, economic, and political driver of Northeastern politics in general and of New York State in particular. In fact, a number of people have circulated political petitions seeking to separate upstate New York from New York City. While these petitions are unlikely to get much traction, they mark the very meaningful division between New York City as a densely populated Urban Center and the rest of this surprisingly rural state.
Given how absolutely incredible New York City is, we can’t think of a better place for your to hit the town with your date from Babe-Directory.com. There is so much to see and do in this city, and so much local color to absorb. Just the architecture of New York City by itself is worth taking in. There are many very famous places to look at, from the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s skyline, to Brooklyn’s famous Wyckoff House. Since the World Trade Center towers were destroyed, a new massive skyscraper, the Freedom Tower, has been erected in New York, and there is a museum at Ground Zero. The Seagram Building was erected in the fifties and is worth looking at. And of course there is the Brooklyn Bridge, itself a major architectural achievement. There is also the Chrysler Building, renowned for its Art Deco beauty, and of course the incredibly tall Empire State Building, ascending which requires the use of more than one elevator.
Officially, New York City is divided up into Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Distinctive neighborhoods make up each of those boroughs. The most famous and the biggest one is, of course, the island of Manhattan. From the top of the Empire State Building in Manhattan you can see the famous Statue of Liberty, which was gifted to the United States by France in the nineteenth century. The statue, overlooking New York’s harbor, has thus greeted countless people traveling to New York, and is thus a worldwide icon of freedom. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty Itself are the purview of the National Park Service. New York boasts multiple parks, including famous Central Park, which also has a zoo and is an oasis of greenery in the otherwise concrete and steel jungle of New York City. The park is officially measured out at nearly 900 acres, and ranks as the most popular park in all of the country. Twenty-five million people go to see Central Park every year, which features the Central Park Zoo, ice skating, and the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. There is also a nature center at Belvedere Castle, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. (This was where the World’s Fair was held in 1964 and 1939). The park in Bronx is also the site of the famous Bronx Zoo.
There is a fort in New York City known as Fort Hamilton, and it is an active duty military facility (and has been since the nineteenth century). This is where the North Atlantic Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers makes its headquarters, as do the 1179th Transportation Brigade and the Military Entrance Process Station, not to mention the 722nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
New York City is of course a thriving economic hub of international commercial activity. Together with Tokyo and London, it is considered one of three cities that form a network of command sites for the global economy, and it ranks first on the Global Economic Power Index. All sorts of transportation, media, real estate, retail, finance, banking, and trade takes place in New York City. The city is also a major port in its own right and sees countless passengers and freight pass through it in any given year. Among the major corporations that call New York City their home are nearly 50 Fortune 500 businesses. Foreign investment is huge in New York City, and a virtually insane real estate market has dominated the city for some time. The total property value of New York City is hundreds of billions of dollars, while some of the corporations doing business there gross billions of dollars in revenue themselves. From nonprofits and universities to technology companies and medical research firms, New York City is second to none when it comes to the businesses thriving within its boundaries. Strangely, one of the city’s major exports is actually millions of dollars worth of chocolate, and there is an entire “chocolate district” in the city (it’s actually located in Brooklyn). Famous chocolate company Godiva calls New York City home.
No discussion of New York City’s business would be complete without discussing the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street is where the money is in New York, and this is why the city is so central to the banking industry in the United States. It comprises hundreds of thousands of jobs, and accounts for billions of dollars in tax revenue. The island of Manhattan alone has more than five hundred millions square feet of office space. Manhattan houses the biggest business area in the United States. Just the banking fees on Wall Street add up to billions of dollars. You have heard of Silicon Valley, but you may not have heard of Manhattan’s Silicon Alley, which is the term given to a thriving technological sector in the city that deals with everything from media and telecommunications to video game development and Internet firms. Telecommunications alone is one massive business interest in New York City, and the city is home to industry giant Verizon Communications as well as many other telecommunications firms. Medical research and biotechnology are also very big in New York, with companies like Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer operating and investing in the city.
Sports are very big in New York City and the city itself is known for its links to various sports. It is considered by many to the Baseball Capital of the World. New York City teams have won 73 pennants. There have been 35 Major League Baseball Series. Right now, the two Major League Baseball teams in the city are the Mets and the Yankees. The Brooklyn Dodgers once called New York home, but they have since moved to Los Angeles, and the New York Giants have since gone to San Francisco (in the 1950s). The city has two minor league baseball teams, the Yankees and the Cyclones. For football teams, New York has the Giants and the Jets. For Hockey, there is the Rangers. New York City also has National Basketball Association teams the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, while the women’s team is called the Liberty. If soccer is your thing, there are the Red Bulls, and if you like Tennis, the US Open is hosted in Queens. If you like running, there is always the New York Marathon, which is a very large one and very popular throughout the nation.
Really, with New York City being the world-class destination that it is, it would be easier to list the sports that aren’t represented there. New York is one of the biggest and most dynamic cities in the world, and no matter what sport you are looking for, you’re going to be able to find it somewhere in New York City. The city houses a vibrant and dynamic, thriving martial arts community, and some of the most famous martial arts teachers in the world, not to mention the United States itself, have schools in the New York City area. Students from around the country will regularly make pilgrimages to New York to visit, train, and test with their teachers in various exotic lineages, some of which you have seen in major movies featuring martial arts fighting. Any other sports you could ever want to indulge in can also be found in New York. Don’t let the fact that this is a major urban area fool you. From pick up basketball played on asphalt, to the types of things that can be had in the green oasis of New York City, there is no shortage of great sports to be enjoyed in New York, nor should you artificially constrain your expectations when it comes time to find sports in which to engage, or sports to enjoy as a spectator, when you are in the city of New York or visiting any one of its five boroughs.
As you can expect from such a large city, education, science, learning, and research are a big part of what goes on in the city limits. The New York City Public School system alone is the biggest one in the entire country, boasting more than a million currently enrolled students and featuring almost two thousand school facilities. There are hundreds of private schools, too, and the colleges and other higher education facilities in New York have more than half a million students across more than a hundred different colleges and universities. These facilities of higher learning include the New York Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Fordham University, Yeshiva University, and new York University. Science and biology is a huge topic of research at the many specialized research facilities in New York, and these include the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cornell University, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Downstate Medical Center, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Rockefeller University. Never forget the famous New York Public Library, either, which has featured prominently in many universities. The hospitals in New York City, serving everyone from specialized patients and clientele to the huge population of New York City itself, include famous Bellevue Hospital, known for care granted to various political luminaries, including the president.
The subject of crime has long been one that is very prominent in discussions of New York City culture, and the New York City Police Department has been the subject of several controversies over the years. In part this is because the NYPD is the biggest police force in the country, but part of the controversy has also been that crime in this once strife-torn city has dropped dramatically in the last several years. There are those who attributed this to the policing policies of Mayor Giuliani, whose tenure in the city made him a popular leader. Certainly the tactics employed by the city’s police force have probably been part of the reason for the reduction in crime, although there are some who dispute the legality and the advisability of these policies. It was once the case that organized crime like the Mafia held sway in New York to significant degree, but this is no longer the case. The mafia and its influence have steadily declined over the years, due in part simply to the evolution of society, but also because of the efforts of various government agencies that have targeted organized crime families and systematically hounded them out of existence.
Ever since the prominence of firefighters in the events following the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Fire Department in New York (FDNY) has enjoyed immense popularity as a rescue force, its public relations second to none when it comes to popular perception of this agency. The FDNY has more than eleven thousand employees in New York City, not counting another three thousand emergency medical personnel. Because of the architecture, traffic density, and general landscape of New York, fighting fires there is a task that presents unique challenges, and this is yet another reason that the FDNY enjoys such broad popularity and popular support among the people of the city they serve. It could be argued that after 2001, firefighters became part of a new hero class, with action figures of rescue personnel joining the usual police and superhero lineups on the shelves of the nation’s toy stores. As you can imagine, the subway system in New York City alone, with its long lengths of electricity to power the trains, is a unique fire hazard all unto itself.
Over the years, New York City has witnessed the genesis of a number of popular cultural explosions that have gone on to influence the social and cultural landscape of the city, state, and country of the United States. Some of these include Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance, the rise of the Beatniks, the punk music scene, various dance movements, facets of the civil rights movement, and many, many different aspects of popular art. Performing arts alone have long enjoyed a rich history in the United States. There are multiple art organizations housed in the Lincoln Center for the performing Arts alone, and New York City also boasts the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As for cuisine, some of the best food in the world (and, arguably, some of the worst) can be enjoyed in New York City. New York is known for its pizza, its cheesecake, and its bagels. Chinatown in New York is home to some great authentic Chinese food, and there are people who will tell you it just isn’t authentic New York style pizza, or authentic Americanized Chinese food, if it does not come to you by way of New York City and Chinatown. Street food is immensely popular and you can buy snacks and entire meals off the various food carts and trucks in the city (although, arguably, sometimes you are engaging in eating this food at your own risk, so buyer beware when you start purchasing random food products off of random carts and trucks). Grand Central Station is a great place to sample multiple food vendors at once, as there are numerous small eateries there that many New Yorkers enjoy. And if you like chain coffeehouses, you will be absolutely in heaven when you visit Manhattan, for it is not uncommon for the same chain coffee house to have outlets on every corner of an intersection. From the doorway of one coffee house, you can see the next one down the street. This may seem odd until you realize that the average coffee house can serve only a few clients at one time, and with so many millions of people living in New York City, the area can sustain many duplicate coffee houses in order to sustain the entire population of people who would all like a nice overpriced cup of coffee.
Getting around New York City in order to explore it is very easy. Over half of all the residents of the city use public transportation to get around. There are plentiful cabs operating throughout the city to get you around town, and a truly skilled New York City cab driver is a sight behold, as he navigates his way through narrow passages and up congested city streets. Many newcomers and tourists to the city are amazed at the number of people who are walking in the city at any given time, as walking remains one of the most popular ways to get around the city (as well as the New York City subway system). Imagine the busiest shopping mall you have ever seen on Christmas Eve and you will have some concept of just how busy the streets are in New York City, where as a pedestrian you cannot effectively travel faster than the people all around you who are always blocking your path. Still, New Yorkers have grown accustomed to this congestion and seem reasonably able to navigate it, although they will be the first to tell you that it carries with it iots own stressors. New York City has plentiful train service and tour buses. What you probably won’t do is tour the city by car, as it is very expensive to park a car in the city, and valet parking sometimes involves stacking cars so tightly together that they can be accessed only through open windows of the vehicle because there isn’t space to open the doors. Many lots in Manhattan involve stacking cars on large metal frameworks, or parking cars in another area entirely (guests to various major hotels are told to give the valet a good amount of time to retrieve the cars from wherever they are parked distantly from the hotel itself). Storage space is at such a premium in the city, for example, that NBC studios does not store the sets from its popular Saturday Night Live broadcasts because there simply is no space to do it. Sets are torn down after each show, and the stage on which SNL is filmed is actually much physically smaller than it is made to appear on television. Only one in five residents of Manhattan actually bothers to own a car, due in part to the expense but also the unnecessary quality of owning a car in a city that is so accessible in every other way. Streets in Manhattan, especially, are laid out according to a logical grid pattern, and it is very easy to get around Manhattan by foot even if you are a relative newcomer to the area.
At Babe-Directory.com, we love serving the New York City area. We can’t think of a better city for you to enjoy endless night life, incredible entertainment, a big-city atmosphere, and the adventure that comes from touring the city that never sleeps. Whether you are here on business, visiting as a tourist, or one of the lucky souls who live here, we invite you to contact us so that we can serve your needs and show you a great time out.