New York is the most populous city in the United States of America and is located in state of New York, which has Albany as its capital. Located on the east coast of North America, facing the Atlantic, it stands at the mouth of the Hudson River (which forms its western border, separating it from a series of suburbs in New Jersey), which is also the point where the large mass of Long Island is closest to the Continent, from which it is separated only by the narrow East River. This unusual topography led to the city becoming one of the most important ports in the world since colonial times. NY could easily be defined as the “capital of the world”, due to the fact that styles and fashions are created, meet and mix in this city and then spread to other countries.
A city with a thousand faces
The old and the new
The old and the new are combined in Downtown Manhattan, where colonial churches and old monuments stand in the shadow of the skyscrapers. New York was born here and it is also the place where the nation was born. In this area we can find Wall Street, the financial and economic centre of the whole world, Trinity Church, one of the oldest Anglican churches in the country, the World Trade Centre, where the twin towers stood, and numerous scenic spots such as Battery Park, from where you can see the Statue of Liberty, the port, with its view of the nearby Brooklyn area, and finally Brooklyn Bridge, where, aside from admiring the magnificence of this structure, there is also a beautiful view of the entire east coast of Manhattan Island.
Art and architecture
Art and architecture have transformed these industrial districts. In the 1960s, SoHo (South of Houston) was threatened with demolition until conservationists called the public’s attention to its historical architecture, particularly that in cast iron. Artists began moving into its large lofts, followed by galleries, coffee bars, shops and boutiques. Brunch and a visit to the Soho galleries are typical weekend activities in New York. With the increase in rents, the artists transferred to Tribeca (Triangle below Canal), which has many restaurants and in May hosts the Tribeca Film Festival. It has no particular attractions, since the district itself is an attraction, featuring an incredibly original wealth of architecturally unique buildings.
New Yorkers refer to it simply as “the Village”. This area was indeed a village and was used as a refuge during the yellow fever epidemic of 1822. Its disorderly road layout, which reflects the old boundaries of the farms, made Greenwich Village a bohemian paradise where many famous artists and writers lived. Today the neighbourhood is becoming increasingly expensive and fashionable: once a modest district, it now attracts trendy people. The main attraction in this neighbourhood is surely Washington Square, one of the city’s most vibrant open spaces, named after Washington on the occasion of the centenary of his election as President of the United States of America.
A district once inhabited by the nobility, when they moved to the centre of the island, their place was taken by immigrants of all nationalities, who have left many cheap ethnic restaurants in the neighbourhood. In the 1960s, the neighbourhood was invaded by hippies, and later by punks, to whom we owe the presence of many experimental music venues. The most attractive part of the neighbourhood is definitely Astor Place, but it is best known for its ethnic venues and “alternative culture” in comparison with the rest of the island, due to the influences of the groups that have lived here. In the upper part of East Village there an area called Gramercy, a purely residential neighbourhood characterized by the presence of the Flatiron Building, which stands on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the two most important avenues in New York.
An abundance of notable architecture
This is a district with a wealth of notable architecture, where New York at its richest is found. It features numerous points of interest, such as the Chrysler Building, one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, recognizable by its crown, which has several triangular segments that create a special effect when illuminated, Grand Central Station, the most important terminal of the city’s entire transport network and a structure of incredible artistic beauty, and the United Nations building, where some of the world’s most important decisions are taken. There is also Trump Tower, Tiffany’s and the best boutiques along Fifth Avenue, while with regard to Park Avenue, this fantastic New York avenue features the finest residences in the area. Finally we must not forget the MOMA, the Plaza Hotel and the fantastic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Upper West side
The centre of New York high society
Located on the east side of Central Park, it was the centre of the New York’s high society. It is now home to numerous embassies and museums, and remains a symbol of elegance as it is still home to New York’s affluent upper class. Madison Avenue has an abundance of luxury shops and art galleries. In the easternmost part, Yorkville, you can notice the influence of German and Hungarian ethnic groups, while to the south you can find Little Bohemia with its Czech and Slovak population. The main attractions remain the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
City shopping centre
From an agricultural district to the city’s main shopping centre, recently rediscovered by New Yorkers thanks to the arrival of Macy’s, which has transformed Herald Square into a busy shopping district for clothing and flowers. It now has numerous art galleries and antique shops, and in addition to nineteenth century style houses, Macy’s and Herald Square, its attractions include the Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York (443 metres), from where visitors can enjoy a literally breathtaking view. Another typical building of this area is Madison Square Garden, where the local NBA Basketball team plays and numerous concerts are held by the most famous artists in the world.
Incredible centre of advertising and lights
This area began to develop in 1883, when the Metropolitan Opera House moved to 40th and Broadway. From that time on, numerous theatres and cinemas were built, with increasingly large luminous signs. It’s most distinctive landmark is Times Square, an amazing centre of advertising and lights that make it unique in the world. The district also includes the Rockefeller Centre, built at the behest of John Rockefeller in 1928 and later declared a national monument, described as “the heart of New York, a unifying presence in the chaos of Manhattan”. Bryant Park is also very beautiful, and is within walking distance of another major attraction, the Public Library.
A developing area
The north of the island is characterized by Harlem and Washington Heights. These two neighbourhoods, particularly Washington Heights, are still not very developed, but they are currently experiencing growth. The west side of Harlem is definitely the most interesting and noteworthy part, featuring the presence of the Columbia University, which gives it a youthful, vibrant atmosphere. Also to the west, the area close to Central Park is also very beautiful, offering unique views and environments in terms of the colours and sensations they convey.
Just across the famous Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Heights is naturally a neighborhood in Brooklyn, which lies just across the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Originally known as the “Village of Brooklyn”, it began to develop from 1834, becoming a very important area of ??Brooklyn itself. Easily accessible by public transport, the best attraction in this area is certainly the breathtaking view of the entire island of Manhattan. Well developed in terms of city planning, it is an ideal place to live, away from the hubbub of Manhattan but not too far, remaining close to that simply unique island, of which it offers a truly incredible view.
This is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn populated by numerous different ethnic groups, including Germans, Jews, Italians and South Americans. It is a young area that attracts many people from nearby Manhattan, thanks to this multi-ethnicity, which gives it a unique character. Williamsburg is a thriving centre for art, especially on Bedford Avenue, its main street. The area is seen as a paradise for immigrant families and for artists, and it is still experiencing significant population growth and rapid urban and commercial development. This is bringing a total improvement to the neighbourhood, which is well served by city public transport, a fact not be overlooked.