Otázka: New York
Well, there is a fact that I have never been in New York. I have got from literature almost all what I want to say. I have had several guide books in my hands, and then perhaps by a lucky chance – I have found a small brooklet which is not actually a guide, but a summary of interesting facts. I have got in my memory some of them. The small brochure I am speaking about is divided in two parts – The history of New York City and New York today.
The history itself mirrors the evolution of the American nation. From the early New York´s settlement and immigration periods to the building boom in the 1930s up to the attacks on September 11, 2001, we can see how the USA became what it is today.
The first documented European to sail into New York harbour was an Italian explorer, before this discovery was this area inhabited by American Indian called Lenape. The English navigator Hudson accidentally came across New York at the beginning of the 17th century. After him many Dutch came here and the area became known as the New Amsterdam and the colony as New Netherlands. There were tensions between the groups of Europeans. At about half of the century even a wall was built for protection from the natives and also from the British. That´s how the famous ,,Wall Street´´ got its name. Yet the wall didn´t stop the British from invading the town. They took it and renamed it New York. To the end of the 18th century the town became the capital of the country. But shortly after that this honour went to Philadelphia and finally to Washington.
At the beginning of the 19th century there were about 100 000 people in the town. It was then divided by 12 avenues from north to south and 155 streets from east to west.
During the 1860s African-Americans started to move the city a great members and New York became a centre for abolition of slavery. The late 19th century is sometimes called as the,, gilded Age´´ because of the enormous displays of wealth by upper classes. During the first half of the 20th century New York became a world centre of commerce and industry. The city subway system was opened and many skyscrapers were built, the highest Empire State Building among them. The name is derived from the nickname of New York, the Empire state. It stood as the world´s tallest building for more than 40 years.
After the World War II the prosperity of the city continued, but Vietnam War came, then economic stagnation and inflation. Drugs and other criminal activities were getting out of hand in the city. Nearly a million people moved out during the 1970s. But the economy grew strong again, the city felt safer than ever, the crime rates went down and racial tension eased. But there came a beautiful sunny morning of the 11 September and quite a new period of New York´s history.
New York of today consists of 5 boroughs: the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens. Each borough is further subdivided into general areas or neighbourhoods. Some of them are completely different from each other. Many of them have their own architecture, culture and even language, because New York includes and represents people from nearly every country in the world.
The northernmost borough of the city is the Bronx. Unfortunately, the Bronx has a negative reputation for being the city´s most dangerous borough. Some neighbourhoods have a number of beautiful and safe places, among them the largest New York Park, Botanical garden and ZOO.
The borough of Manhattan is the centre of New York City. It is the most densely populated, it has over 1 and a half of million people. It is also the richest borough in the city and perhaps in the USA. It is an island surrounded by 3 rivers, the Hudson, the Harlem and the East River. In the centre of Manhattan is situated Public Park named Central park, which has an area of 843 acres. There are lot of possibilities how you can spend there your free time, for example boating, jogging, roller-skating and there is also ZOO. Another interesting fact about Central park is that near to the park was killed John Lennon. Harlem´s majority of the population is African American. One of its districts has New York´s largest Spanish community. The Guggenheim art museum is well known over the whole cultural world. Another cultural part of the city is Broadway, which was originally an Indian path, these days it is street, where we can find 39 theatres. The most famous play is The Phantom of the Opera, which has had about 8000 repeats.
Midtown, another part of the borough, lies between the East River and the Hudson River. It contains many of the city´s most famous landmarks including Times Square and Rockefeller centre. Times Square is a commercial area and one of the most famous symbols of New York City. Rockefeller centre became known for its Christmas tree with 25 000 lights.
Hell´s Kitchen, another part of the borough was originally inhabited by very poor people. The ethnic conflict between some immigrant groups is depicted in the musical West Side Story, introduced in 1956.
Brooklyn borough is famous for its bridge. It is the world´s oldest suspension bridge and it connects Brooklyn to Manhattan.
Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs. It has many ethnic groups of immigrants. There are 138 different languages spoken here. Two of New York´s airports, John F. Kennedy and La Guardia are situated in Queens. It is also known for the US Open tennis tournament.
Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs. And what is strange, it has no pedestrian access to the other boroughs. Statue of Liberty is one of the most popular monuments in New York. It was a gift from the French government to the opportunity of 100th anniversary of Independence declaration. The monument was designed by Frederic Bartholdi and Gustav Eiffel and it is made from copper. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.