New York attracts people from all over. Get on a subway in New York and look at the newspapers that people around you are reading. One person is reading a newspaper in Spanish, another in Chinese, yet others in Arabic, Russian, Italian, Yiddish, and French. New York was always a city of immigrants. It still is.
The are 5 boroughs in New York - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Brooklyn alone has so many people that if it were a separate city, it would be the fourth largest in the United States.
Manhattan is an island just 13 miles long and 2 miles wide. It is the center of American finance, advertising, art theatre, publishing, fashion - and much more. The borough of Manhattan is what most people think of New York, one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Manhattan is divided into the East Side and the West Side. The dividing line is Fifth Avenue. So, for example, East 47th Street begins at Fifth Avenue, as does West 47th Street.
Manhattan is also divided, with less exactness, into Lower (Downtown), Midtown and Upper (Up-town) Manhattan. As you go North, or uptown, the street numbers get higher. Lower Manhattan refers to street numbers below 14th Street and Central Park, and Upper Manhattan to the renaming, northern, part of the island.
The Financial District.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle Manhattan. To protect themselves from attacks, they built a sturdy wooden wall. Although it's now long gone, this wall gave it's name to a street in Lower Manhattan and the street, in turn, became synonymous with American capitalism. The street, of course, is Wall Street. The New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange are both in the Wall Street area. So are many stock brokers, investment blanks and others bank, and headquarters of many large corporations.
To escape the commotion of Wall Street you can visit the nearby South Street Seaport, an open area of low buildings on the East River. In addition to many shops and restaurants, the seaport has a museum.
Two good ways to get the larger picture of New York are to circle it in a bout and to hover over it in helicopter. In the financial district, though, there's another way to see New York. The twin towers of the World Trade Center rise 1,350 feet above the city. There's an observation deck on the 107th floor of one of the towers.
Appropriately, the very first business deal in Manhattan was made in what became the financial district. As every American schoolchild knows, the Dutch bought Manhattan from the Indians, for the ridiculously low price of 24 dollars worth of beads and trinkets. There is, however, another, less known side of this: evidently, the Indians who had sold Manhattan dont themselves live there or in any sense own it. The Dutch and the Indians alike walked away pleased.
The Lower East Side.
The Lower East Side was originally an elegant neighborhood. When New York was the capital of the United States, President George Washington lived on the Lower East Side.
By the mid-1880s the Lower East Side had changed greatly. It was characterized by crime and the poverty and hopes of it`s residents. By the mid-1800s the Lower East Side had become an area in which immigrants settled. First there were many Irish, then came many Jews from Eastern Europe.
Near the Lower East Side there are two other neighborhoods that also attracted immigrants and that are famous for their food. The Italian restaurants of Little Italy remain popular to tourists and Italians alike. Today Chinatown is the only immigrant community that's still growing. Chinatown has seven newspaper of it's own. It also nearly 200 restaurants.
Greenwich Village and the East Village.
Greenwich Village and the East Village have always been at the center of New York's excitement. Both have been places for people with different and creative ideas. Both have an active nightlife with plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs.
In the early 1900s the charm Greenwich Village attracted bohemians - writers and artists. By the 1920s, the streets of the Village were filled with other people, curious to see how these odd Villagers lived. The artists and writers began moving out, some to the East Village. Today, the Village has many elements: students attending New York University; an active jazz scene; and in Washington Square - it's center - street performers, police. Drug dealers, joggers, roller skates, and just about everyone else.
When bohemians moved to the East Village 1920s, they found an area similar to the Lower East Side. There were many immigrants, much dirt and grime. The East Village has changed very little. Over the years it has been a center for many movements - for the beat poets of the 1950s, the hippies of the 1960s, and, more recently, for New York's punk scene.