New York City
The Big Apple
The Beginning: Four
hundred years ago, Manhattan
Island was the home of
the Algonquin Indians. In 1609, a man called Henry Hudson came up the river to Manhattan. He was British
but he was on a Dutch ship, The Half Moon. Today the river is called the Hudson River. In 1626, a Dutchman called Peter Minuit
came to Manhattan,
and he paid the Indians about twenty-four dollars for the island. Minuit put up
some houses, and called the little town New Amsterdam.
By 1647, about 500 people lived in New Amsterdam,
and the Governor was a Dutchman called Peter Stuyvesant. But in 1664, the
British took the town from the Dutch and changed its name to New York. Then came
the War of Independence (1776-1783) – a war between the British and some of the
people of North America. When it finished in
1783, the British left and George Washington was made the first president of
the United States of America.
In 1790, about 33,000 people lived in New York,
but then millions more men and woman began to come to America from
all over the world. They all wanted to be part of the new country, and many of
them came to live in New York.
At first they came from Germany
and Ireland, then later on
from Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
Russia, Africa, and China. The new
People of New York worked hard, and many of them helped to build the first
skyscrapers and bridges. These `New Americans´ often lived in
the same streets with other people from their own country. Today, New York has parts called Chinatown
and Little Italy. Ellis Island was the first stop for `New Americans´ when they
came to New York.
All the ships Bringing People from Europe to America stopped here. The Brooklyn Bridge opened on 24 May, 1883.
Why the Big Apple:
People often called New York
`The Big Apple´. Why? In the 1920s and 1930s jazz musicians all wanted to work New York. `There are a lot of apples on the
tree they said , `but when you take New York city, you take The Big Apple!´ Yes,
everybody wanted some of The Big Apple – and they want some today, too!
New York Population: New York City has more than 7 million
inhabitants. It is twice as large as Los Angeles,
which is the second largest city in America. Manhattan is the most densely settled
district ( the district with the most people per square
mile). Brooklyn and the Bronx are also crowded
districts. New York
has had to start a massive program of building since the `50s and `60s to house
its large population.
Contrasts in Income: In New
York there is a sharp division between rich and poor.
The rich tend to live in Manhattan and many of
the poor in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The
average income in Manhattan is 2.3 times higher
than in Brooklyn.
Street Kids: New York
is an exciting place, but also a dangerous one. Every year more than 2,000
people are murdered, and every day there are hundreds of robberies and
burglaries. The contrast between the rich and the poor is amazing. There are
beggars in front of the most expensive shops, and there are homeless people
living on the streets close to the luxurious penthouses of the rich at Central Park. There are teenagers enjoying themselves in
the swimming pool at their parents´ homes and there are street kids who have
little to eat and no home. “It´s difficult to describe how tragic the lives of
these street kids are,” says Father Bruce Ritter, who runs a home for street
kids called Covenant House in New York
We keep our doors open 24 hours a day. We never close. Kids can come in
all day or night. They get all kinds of help from us: food, clothing, shelter
and change to go home again if that´s possible. Last year, we were able to send
home about four thousands kids that came to us. Although, most of the time,
when we call the parents of a street kid and tell them we have their son or
daughter, they answer we get back is keep them. We don´t want them. And so,
I´ll say to a kid, `Look, your mother told me it is O.K. for you to stay with
me´. But he knows what that means. He knows he is not wanted. The saddest day
for my kids is Mother´s Day. My kids cry a lot on Mother´s Day.” About 30% of
the street kids are 17 and younger, the other 70% are
eighteen, nineteen or twenty. Most of them are poorly educated. They can only
read and write a little. They leave their home because it is too dangerous for them to
stay. There is often a long history of family violence(Gewalt),
of alcoholism and of drug addiction(Drogen abhängig). Life on the street is
The five Boroughs ( Districts): When visitors
think about New York, they usually think about
Manhattan. But New York has five `boroughs´: Manhattan,
Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
Only one of them, the Bronx is not on an
which is an island, is the real center of the city. Most of the interesting
shops are here, such as the famous ones on Fifth Avenue. Most of the well-known
buildings and museums are here, and Manhattan
is also the center of New York´s busy nightlife. More than five million people
work there everyday but only one and half million people live there. Wall Street
in Manhattan is the financial heart of the USA and the
most important banking center in the world.
Visiting the City: There are a lot of
things to see in New York,
and it is easy for the visitor to get to the different parts of the city. In Manhattan, the avenues go
north and south, and most streets go east and west. They have numbers or names.
After 14th street,
it is difficult to get lost because the streets and avenues go in a straight lines! The East Side
is to the east of Fifth Avenue.
The West Side is to the west of it. When you
want from one place to another place in New
York you can take the subway, the bus, a yellow cap
(taxi) or you also can take the ferry.
Statue of Liberty: One of the most
famous statues in the world stands on an island in New York Harbor.
This is , of course, the Statue of Liberty, which is
about a hundred meters tall. It is a woman holding up a torch. Visitors can go
inside the statue. It is so large that as many as twelve people can get inside
the torch The Statue of Liberty was put up in 1886. In 1776, France helped the American colonies to became independent from England. So they gave the people of
the USA The Statue of Liberty as a present for their
100th birthday. For the immigrants, this was an important symbol.
The Central Park: The Central Park is a beautiful green oasis in the
middle of Manhattan.
New Yorkers love The Central Park and they use it in the winter and the summer.
They go ice-skating, roller-skating and inline-skating. They play ball, ride
their bikes, have picnics and go boating. Families come here to enjoy the sun
and fresh air. Musicians make music and office workers bring their lunches here
in fine weather. It is a quiet place to get away from the noise and the crowds
of the city.
1931 and 1970, it was the highest building in the world. Now it is the highest
building from New York.
It has 102 floors, is 448 metres high, and you can see
120 kilometres from the top. A plane hit the 79th floor in 1945 but
it was not destroyed.
The UN headquarter: Welcome to the
United Nations! The Headquarters of the World Organization is located on an
18-acre site on the East side of Manhattan.
It is an international zone belonging to all Member States. The United Nations
has its own security force, fire department and postal administration. Visitors
from all over the world often like to send postcards back home with United
Nations stamps - these stamps can only be mailed from the United Nations. The
Headquarters consist of four main buildings: the General Assembly building, the
Conference Building, the 39-floor Secretariat
building, and the Dag Hammarskjold Library, which was added in 1961. The
complex was designed by an international team of 11 architects, led by Wallace
K. Harrison from the United
You can see the flags of every country in the United Nations along the
front of the building.