New York City - The Big Apple referat

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 City.

“ 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 brutal.

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 island. Manhattan, 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.

The Empire State Building: Between 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 States.

You can see the flags of every country in the United Nations along the front of the building.

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