Nestled on the East Coast of the United States, between New Jersey and Long Island, New York City is the nation's most populous city, and plays an influential role in several sectors of the global economy. Often referred to by its nickname, the Big Apple, New York traces its roots back to the 1600s, when the area was explored by European settlers. The city's placement on New York Harbor quickly made it a powerful economic force, a characteristic it still retains today. In addition to the more than 8 million residents, New York City welcomes some 50 million tourists each year.
The first settlement established in what is now known as New York was New Amsterdam, created in 1625. The settlement was subsequently surrendered to the British in 1664, who promptly renamed it New York. The city would go on to experience several highs and lows, serving as an important center for the slave trade. New York was also the site of several battles, with the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War taking place in 1776.
In the 19th century, New York served as one of the United States' primary immigration ports. Large numbers of European immigrants flooded to the city, quickly driving up the population of the community. The influence of these immigrants can still be felt through various neighborhoods in New York City today, with many districts exhibiting unique cultural characteristics of the residents who established them. The city's Ellis Island, built in 1900, would later become one of the nation's most celebrated ports of entry.
The city of New York is recognized the world over, with sights such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge clearly giving New York a feel all its own. While the high-rise buildings of New York are arguably the most famous structures in the city, the rows of townhouses found dotted throughout various neighborhoods of the city are also integral to the city's identity. The city's Central Park is also celebrated for its enormous size, in addition to the landmarks scattered throughout the area.
In addition to the beautiful atmosphere of the city itself, tourists and residents alike flock to the unique attractions found throughout every area of New York. The bright lights of Broadway from the prominent Great White Way, one of the world's best-recognized theatre districts. The 40 theatres forming part of this district are responsible for generating more than $1 billion annually, with millions of spectators coming to the musicals and plays. Much of the theatre district is found within and next to Times Square, an icon it its own right.
Various neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs of New York and Long Island draw crowds each and every day. Many of these neighborhoods include immigrant-centric boutiques, restaurants, and shops. Manhattan's Chinatown is the largest enclave of Chinese immigrants in the Western Hemisphere, and lies near Little Italy. Other Chinatowns can be found in Queens and Brooklyn.
The New York Harbor welcomes tourists who come to snap pictures of the Statue of Liberty, the statue soaring more than 150 feet above the waters. Original given to the United States by the country of France, the statue symbolizes freedom, and for many years served as a beacon to the immigrants arriving in the country. The statue is one of the city's most popular destinations.
New York is an influential player in the entertainment, financial, and fashion industries. Many of the world's largest companies have offices in the city, which serves as one of the global centers of business activity. Most of the nation's media companies are either based in New York or have a large presence in the city, with many live television shows broadcasting to the nation from studios around New York. New York is also a popular shooting destination for television shows and films.
Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, the world's two largest stock exchanges. The real estate sector is also particularly powerful in New York City, where commercial and residential property commands premiums that rival the world's most expensive properties. New York is also home to a varied community of artists, designers, and musicians, all of whom contribute to the cultural identity of the city, whose impact can be felt across the world.
New York is a city unlike any other on the face of the planet. The unique mix of different cultures, neighborhoods, and individuals makes this concrete jungle a veritable phenomenon. From the tourists who flock to the city's streets, to the residents who call New York City home, this incredible destination is always in motion, living up to its moniker, "The City that Never Sleeps." This constant buzz of activity has allowed the city to remain at the forefront of innovation and development, a position it is unlikely to ever relinquish.