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My New York Visit

  • Submitted by: Birinder Dhillon, India
  • Submission Date: 31st Oct 2009

(Between The Lines)
New York – the capital of the world
By: B.S.Dhillon
The Continental Airlines plane landed me at Johan F. Kennedy International Airport, New York on 4th May 2007 at 4 am. When I had started from New Delhi, the temprature was 40°C and here it was 20°C. When I came out of the airport, I touched my left arm just to confirm if it was not a dream and I had actually landed at, what is called- the center of the world. I stayed here for one week. New York city is the most populous city in the United States with a population of eight and a half millions. Here about ten thousand people live in one square kilometre, and the number in Manhattan is twenty five thousands. The city is very crowded. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of the United Nations headquarters, it is an important centre for international affairs. The city is sometimes referred to as “The Capital of the world” and is located on a large natural harbor on the atlantic coast of the United States. The New York stock exchange located on the Wall Street, is the biggest stock exchange in the world. The city has been home to many of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the towers of the former Trade Centre. I visited the 102nd floor observation deck of the famous Empire state Building and the breathtaking view of the city and the Statue of Liberty was marvellous. It was a thrill of a lifetime. Nearly 40% of its population comprises of immigrants. One can hear different languages (as many as 170) in public places in NY. At the time of its European discovery in 1524, the region was inhabited by about 5,000 Red Indians. In the 1920s, New York City was a major destination for Black Americans during the migration from the American southern states to the north. By 1916, New York City was home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The city was attacked in the September 11, 2001 attacks on USA, resulting in the destruction of the World Trade Centre. A new World Trade Centre, along with a memorial will be built on the site. Much of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density. Only one third of its population owns their own houses rest all other are tenants.The beautiful Hudson river flows through the Hudson valley into New York bay. New York City is a city of hot humid summers and cool winters and enjoys an average of 8 months sunshines annually. Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 29°C, winters are cold. The temperature in January, New York City's coldest month, is −12°C. Average winter snowfall is about 62 cm. New York City's greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person, compared with the national average of 24.5. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by many big cities of USA. New York is one of the major cities in the United States with natural drinking water, pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants. New York City has over 28,000 acres of municipal park land and 23 km of public beaches. Manhattan's Central Park, is the most visited city park in the United States with 30 million visitors each year. It is so big and interesting to visit, that I spent one full day over there. It contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, a Zoo, a conservatory garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods and an outdoor theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. The park also serves as an oasis for migrating birds, and about 200 species of birds are regularly seen here. The 10 km of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends. We had our lunch at a Punjabi food junction situated at the corner of the nearby Chelsia Park. It is to our pleasure that Punjabi food and taxi is available everywhere. Three or four Punjabis met me in the streets of NY. New York City is composed of five independent cities, we can say, five islands. The five municipalities of New York are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island. Manhattan is the most densely populated area and home to most of the city's tallest buildings, as well as Central Park and a number of important universities, and many museums. Brooklyn is known for its long beachfront and Coney Island. Historically, a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch. Queens is the site of two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and Johan F. Kennedy International Airport. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the 1298 m long Narrows Bridge which marks the gateway to New York Harbor. Staten Island is connected to Manhattan via the free Staten Island Ferry. The ferry takes 22 minutes for its 8 km journey each way, which is now free of charge and about 70,000 people travel daily and 19 million per annum , is the busiest ferry in the US. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty- which is represented by a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata tablet in her left arm and on which the date of the declaration of independence, July 4th 1776 is inscribed. Standing 100 meter tall, on the Liberty island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship and lower Manhattan. It is the tallest statue in the world. Tourism is important to New York City, with about 47 million foreign and American tourists visiting each. New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Eastern European and Italian immigrants have made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors are licensed by the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the New York, carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide, and over 800,000 vehicles on its nine toll bridges and tunnels per weekday. New York is the largest media market in North America. Land in New York is very costly as $15,887 per square metre. Throughout its history, the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community, the largest African American community in the United States. New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States . The city has had the lowest crime rate in the U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1980s. Violent crime in New York City has decreased more than 75%. Organized crime started in the 1820s had long been associated with New York City. The city's public school system, managed by the Education Department of the city, is the largest in the United States. About 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 schools in the city.There are about 600,000 university students in New York City. New York City has 127 Nobel laureates. It is a city of educated people with sixty per cent graduates.The New York public library with its 80 branches, serves Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island. It was drizzling that time when I had visited it. People were moving around with umbrellas over their heads. When you enter through the main gate, lion statues on both sides of the gate greet you. With a collection of twenty million books and with three thosand staff, it has a fifty million dollars annual budget. We spent half the day there and when we felt tired, we had coffee from its caffeteria. New York is notable among American cities for its high use of public transport, most of which runs 24 hours per day. New York City is home to the two busiest rail stations in the US. About 55% of New Yorkers commute to work using public transport. This is in contrast to the rest of the country, where about 90% of commuters drive their cars to their workplace. NY is a polution free city, all the vehicles run on C.N.G. In Manhattan 75% people do not own cars whereas in USA every citizen has his own car, sometimes two. The big bus terminal, serves 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world. The New York City subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world , with 468 stations. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership- 1.5 billion passenger trips . New York's subway is also notable because nearly all of the system remains open 24 hours per day. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America. New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America. New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States. Hundred million travelers use the three airports, and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation. The New York City subway is the world's largest mass transit system by number of stations and length of track. New York's 120,000 daily cyclists and many pedestrian commuters make it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city. So residents of New York are slim and trim as compared to rest of the americans many of which are over weight. In New York, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence. The George Washington Bridge is considered one of the world's busiest bridges in terms of vehicle traffic. New York is also a major current seaport . I was really impressed by this beautiful city of the tallest buildings. People are lucky who live here. I would like to go there again.
(The Writer is a Lawyer & freelancer writer )