|— Borough of New York City —|
|New York County|
Midtown Manhattan as seen from the GE Building.
Location of Manhattan shown in yellow.
|County||New York County|
|City||New York City|
|- Borough President||Scott Stringer (D)|
|- District Attorney (New York County)||Cyrus Vance, Jr.|
|- Total||33.77 sq mi (87.5 km2)|
|- Land||22.96 sq mi (59.5 km2)|
|- Water||10.81 sq mi (28 km2)|
|- Density||71,201/sq mi (27,490.9/km2)|
|Website||Official Website of the Manhattan Borough President|
New York's Five Boroughs at a Glance
|Borough of||County of||estimate for
1 July 2008
|Source: United States Census Bureau|
Manhattan is one of the boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York. It consists of Manhattan Island and several small adjacent islands: Roosevelt Island, Randall's Island, Ward's Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island, part of Ellis Island, and U Thant Island; as well as Marble Hill, a small section on the mainland near the Bronx. The original city of New York began at the southern end of Manhattan, and expanded in 1898 to include surrounding counties. It is the smallest yet most urbanized of the five boroughs.
The County of New York is the most densely populated county in the United States, and one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a 2008 population of 1,634,795 living in a land area of 22.96 square miles (59.47 km²), or 71,201 residents per square mile (27,485/km²). It is also one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, with a 2005 personal income per capita above $100,000. Manhattan is the third-largest of New York's five boroughs in population.
Manhattan is a major commercial, financial, and cultural center of both the United States and the world. Many major radio, television, and telecommunications companies in the United States are based here, as well as many news, magazine, book, and other media publishers. Manhattan has many famous landmarks, tourist attractions, museums, and universities. It is also home to the headquarters of the United Nations. Manhattan has the largest central business district in the United States, is the site of both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and is the home to the largest number of corporate headquarters in the country. It is the center of New York City and the New York metropolitan region, hosting the seat of city government and a large portion of the area's employment, business, and entertainment activities. As a result, residents of New York City's other boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens often refer to a trip to Manhattan as "going to the city".
The name Manhattan derives from the word Manna-hata, as written in the 1609 logbook of Robert Juet, an officer on Henry Hudson's yacht Halve Maen (Half Moon). A 1610 map depicts the name Manahata twice, on both the west and east sides of the Mauritius River (later named the Hudson River). The word "Manhattan" has been translated as "island of many hills" from the Lenape language. The Lenape Indians themselves gave a slightly different, inaccurate account of the name to Moravian missionary John Heckewelder. They called it Manahachtanienk, which in the Lenape language, means "the island where we all became intoxicated."
The area that is now Manhattan was long inhabited by the Lenape. In 1524, some Lenape in canoes met the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to pass New York Harbor, although he may not have entered the harbor past the Narrows. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped. Hudson came across Manhattan Island and the native people living there in 1609, and continued up the river that would later bear his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site of present day Albany.
A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624 with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1625 construction was started on a citadel and a Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam). Manhattan Island was chosen as the site of Fort Amsterdam, a citadel for the protection of the new arrivals; its 1625 establishment is recognized as the birth date of New York City. According to the document by Pieter Janszoon Schagen our people (ons Volck) — Peter Minuit is not mentioned explicitly there — acquired Manhattan in 1626 from native people in exchange for trade goods worth 60 guilders, often said to be worth 24 dollars, though (by comparing the price of bread and other goods) actually amounts to around $1000 in modern currency(Calculation by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam). Using this estimate, one can jokingly state that it was enough money in 1626 to buy 2,400 tankards of beer.
In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was appointed as the last Dutch Director General of the colony. New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653. In 1664, the British conquered New Netherland and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany, the future King James II. Stuyvesant and his council negotiated 24 articles of provisional transfer with the British which sought to guarantee New Netherlanders liberties, including freedom of religion, under British rule.
A prelude to organized colonial opposition to British rule, the Stamp Act Congress of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies was held in New York City in 1765. The Congress resulted in the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, the first document by a representative body of multiple colonies to assert the concept popularly known as "no taxation without representation." It was also the first time the colonies cooperated for a unified political aim, and laid the foundation for the Continental Congresses that followed years later.
The Sons of Liberty developed on Manhattan in the days following the Stamp Act protests. The organization participated in a long-term confrontation with British authorities over liberty poles that were alternately raised by the Sons of Liberty and cut down by British authorities. The skirmishes ended when the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress took power in 1775.
Manhattan was at the heart of the New York Campaign, a series of major battles in the early American Revolutionary War. The Continental Army was forced to abandon Manhattan after the disastrous Battle of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776. The city became the British political and military center of operations in North America for the remainder of the war. Manhattan was greatly damaged by the Great Fire of New York during the British military rule that followed. British occupation lasted until November 25, 1783, when George Washington returned to Manhattan, as the last British forces left the city.
From January 11, 1785 to the fall of 1788, New York City was the fifth of five capitals under the Articles of Confederation, with the Continental Congress meeting at New York City Hall (then at Fraunces Tavern). New York was the first capital under the newly enacted Constitution of the United States, from March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790 at Federal Hall. The United States Supreme Court sat for the first time, the United States Bill of Rights were drafted and ratified, and the first steps of adding states to the Union with the passage of the Northwest Ordinance all took place there.
New York grew as an economic center, first as a result of Alexander Hamilton's policies and practices as the first Secretary of the Treasury and, later, with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the Midwestern United States and Canada.
Tammany Hall, a Democratic Party political machine, began to grow in influence with the support of many of the immigrant Irish, culminating in the election of the first Tammany mayor, Fernando Wood, in 1854. Tammany Hall dominated local politics for decades. Central Park, which opened to the public in 1858, became the first landscaped park in an American city and the nation's first public park.
During the American Civil War, the city's strong commercial ties to the South, its growing immigrant population (prior to then largely from Germany and Ireland), anger about conscription and resentment at those who could afford to pay $300 to avoid service, led to resentment against Lincoln's war policies, culminating in the three-day long New York Draft Riots of July 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil disorder in American history, with an estimated 119 participants and passersby massacred.
After the Civil War, the rate of immigration from Europe grew steeply, and New York became the first stop for millions seeking a new and better life in the United States, a role acknowledged by the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886, a gift from the people of France. The new European immigration brought further social upheaval. In a city of tenements packed with poorly paid laborers from dozens of nations, the city was a hotbed of revolution, syndicalism, racketeering, and unionization.
In 1883, the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge established a surface connection across the East River. In 1874, the western portion of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County was annexed. The City of Greater New York was formed in 1898, when four counties consolidated to form a single city of five boroughs. Manhattan and the Bronx, though still one county, were established as two separate boroughs. On January 1, 1914, the New York state legislature created Bronx County, and New York County was reduced to its present boundaries.
The construction of the New York City Subway, which opened in 1904, helped bind the new city together, as did additional bridges to Brooklyn. In the 1920s, Manhattan experienced large arrivals of African-Americans as part of the Great Migration from the American South, and the Harlem Renaissance, part of a larger boom time in the Prohibition era that included new skyscrapers competing for the skyline. New York City became the most populous city in the world in 1925, overtaking London, which had reigned for a century.
On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village killed 146 garment workers. The disaster eventually led to overhauls of the city's fire department, building codes, and workplace regulations.
The period between the World Wars saw the election of reformist mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the fall of Tammany Hall after 80 years of political dominance. As the city's demographics stabilized, labor unionization brought new protections and affluence to the working class, the city's government and infrastructure underwent a dramatic overhaul under La Guardia. Despite the Great Depression, some of the world's tallest skyscrapers were completed in Manhattan during the 1930s, including numerous Art Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline today, most notably the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the GE Building.
Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom, which led to the development of huge housing developments targeted at returning veterans, including Peter Cooper Village—Stuyvesant Town which opened in 1947. In 1951, the United Nations relocated from its first headquarters in Queens, to the East Side of Manhattan.
Like many major U.S. cities, New York suffered race riots and population and industrial decline in the 1960s. By the 1970s, the city had gained a reputation as a graffiti-covered, crime-ridden relic of history. In 1975, the city government faced imminent bankruptcy, and its appeals for assistance were initially rejected, summarized by the classic October 30, 1975 New York Daily News headline as "Ford to City: Drop Dead". The fate was avoided through a federal loan and debt restructuring, and the city was forced to accept increased financial scrutiny by New York State.
The 1980s saw a rebirth of Wall Street, and the city reclaimed its role at the center of the worldwide financial industry. The 1980s also saw Manhattan at the heart of the AIDS crisis, with Greenwich Village at its epicenter. Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) were founded to advocate on behalf of those stricken with the disease.
Starting in the 1990s, crime rates dropped drastically, with murder rates that had reached 2,245 in 1990 plummeting to 537 by 2008, and the crack epidemic and its associated drug-related violence under greater control. The outflow of population turned around, as the city once again became the destination of immigrants from around the world, joining with low interest rates and Wall Street bonuses to fuel the growth of the real estate market.
Since the early to-mid 1990s, inflation has driven rent prices much higher, often causing it to become unaffordable for working and middle class population. As the city became much safer and more desirable, many young people from other states have moved into a variety of neighborhoods in the borough. Manhattan has experienced a gradual transformation that now encompasses population that is now predominantly found to be of well-educated residents in their 20s and 30s. There is an especially prominent population of youth aspiring in the arts in various Lower East Side neighborhoods, such as SoHo, Alphabet City, TriBeCa and Greenwich Village.
On September 11th, 2001, planes were hijacked and flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center, killing more than 3,000 people. The two towers were destroyed, along with World Trade Center 7, which was evacuated before it collapsed, due to fire damage. There have been plans of reconstructing the towers (see Freedom Tower, and World Trade Center rebuilding controversy)
Modern New York City is familiar to many people around the globe thanks to its popularity as a setting for films and television series. Notable television examples include such award-winning shows as Friends, 30 Rock, CSI: NY, Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Will & Grace, Spin City, Gossip Girl, and Sex and the City. Notable film examples include Miracle on 34th Street, Ghostbusters, Eyes Wide Shut, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Cloverfield, and many of Woody Allen's films, such as Annie Hall, Bananas, and Manhattan.
Manhattan is loosely divided into downtown, midtown, and uptown, with Fifth Avenue dividing Manhattan's east and west sides. Manhattan Island is bounded by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. To the north, the Harlem River divides Manhattan from The Bronx and the mainland United States. Several small islands are also part of the borough of Manhattan, including Randall's Island, Ward's Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor. Manhattan Island is 22.7 square miles (58.8 km²) in area, 13.4 miles (21.6 km) long and 2.3 miles (3.7 km) wide, at its widest (near 14th Street). New York County as a whole covers a total area of 33.77 square miles (87.46 km²), of which 22.96 square miles (59.47 km²) are land and 10.81 square miles (28.00 km²) are water.
One Manhattan neighborhood is contiguous with The Bronx. Marble Hill at one time was part of Manhattan Island, but the Harlem River Ship Canal, dug in 1895 to improve navigation on the Harlem River, separated it from the remainder of Manhattan as an island between the Bronx and the remainder of Manhattan. Before World War I, the section of the original Harlem River channel separating Marble Hill from The Bronx was filled in, and Marble Hill became part of the mainland.
Marble Hill is one example of how Manhattan's land has been considerably altered by human intervention. The borough has seen substantial land reclamation along its waterfronts since Dutch colonial times, and much of the natural variation in topography has been evened out.
Early in the nineteenth century, landfill was used to expand Lower Manhattan from the natural Hudson shoreline at Greenwich Street to West Street. When building the World Trade Center, 1.2 million cubic yards (917,000 m³) of material was excavated from the site. Rather than dumping the spoil at sea or in landfills, the fill material was used to expand the Manhattan shoreline across West Street, creating Battery Park City. The result was a 700-foot (210-m) extension into the river, running six blocks or 1,484 feet (450 m), covering 92 acres (370,000 m2), providing a 1.2-mile (1.9-km) riverfront esplanade and over 30 acres (120,000 m2) of parks.
Manhattan has fixed vehicular connections with New Jersey to the west by way of the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel, and to three of the four other New York City boroughs—the Bronx to the northeast and Brooklyn and Queens on Long Island to the east and south. Its only direct connection with the fifth New York City borough is the Staten Island Ferry across New York Harbor, which is free of charge. The ferry terminal is located near Battery Park at its southern tip. It is possible to travel to Staten Island by way of Brooklyn, using the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The Commissioners' Plan of 1811, called for twelve numbered avenues running north and south roughly parallel to the shore of the Hudson River, each 100 feet (30 m) wide, with First Avenue on the east side and Twelfth Avenue in the west. There are several intermittent avenues east of First Avenue, including four additional lettered avenues running from Avenue A eastward to Avenue D in an area now known as Alphabet City in Manhattan's East Village. The numbered streets in Manhattan run east-west, and are 60 feet (18 m) wide, with about 200 feet (61 m) between each pair of streets. With each combined street and block adding up to about 260 feet (79 m), there are almost exactly 20 blocks per mile. The typical block in Manhattan is 250 by 600 feet. Fifteen crosstown streets were designated as 100 feet (30 m) wide, including 34th, 42nd, 57th and 125th Streets, some of the borough's most significant transportation and shopping venues. Broadway is the most notable of many exceptions to the grid, starting at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan and continuing north into the Bronx at Manhattan's northern tip. In much of Midtown Manhattan, Broadway runs at a diagonal to the grid, creating major named intersections at Union Square, Herald Square (Sixth Avenue and 34th Street), Times Square (Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street), and Columbus Circle (Eighth Avenue/Central Park West and 59th Street).
A consequence of the strict grid plan of most of Manhattan, and the grid's skew of approximately 28.9 degrees, is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as Manhattanhenge (by analogy with Stonehenge). On separate occasions in late May and early July, the sunset is aligned with the street grid lines, with the result that the sun is visible at or near the western horizon from street level. A similar phenomenon occurs with the sunrise in January and December.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoos and aquariums in the city, is currently undertaking The Mannahatta Project, a computer simulation to visually reconstruct the ecology and geography of Manhattan when Henry Hudson first sailed by in 1609, and compare it to what we know of the island today.
|New York County|
Manhattan's many neighborhoods are not named according to any particular convention. Some are geographical (the Upper East Side), or ethnically descriptive (Chinatown). Others are acronyms, such as TriBeCa (for "TRIangle BElow CAnal Street") or SoHo ("SOuth of HOuston"), or the far more recent vintage NoLIta ("NOrth of Little ITaly"). Harlem is a name from the Dutch colonial era after Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands. Alphabet City comprises Avenues A, B, C and D, to which its name refers.
Some neighborhoods, such as SoHo, are commercial and known for upscale shopping. Others, such as Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Alphabet City and the East Village, have long been associated with the "Bohemian" subculture. Chelsea is a neighborhood with a large gay population, and recently a center of New York's art industry and nightlife. Washington Heights is a vibrant neighborhood of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Manhattan's Chinatown has a dense population of people of Chinese descent. The Upper West Side is often characterized as more intellectual and creative, in contrast to the old money and conservative values of the Upper East Side, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States.
In Manhattan, uptown means north (more precisely north-northeast, which is the direction the island and its street grid system is oriented) and downtown means south (south-southwest). This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, the Financial District at the southern tip of the island, and Midtown Manhattan. The term uptown also refers to the northern part of Manhattan above 59th Street) and downtown to the southern portion below 14th Street, with Midtown covering the area in between, though definitions can be rather fluid depending on the situation.
Fifth Avenue roughly bisects Manhattan Island and acts as the demarcation line for east/west designations (e.g., East 27th Street, West 42nd Street); street addresses start at Fifth Avenue and increase heading away from Fifth Avenue, at a rate of 100 per block in most places. South of Waverly Place in Manhattan, Fifth Avenue terminates and Broadway becomes the east/west demarcation line. Though the grid does start with 1st Street, just north of Houston Street (pronounced HOW-stin), the grid does not fully take hold until north of 14th Street, where nearly all east-west streets are numerically identified, which increase from south to north to 220th Street, the highest numbered street on the island.
Although located at around 41°N, Manhattan has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen classification Cfa). The city's coastal position keeps temperatures relatively warmer than those of inland regions during winter, helping to moderate the amount of snow which averages 25 to 35 inches (63.5 to 88.9 cm) each year. New York City has a frost-free period lasting an average of 220 days between seasonal freezes. Spring and fall in New York City are mild, while summer is very warm and humid, with temperatures of 90°F (32°C) or higher recorded from 18 to 25 days on average during the season. The city's long-term climate patterns are affected by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, a 70-year-long warming and cooling cycle in the Atlantic that influences the frequency and severity of hurricanes and coastal storms in the region.
Temperature records have been set as high as 106°F (41°C) on July 9, 1936 and as low as -15°F (-26°C) on February 9, 1934. Temperatures have hit 100°F as recently as July 2005 and 103°F in August 2006 and dropped to just 1 above zero as recently as January 2004.
Summer evening temperatures are elevated by the urban heat island effect which causes heat absorbed during the day to be radiated back at night, raising temperatures by as much as 7 °F (4 °C) when winds are slow.
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Average high °F (°C)||38.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||32.1
|Average low °F (°C)||26.2
|Record low °F (°C)||-6
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.13
|Snowfall inches (mm)||7.5
|Avg. snowy days||4.1||2.9||1.6||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.3||1.8||10.9|
|Avg. precipitation days||10.3||9.4||10.7||11.1||11.4||10.8||10.2||9.5||9.1||8.3||9.3||10.6||120.7|
|Source: NOAA 
Weatherbase.com  August 2009
Since New York City's consolidation in 1898, Manhattan has been governed by the New York City Charter, which has provided for a strong mayor-council system since its revision in 1989. The centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services in Manhattan.
The office of Borough President was created in the consolidation of 1898 to balance centralization with local authority. Each borough president had a powerful administrative role derived from having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city's budget and proposals for land use. In 1989 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Board of Estimate unconstitutional because Brooklyn, the most populous borough, had no greater effective representation on the Board than Staten Island, the least populous borough, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.
Since 1990, the largely powerless Borough President has acted as an advocate for the borough at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York state government, and corporations. Manhattan's Borough President is Scott Stringer, elected as a Democrat in 2005.
Cy Vance, a Democrat, has been the District Attorney of New York County since 2010. Manhattan has ten City Council members, the third largest contingent among the five boroughs. It also has twelve administrative districts, each served by a local Community Board. Community Boards are representative bodies that field complaints and serve as advocates for local residents. As the host of the United Nations, the borough is home to the world's largest international consular corps, comprising 105 consulates, consulates general and honorary consulates. It is also the home of New York City Hall, the seat of New York City government housing the Mayor of New York City and the New York City Council. The mayor's staff and thirteen municipal agencies are located in the nearby Manhattan Municipal Building, completed in 1916, one of the largest governmental buildings in the world.
|2008||13.5% 89,906||85.7% 572,126|
|2004||16.7% 107,405||82.1% 526,765|
|2000||14.2% 79,921||79.8% 449,300|
|1996||13.8% 67,839||80.0% 394,131|
|1992||15.9% 84,501||78.2% 416,142|
|1988||22.9% 115,927||76.1% 385,675|
|1984||27.4% 144,281||72.1% 379,521|
|1980||26.2% 115,911||62.4% 275,742|
|1976||25.5% 117,702||73.2% 337,438|
|1972||33.4% 178,515||66.2% 354,326|
|1968||25.6% 135,458||70.0% 370,806|
|1964||19.2% 120,125||80.5% 503,848|
|1960||34.2% 217,271||65.3% 414,902|
|1956||44.26% 300,004||55.74% 377,856|
|1952||39.30% 300,284||58.47% 446,727|
|1948||33.18% 241,752||52.20% 380,310|
The Democratic Party holds most public offices. Registered Republicans are a minority in the borough, only constituting approximately 12% of the electorate. Registered Republicans are more than 20% of the electorate only in the neighborhoods of the Upper East Side and the Financial District. The Democrats hold 66.1% of those registered in a party. 21.9% of the voters were unaffiliated (independents).
Manhattan is divided between four congressional districts, all of which are represented by Democrats.
No Republican has won the presidential election in Manhattan since 1924, when Calvin Coolidge won a plurality of the New York County vote over Democrat John W. Davis, 41.20%–39.55%. Warren G. Harding was the most recent Republican presidential candidate to win a majority of the Manhattan vote, with 59.22% of the 1920 vote. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 82.1% of the vote in Manhattan and Republican George W. Bush received 16.7%. The borough is the most important source of funding for presidential campaigns in the United States; in 2004, it was home to six of the top seven ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions. The top ZIP code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the United States presidential election for all presidential candidates, including both Kerry and Bush during the 2004 election.
The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Manhattan. The James A. Farley Post Office in Midtown Manhattan is New York City's main post office. The post office stopped 24-hour service beginning on May 9, 2009 due to decreasing mail traffic.
Starting in the mid-19th century, the United States became a magnet for immigrants seeking to escape poverty in their home countries. After arriving in New York, many new arrivals ended up living in squalor in the slums of the Five Points neighborhood, an area between Broadway and the Bowery, northeast of New York City Hall. By the 1820s, the area was home to many gambling dens and "houses of ill repute", and was known as a dangerous place to go. In 1842, Charles Dickens visited the area and was appalled at the horrendous living conditions he had seen. The area was so notorious that it even caught the attention of Abraham Lincoln, who visited the area before his Cooper Union Address in 1860. The predominantly Irish Five Points Gang was one of the country's first major organized crime entities.
As Italian immigration grew in the early 1900s many joined ethnic gangs, including Al Capone, who got his start in crime with the Five Points Gang. The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily and spread to the East Coast of the United States during the late 19th century following waves of Sicilian and Southern Italian emigration. Lucky Luciano established La Cosa Nostra in Manhattan, forming alliances with other criminal enterprises, including the Jewish mob, led by Meyer Lansky, the leading Jewish gangster of that period. from 1920–1933, Prohibition helped create a thriving black market in liquor, which the Mafia was quick to capitalize on.
New York City experienced a sharp increase in crime during the 1960s and 1970s, with a near fivefold jump in the total number of police-recorded crimes, from 21.09 per thousand in 1960 to a peak of 102.66 in 1981. Homicides continued to increase in the city for another decade, with murders recorded by the NYPD jumping from 390 in 1960, to 1,117 in 1970, 1,812 in 1980, and reaching its peak of 2,262 in 1990 mainly because of the crack epidemic. Starting circa 1990, New York City saw record declines in homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, violent crime, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and property crime, a trend that has continued to today.
Based on 2005 data, New York City has the lowest crime rate among the ten largest cities in the United States. The city as a whole ranked fourth nationwide in the 13th annual Morgan Quitno survey of the 32 cities surveyed with a population above 500,000. The New York Police Department, with 36,400 officers, is larger than the next four largest U.S. departments combined. The NYPD's counter-terrorism division, with 1,000 officers assigned, is larger than the FBI's. The NYPD's CompStat system of crime tracking, reporting and monitoring has been credited with a drop in crime in New York City that has far surpassed the drop elsewhere in the United States.
Since 1990, crime in Manhattan has plummeted in all categories tracked by the CompStat profile. A borough that saw 503 murders in 1990 has seen a drop of nearly 88% to 62 in 2008. Robbery and burglary are down by more than 80% during the period, and auto theft has been reduced by more than 93%. Overall crime has declined by more than 75% since 1990 in the seven major crime categories tracked by the system, and year-to-date statistics through May 2009 show continuing declines.
per square mile
|Median household income (1999)||$47,030||$38,293||$43,393|
|Per capita income||$42,922||$22,402||$23,389|
|Bachelor's degree or higher||49.4%||27.4%||27.4%|
(of any race)
According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 1,634,795 people residing in Manhattan on July 1, 2008. As of the 2000 Census, the population density of New York County was 66,940.1/sq mi (25,849.9/km²), the highest population density of any county in the United States. If 2008 census estimates are accurate, then the population density now exceeds 71,201 people per square mile. In 1910, at the height of European immigration to New York, Manhattan's population density reached a peak of 101,548/sq mi (39,222.9/km²). There were 798,144 housing units in 2000 at an average density of 34,756.7/sq mi (13,421.8/km²). Only 20.3% of Manhattan residents lived in owner-occupied housing, the second-lowest rate of all counties in the nation, behind the Bronx.
The New York City Department of City Planning projects that Manhattan's population will grow by 289,000 people between 2000 and 2030, an increase of 18.8% over the period, second only to Staten Island, while the rest of the city is projected to grow by 12.7% over the same period. The school-age population is expected to grow 4.4% by 2030, in contrast to a small decline in the city as a whole. The elderly population is forecast to grow by 57.9%, with the borough adding 108,000 persons ages 65 and over, compared to 44.2% growth citywide.
According to the 2005–2007 American Community Survey, Manhattan's population was 56.8% White (48.4% non-Hispanic White alone), 16.7% Black or African American (13.8% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.8% American Indian and Alaska Native, 11.3% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 16.9% from some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 25.1% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
56.2% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. 28.4% were foreign born and another 3.6% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents. 38.8% spoke a language other than English at home.
In 2000, 56.4% of people living in Manhattan were White, 17.39% were Black, 14.14% were from other races, 9.40% were Asian, 0.5% were Native American, and 0.07% were Pacific Islander. 4.14% were from two or more races. 27.18% were Hispanic of any race. 24.93% reported speaking Spanish at home, 4.12% Chinese, and 2.19% French.
There were 738,644 households. 25.2% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 59.1% were non-families. 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 48% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was two and the average family size was 2.99.
Manhattan's population was spread out with 16.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
Manhattan is one of the highest-income places in the United States with a population greater than one million. Based on IRS data for the 2004 tax year, New York County (Manhattan) had the highest average federal income tax liability per return in the country. Average tax liability was $25,875, representing 20.0% of Adjusted Gross Income. As of 2002, Manhattan had the highest per capita income of any county in the country.
The Manhattan ZIP Code 10021, on the Upper East Side is home to more than 100,000 people and has a per capita income of over $90,000. It is one of the largest concentrations of extreme wealth in the United States. Most Manhattan neighborhoods are not as wealthy. The median income for a household in the county was $47,030, and the median income for a family was $50,229. Males had a median income of $51,856 versus $45,712 for females. The per capita income for the county was $42,922. About 17.6% of families and 20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.8% of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.
Lower Manhattan (Manhattan south of Houston Street) is more economically diverse. While the Financial District had few non-commercial tenants after the 1950s, the area has seen a surge in its residential population, with estimates showing over 30,000 residents living in the area as of 2005, a jump from the 15,000 to 20,000 before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Manhattan is religiously diverse. The largest religious affiliation is the Roman Catholic Church, whose adherents constitute 564,505 persons (more than 36% of the population) and maintain 110 congregations. Jews comprise the second largest religious group, with 314,500 persons (20.5%) in 102 congregations. They are followed by are Protestants, with 139,732 adherents (9.1%) and Muslims, with 37,078 (2.4%).
The borough is also experiencing a baby boom. Since 2000, the number of children under age five living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.
The skyscraper, which has shaped Manhattan's distinctive skyline, has been closely associated with New York City's identity since the end of the 19th century. From 1890–1973, the world's tallest building was in Manhattan, with nine different buildings holding the title. The New York World Building on Park Row, was the first to take the title, standing 309 feet (91 m) until 1955, when it was demolished to construct a new ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge. The nearby Park Row Building, with its 29 stories standing 391 feet (119 m) high took the title in 1899. The 41-story Singer Building, constructed in 1908 as the headquarters of the eponymous sewing machine manufacturer, stood 612 feet (187 m) high until 1967, when it became the tallest building ever demolished. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, standing 700 feet (213 m) at the foot of Madison Avenue, wrested the title in 1909, with a tower reminiscent of St Mark's Campanile in Venice. The Woolworth Building, and its distinctive Gothic architecture, took the title in 1913, topping off at 792 feet (241 m).
The Roaring Twenties saw a race to the sky, with three separate buildings pursuing the world's tallest title in the span of a year. As the stock market soared in the days before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, two developers publicly competed for the crown. At 927 feet (282 m), 40 Wall Street, completed in May 1930 in an astonishing eleven months as the headquarters of the Bank of Manhattan, seemed to have secured the title. At Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, auto executive Walter Chrysler and his architect William Van Alen developed plans to build the structure's trademark 185-foot (56 m)-high spire in secret, pushing the Chrysler Building to 1,046 feet (319 m) and making it the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1929. Both buildings were soon surpassed, with the May 1931 completion of the 102-story Empire State Building with its Art Deco tower soaring 1,250 feet (381 m) to the top of the building. The 203 ft (62 m) high pinnacle was later added bringing the total height of the building to 1,453 ft (443 m)).
The former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, once an iconic symbol of the City, were located in Lower Manhattan. At 1,368 and 1,362 feet (417m& 415m), the 110-story buildings were the world's tallest from 1972, until they were surpassed by the construction of the Willis Tower in 1974 (formerly known as the Sears tower located in Chicago). By the end of the 20th century the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were arguably among the world's most famous and recognizable buildings until their destruction in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The World Trade Center was the object of admiration for many including French tightrope walker Philippe Petit who balanced himself across a single cable that was suspended between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974. One World Trade Center, a replacement for the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, is currently under construction and is slated to be ready for occupancy in 2014.
In 1961, the Pennsylvania Railroad unveiled plans to tear down the old Penn Station and replace it with a new Madison Square Garden and office building complex. Organized protests were aimed at preserving the McKim, Mead, and White-designed structure completed in 1910, widely considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style and one of the architectural jewels of New York City. Despite these efforts, demolition of the structure began in October 1963. The loss of Penn Station—called "an act of irresponsible public vandalism" by historian Lewis Mumford—led directly to the enactment in 1965 of a local law establishing the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is responsible for preserving the "city's historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage". The historic preservation movement triggered by Penn Station's demise has been credited with the retention of some one million structures nationwide, including nearly 1,000 in New York City.
The theatre district around Broadway at Times Square, New York University, Columbia University, Flatiron Building, the Financial District around Wall Street, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Little Italy, Harlem, the American Museum of Natural History, Chinatown, and Central Park are all located on this densely populated island.
Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, on the south by West 59th Street, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park's borders, these streets are usually referred to as Central Park North, Central Park West, and Central Park South, respectively (Fifth Avenue retains its name along the eastern border). The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The 843 acre (3.4 km²) park offers extensive walking tracks, two ice-skating rinks, a wildlife sanctuary, and grassy areas used for various sporting pursuits, as well as playgrounds for children. The park is a popular oasis for migrating birds, and thus is popular with bird watchers. The 6 mile (10 km) road circling the park is popular with joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is banned.
While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped and contains several artificial lakes. The construction of Central Park in the 1850s was one of the era's most massive public works projects. Some 20,000 workers crafted the topography to create the English-style pastoral landscape Olmsted and Vaux sought to create. Workers moved nearly 3,000,000 cubic yards (2,300,000 m3) of soil and planted more than 270,000 trees and shrubs.
17.8% of the borough, a total of 2,686 acres (10.9 km²), are devoted to parkland. Almost 70% of Manhattan's space devoted to parks is located outside of Central Park, including 204 playgrounds, 251 Greenstreets, 371 basketball courts and many other amenities.
The African Burial Ground National Monument at Duane Street preserves a site containing the remains of over 400 Africans buried during the 17th and 18th centuries. The remains were found in 1991 during the construction of the Foley Square Federal Office Building.
Manhattan is home to some of the nation's most valuable real estate, and has a reputation as one of the most expensive areas in the United States.
Manhattan is the economic engine of New York City, with its 2.3 million workers drawn from the entire New York metropolitan area accounting for almost two-thirds of all jobs in New York City. Manhattan's daytime population swells to 2.87 million, with commuters adding a net 1.34 million people to the population. This commuter influx of 1.46 million workers coming into Manhattan was the largest of any other county or city in the country, and was more than triple the 480,000 commuters who headed into second-ranked Washington, D.C.
Its most important economic sector is the finance industry, whose 280,000 workers earned more than half of all the wages paid in the borough. The securities industry, best-known by its center in Wall Street, forms the largest segment of the city's financial sector, accounting for over 50% of the financial services employment. Before the financial crisis of 2008, the five largest securities-trading firms in the U.S. had their headquarters in Manhattan.
In 2006, those in the Manhattan financial industry earned an average weekly pay of about $8,300 (including bonuses), while the average weekly pay for all industries was about $2,500. This was the highest in the country's 325 largest counties, and the salary growth of 8% was the highest among the ten largest counties. Pay in the borough was 85% higher than the $784 pay earned weekly nationwide and nearly double the amount earned by workers in the outer boroughs. The health care sector represents about 11% of the borough's jobs and 4% of total compensation, with workers taking home about $900 per week.
New York City is home to the most corporate headquarters of any city in the nation, the overwhelming majority based in Manhattan. Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States. Lower Manhattan is the nation's third-largest central business district (after Chicago's Loop) and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange (Amex), the New York Board of Trade, the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) and NASDAQ.
Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks are headquartered in Manhattan. "Madison Avenue" is often used metonymously to refer to the entire advertising field, after Madison Avenue became identified with the advertising industry after the explosive growth in the area in the 1920s.
Manhattan's workforce is overwhelmingly focused on white collar professions, with manufacturing (39,800 workers) and construction (31,600) accounting for a small fraction of the borough's employment.
Historically, this corporate presence has been complemented by many independent retailers, though a recent influx of national chain stores has caused many to lament the creeping homogenization of Manhattan.
Manhattan has been the scene of many important American cultural movements. In 1912, about 20,000 workers, a quarter of them women, marched on Washington Square Park to commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 workers on March 25, 1911. Many of the women wore fitted tucked-front blouses like those manufactured by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a clothing style that became the working woman's uniform and a symbol of female independence, reflecting the alliance of labor and suffrage movements. The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s established the African-American literary canon in the United States. Manhattan's vibrant visual art scene in the 1950s and 1960s was a center of the American pop art movement, which gave birth to such giants as Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Perhaps no other artist is as associated with the downtown pop art movement of the late 1970s as Andy Warhol, who socialized at clubs like Serendipity 3 and Studio 54.
A popular haven for art, the downtown neighborhood of Chelsea is widely known for its galleries and cultural events, with more than 200 art galleries that are home to modern art from both upcoming and established artists.
Broadway theatre is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Plays and musicals are staged in one of the 39 larger professional theatres with at least 500 seats, almost all in and around Times Square. Off-Broadway theatres feature productions in venues with 100-500 seats. A little more than a mile from Times Square is the Lincoln Center, home to one of the world's most prestigious opera houses, that of the Metropolitan Opera.
Manhattan is also home to some of the most extensive art collections, both contemporary and historical, in the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum.
Manhattan is the borough most closely associated with New York City by non-residents; even some natives of New York City's outer boroughs will describe a trip to Manhattan as "going to the city".
The borough has a place in several American idioms. The phrase "a New York minute" is meant to convey a very short time, sometimes in hyperbolic form, as in "perhaps faster than you would believe is possible". It refers to the rapid pace of life in Manhattan. The term "melting pot" was first popularly coined to describe the densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side in Israel Zangwill's play The Melting Pot, which was an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set by Zangwill in New York City in 1908. The iconic Flatiron Building is said to have been the source of the phrase "23 skidoo" or scram, from what cops would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women's dresses being blown up by the winds created by the triangular building. The "Big Apple" dates back to the 1920s, when a reporter heard the term used by New Orleans stablehands to refer to New York City's racetracks and named his racing column "Around The Big Apple." Jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to the city as the world's jazz capital, and a 1970s ad campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau helped popularize the term.
Today, Manhattan is home of the NHL's New York Rangers, WNBA's New York Liberty, and NBA's New York Knicks, who all play their home games at Madison Square Garden, the only major professional sports arena in the borough. The New York Jets proposed a West Side Stadium for their home field, but the proposal was eventually defeated in June 2005, leaving them at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Today, Manhattan is the only borough in New York City that does not have a professional baseball franchise. The Bronx has the Yankees and Queens has the Mets of the Major League Baseball. The Minor League Baseball Brooklyn Cyclones play in Brooklyn, while the Staten Island Yankees play in Staten Island. Yet three of the four major league teams to play in New York City played in Manhattan. The New York Giants played in the various incarnations of the Polo Grounds at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue from their inception in 1883—except for 1889, when they split their time between Jersey City and Staten Island, and when they played in Hilltop Park in 1911—until they headed west with the Brooklyn Dodgers after the 1957 season. The New York Yankees began their franchise as the Hilltoppers, named for Hilltop Park, where they played from their creation in 1903 until 1912. The team moved to the Polo Grounds with the 1913 season, where they were officially christened the New York Yankees, remaining there until they moved across the Harlem River in 1923 to Yankee Stadium. The New York Mets played in the Polo Grounds in 1962 and 1963, their first two seasons, before Shea Stadium was completed in 1964. After the Mets departed, the Polo Grounds was demolished in April 1964, replaced by public housing.
The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city. The New York Knicks started play in 1946 as one of the National Basketball Association's original teams, playing their first home games at the 69th Regiment Armory, before making Madison Square Garden their permanent home. The New York Liberty of the WNBA have shared the Garden with the Knicks since their creation in 1997 as one of the league's original eight teams. Rucker Park in Harlem is a playground court, famed for its street ball style of play, where many NBA athletes have played in the summer league.
Though both of New York City's football teams play today across the Hudson River in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, both teams started out playing in the Polo Grounds. The New York Giants played side-by-side with their baseball namesakes from the time they entered the National Football League in 1925, until crossing over to Yankee Stadium in 1956. The New York Jets, originally known as the Titans, started out in 1960 at the Polo Grounds, staying there for four seasons before joining the Mets in Queens in 1964.
The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League have played in the various locations of Madison Square Garden since their founding in the 1926–1927 season. The Rangers were predated by the New York Americans, who started play in the Garden the previous season, lasting until the team folded after the 1941–1942 NHL season, a season it played in the Garden as the Brooklyn Americans.
The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League played their home games at Downing Stadium for two seasons, starting in 1974. In 1975, the team signed Pelé, officially recorded by FIFA as the world's greatest soccer player, to a $4.5 million contract, drawing a capacity crowd of 22,500 to watch him lead the team to a 2-0 victory. The playing pitch and facilities at Downing Stadium were in dreadful condition though and as the team's popularity grew they too left for Yankee Stadium, and then Giants Stadium. The stadium was demolished in 2002 to make way for the $45 million, 4,754-seat Icahn Stadium which includes an Olympic-standard 400-meter running track and, as part of Pele's and the Cosmos' legacy, includes a FIFA-approved floodlit soccer stadium which hosts matches involving some 48 youth teams who are members of a Manhattan soccer club.
Manhattan is served by the major New York City dailies, including The New York Times, New York Daily News, and New York Post, which are all headquartered in the borough. The nation's largest financial newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, is also based there. Other daily newspapers include AM New York and The Villager. The New York Amsterdam News, based in Harlem, is one of the leading African American weekly newspapers in the United States. The Village Voice is a leading alternative weekly based in the borough.
The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy. The four major American broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC are all headquartered in Manhattan, as are many cable channels, including MSNBC, MTV, Fox News, HBO and Comedy Central. In 1971, WLIB became New York's first black-owned radio station and the crown jewel of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation. A co-founder of Inner City was Percy Sutton, a former Manhattan borough president and long one of the city’s most powerful black leaders. WLIB began broadcasts for the African-American community in 1949 and regularly interviewed civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and aired live broadcasts from conferences of the NAACP. Influential WQHT, also known as Hot 97, claims to be the premier hip-hop station in the United States. WNYC, comprising an AM and FM signal, has the largest public radio audience in the nation and is the most-listened to commercial or non-commercial radio station in Manhattan. WBAI, with news and information programming, is one of the few socialist radio stations operating in the United States.
The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971, offers eclectic local programming that ranges from a jazz hour to discussion of labor issues to foreign language and religious programming. NY1, Time Warner Cable's local news channel, is known for its beat coverage of City Hall and state politics.
In the early days of Manhattan, wood construction and poor access to water supplies left the city vulnerable to fires. In 1776, shortly after the Continental Army evacuated Manhattan and left it to the British, a massive fire broke out destroying one-third of the city and some 500 houses.
The rise of immigration near the turn of the 20th century left major portions of Manhattan, especially the Lower East Side, densely packed with recent arrivals, crammed into unhealthy and unsanitary housing. Tenements were usually five-stories high, constructed on the then-typical 25x100 lots, with "cockroach landlords" exploiting the new immigrants. By 1929, stricter fire codes and the increased use of elevators in residential buildings, were the impetus behind a new housing code that effectively ended the tenement as a form of new construction, though many tenement buildings survive today on the East Side of the borough.
Today, Manhattan offers a wide array of public and private housing options. There were 798,144 housing units in Manhattan as of the 2000 Census, at an average density of 34,756.7/sq mi (13,421.8/km²). Only 20.3% of Manhattan residents lived in owner-occupied housing, the second-lowest rate of all counties in the nation, behind The Bronx.
Manhattan is unique in the United States of America for intense use of public transportation and lack of private car ownership. While 88% of Americans nationwide drive to their jobs and only 5% use public transportation, mass transit is the dominant form of travel for residents of Manhattan, with 72% of borough residents using public transportation and only 18% driving to work. According to the United States Census, 2000, more than 75% of Manhattan households do not own a car.
The New York City Subway, the largest subway system in the world by track mileage and the largest by number of stations, is the primary means of travel within the city, linking every borough except Staten Island. A second subway, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) system, connects Manhattan to northern New Jersey. Passengers pay fares with pay-per-ride MetroCards, which are valid on all city buses and subways, as well as on PATH trains. A one-way fare on the bus or subway is $2.25, and PATH costs $1.75. There are daily, 7-day, 14-day, and 30-day MetroCards that allow unlimited trips on all subways (except PATH) and MTA bus routes (except for express buses). The PATH QuickCard is being phased out, and both PATH and the MTA are testing "smart card" payment systems to replace the MetroCard. Commuter rail services operating to and from Manhattan are the Long Island Rail Road (which connects Manhattan and other New York City boroughs to Long Island), the Metro-North Railroad (which connects Manhattan to Westchester County and Southwestern Connecticut) and New Jersey Transit trains to various points in New Jersey.
The MTA New York City Bus offers a wide variety of local buses within Manhattan. An extensive network of express bus routes serves commuters and other travelers heading into Manhattan. The bus system served 740 million passengers in 2004, the highest in the nation, and more than double the ridership of the second-place Los Angeles.
New York's iconic yellow cabs, which number 13,087 city-wide and must have the requisite medallion authorizing the pick up of street hails, are ubiquitous in the borough. Manhattan also sees tens of thousands of bicycle commuters. The Roosevelt Island Tramway, one of two commuter cable car systems in North America, whisks commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan in less than five minutes, and has been serving the island since 1978. (The other system in North America is the Portland Aerial Tram.)  The Staten Island Ferry, which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2 mile (8.4 km) run between Manhattan and Staten Island. Each weekday, five vessels transport about 65,000 passengers on 110 boat trips. The ferry has been fare-free since 1997, when the then-50-cent fare was eliminated.
The metro region's commuter rail lines converge at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, on the west and east sides of Midtown Manhattan, respectively. They are the two busiest rail stations in the United States. About one-third of users of mass transit and two-thirds of railway passengers in the country live in New York and its suburbs. Amtrak provides inter-city passenger rail service from Penn Station to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; Upstate New York, New England; cross-border service to Toronto and Montreal; and destinations in the South and Midwest.
The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles a day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan, is the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world. The tunnel was built instead of a bridge to allow for unfettered passage of large passenger and cargo ships which sailed through New York Harbor and up the Hudson to Manhattan's piers. The Queens Midtown Tunnel, built to relieve congestion on the bridges connecting Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn, was the largest non-federal project in its time when it was completed in 1940. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first person to drive through it.
The FDR Drive and Harlem River Drive are two routes with limited access that skirt the east side of Manhattan along the East River, designed by controversial New York master planner Robert Moses.
Manhattan has three public heliports. US Helicopter offers regularly scheduled helicopter service connecting the Downtown Manhattan Heliport with John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
Gas and electric service is provided by Consolidated Edison to all of Manhattan. Con Edison's electric business traces its roots back to Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Illuminating Company, the first investor-owned electric utility. The company started service on September 4, 1882, using one generator to provide 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers with 800 light bulbs, in a one-square-mile area of Lower Manhattan from his Pearl Street Station. Con Edison operates the world's largest district steam system, which consists of 105 miles (169 km) of steam pipes, providing steam for heating, hot water, and air conditioning by some 1,800 Manhattan customers. Cable service is provided by Time Warner Cable and telephone service is provided by Verizon Communications, although AT&T is available as well.
Manhattan, surrounded by two brackish rivers, had a limited supply of fresh water. The supply dwindled as the city grew rapidly after the American Revolutionary War. To satisfy the growing population, the city acquired land in Westchester County and constructed the Croton Aqueduct system, which went into service in 1842. The system took water from a dam at the Croton River, and sent it down through the Bronx, over the Harlem River by way of the High Bridge, to storage reservoirs in Central Park and at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, and through a network of cast iron pipes on to consumer's faucets.
Today, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection provides water to residents fed by a 2,000 square mile (5,180 km²) watershed in the Catskill Mountains. Because the watershed is in one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the United States, the natural water filtration process remains intact. As a result, New York is one of only five major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough to require only chlorination to ensure its purity at the tap under normal conditions. Water comes to Manhattan through New York City Water Tunnel No. 1 and Tunnel No. 2, completed in 1917 and 1936, respectively. Construction started in 1970 continues on New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, which will double the system's existing 1.2 billion gallon-a-day capacity while providing a much-needed backup to the two other tunnels.
The New York City Department of Sanitation is responsible for garbage removal. The bulk of the city's trash ultimately is disposed at mega-dumps in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Ohio (via transfer stations in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens) since the 2001 closure of the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. A small amount of trash processed at transfer sites in New Jersey is sometimes incinerated at waste-to-energy facilities. Like New York City, New Jersey and much of Greater New York relies on exporting its trash to far-flung places.
Education in Manhattan is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. Public schools in the borough are operated by the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States, serving 1.1 million students.
Some of the best-known New York City public high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, High School of Fashion Industries, Murry Bergtraum High School, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, Hunter College High School and High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College are located in Manhattan. Bard High School Early College, a new hybrid school created by Bard College, serves students from around the city.
Manhattan is home to many of the most prestigious private prep schools in the nation including the Upper East Side's Brearley School, Dalton School, Browning School, Spence School, Chapin School, Nightingale-Bamford School, and Convent of the Sacred Heart, and the Upper West Side's Collegiate School and Trinity School. The borough is also home to two private schools that are known as the most diverse in the nation, Manhattan Country School and United Nations International School. Manhattan is home to the only official Italian American school in the U.S., La Scuola d'Italia.
As of 2003, 52.3% of Manhattan residents over age 25 have a bachelor's degree, the fifth highest of all counties in the country. By 2005, about 60% of residents were college graduates and some 25% had earned advanced degrees, giving Manhattan one of the nation's densest concentrations of highly educated people.
Manhattan has various colleges and universities including New York University (NYU), Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, The Juilliard School, Berkeley College, The New School, and Yeshiva University. Other schools include Bank Street College of Education, Boricua College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Marymount Manhattan College, Manhattan School of Music, Metropolitan College of New York, New York Institute of Technology, Pace University, St. John's University, School of Visual Arts, Touro College and Union Theological Seminary. Several other private institutions maintain a Manhattan presence, among them The College of New Rochelle and Pratt Institute.
The City University of New York (CUNY), the municipal college system of New York City, is the largest urban university system in the United States, serving more than 226,000 degree students and a roughly equal number of adult, continuing and professional education students. A third of college graduates in New York City graduate from CUNY, with the institution enrolling about half of all college students in New York City. CUNY senior colleges located in Manhattan include: Baruch College, City College of New York, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the CUNY Graduate Center (graduate studies and doctoral granting institution). The only CUNY community college located in Manhattan is the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Manhattan is a world center for training and education in medicine and the life sciences. The city as a whole receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities, the bulk of which goes to Manhattan's research institutions, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Weill Cornell Medical College and New York University School of Medicine.
Manhattan is served by the New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country. The five units of the Central Library—Mid-Manhattan Library, Donnell Library Center, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library—are all located in Manhattan. More than 35 other branch libraries are located in the borough.
Manhattan is one of New York's five boroughs and is what people most often think of when they picture New York. Manhattan is actually an elongated island and includes most of the best known and most popularly visited neighborhoods.
The districts located south of 14th Street are considered part of "Downtown" (note: to go "Downtown" in Manhattan means to "go south"):
As the name suggests, Midtown Manhattan occupies the approximate middle reach of Manhattan Island, sandwiched between Lower Manhattan (below 14th Street) and Upper Manhattan (above 59th Street / Central Park). Midtown is divided into a number of neighborhoods, often indistinct. (Considerable overlap exists between them!) They are as follows:
The avenues (e.g., Fifth Avenue, Seventh Avenue) run north-south and are the long, wide streets. The numbered streets (e.g., 14th Street, 42nd Street) run east-west and start at 1st Street (just above Houston Street), running up to 220th Street at the northern end of the island. (Warning: There is one exception to this. Numbered streets are not all parallel to one another in Greenwich Village, which is on the West Side between W. Houston St. and West 14th St. West 4th St. slants to the northwest, crossing higher-numbered streets up to 13th St). For ease in calculation, note that a distance of 20 city blocks (north-to-south, counting numbered streets only, not avenue blocks) is approximately equal to one mile. Going east to west, one mile is very approximately 7 avenues. Note that Park Avenue South and Park Avenue are continuations of 4th Avenue, north of Union Square (17th St.) and 32nd St, respectively; Lexington Avenue is between 3rd and Park Avenues, and can be thought of as a "3½ Avenue". Madison Avenue is between Park and 5th Avenues, and can be thought of as a "4½ Avenue".
Please see the New York City page for details on how to get to New York City.
There are three railway stations with access to points outside of New York City. The largest, Pennsylvania Station in Midtown, is served by Amtrak with connections all over the country; by the Long Island Rail Road which serves Long Island; and New Jersey Transit which serves New Jersey. Grand Central Station, an art deco delight, is the home of Metro-North Railroad which connects the city to points in southern New York State and southern Connecticut. Many trains from Grand Central Station also stop at Harlem/125th street, a useful stop for travelers headed for Harlem or other points in Upper Manhattan.
Manhattan being an island, access (whether by car, taxi, bus or by foot) has generally to be made by means of either a bridge or a tunnel. A pedestrian can walk into Manhattan over the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges from Brooklyn, the Queensboro or RFK (formerly Triboro) Bridges from Queens, all the numerous small street bridges from the Bronx, and the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey. Probably the most famous of these is the Brooklyn Bridge. If you're coming from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) by cab, consider asking the driver to take the Queensboro or Williamsburg Bridges into Manhattan if you're going to Midtown or Downtown, respectively, and save yourself the RFK Bridge or Queens-Midtown Tunnel toll.
While there is no airport in Manhattan (see New York City for details on airports serving the area), there are helicopter and seaplane services into the city. At least two companies provide helicopter services between Manhattan and area airports ,  from helipads on W34th street, E34th Street, and Wall Street. Seaplane services  are available to East Hampton from E23rd street during the summer months. Neither are for the faint of pocket - the helicopter service costs $125+ while the seaplane service costs $425 per person. Scheduled Helicopter services are also available to the airport in Bridgeport, CT from Manhattan .
Passengers from Staten Island usually take the free Staten Island Ferry to get to the Battery at the lower tip of Manhattan. The Battery also houses ferries to Liberty and Ellis Islands and Governors Island. Other ferries transport passengers to and from Brooklyn and parts of New Jersey.
The best ways to get around Manhattan are on foot, by cab, or by taking the subway or bus. Driving is strongly discouraged; most Manhattanites do not own cars and the infrastructure of the city is designed for people, rather than for automobiles.
When traveling by cab, it is best to ensure that you are using a licensed cab; the easiest way is to ask at the concierge at your hotel to flag down one of the ubiquitous yellow cabs or do so yourself. All licensed cabs are yellow, and no unlicensed (as a taxicab) livery services may be yellow. Cabs which are available have their lights on and do not have their "Off Duty" sign lit. Off duty taxi drivers may choose to drive you if they are going your way, but are under no obligation to pick you up, and cabs which are not lit have customers inside and cannot pick up more customers. Fare for trips within Manhattan is strictly by meter (ask the cabbie to turn the meter on if s/he makes no move to turn it on after you've said where you want to go), plus whatever tip you choose to give (note that it is customary and expected to tip at least 10% to 15% for normal service). For trips to the Outer Boroughs, if toll bridges or tunnels are taken, you are responsible for the tolls in addition to the fare on the meter plus the tip. Do not try to take cabs during shift changes (such as around 4 PM on weekdays), if you are in a rush, because you'll find that they are almost all off duty. Limousines (approximately $30 per hour for in-Manhattan use of a sedan) are an attractive alternative to medallion (yellow) cabs if you know you'll need to be driven around a lot during a short period of time.
Maps of the New York subway system and Manhattan buses, schedules of subway and bus lines, and information about temporary service changes due to construction can be found online . Bus schedules and route maps are also usually posted on poles at bus stops. Note that bus schedules in Manhattan are only approximate, and actual times depend on traffic and other variables.
One alternative way of getting around Manhattan include riding in a horse drawn carriage. Horse drawn carriages around Central Park South offer rides around the park for 15 minutes, half an hour, or one hour. Rates should be posted on the carriage. This can be a romantic or fun way to see the city.
Pedicabs have appeared in New York of late. The city is in the early stages of licensing and enforcing safety regulations for them.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
Manhattan is home to many of New York's premier tourist attractions. Following is a selection of the highlights / "must sees" - the remainder will be found within the articles for the various Manhattan districts and neighborhoods.
With constant portrayals in every method of media known, Manhattan's landmarks are known around the world, and seemingly every visitor to the city will make an effort to glimpse these most famous of buildings and monuments. Every neighborhood of Manhattan has local landmarks, and in many cases the neighborhoods themselves are landmarks in their own right; this is just a summary of the very most monumental architecture on the island.
Starting where the city began in Lower Manhattan, you can view some of the most powerful and evocative landmarks of the city. Wall Street, the center of the financial world and the heart of Lower Manhattan, is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall (where George Washington was inaugurated as president). Just to the north of Wall Street is the City Hall area, flanked on the east by the Brooklyn Bridge and the west by the Woolworth Building (the "Cathedral of Commerce", once the tallest building in the world). A different kind of landmark lies to the west, where the World Trade Center site sits, fenced-off to the public due to ongoing construction. To the south, out in the harbor are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, once the first impressions of many Americans-to-be.
Heading north across the "valley", the neighborhoods of shorter buildings separating the two major business districts, you'll come to Midtown Manhattan, a hub of activity non-stop. The Empire State Building dominates the surrounding area, while the iconic Chrysler Building stakes its ground nearby. In the midst of all these tall structures you'll also find Grand Central Terminal, the main branch of the New York Public Library, and the touristy Rockefeller Center. Facing the East River is the United Nations Headquarters, while to the west sits the insanely crowded tourist hub of Times Square.
New York City is home to museums of every kind, and Manhattan is where the grandest and some of the most fascinating are.
Why not start at "Museum Mile", or 5th Avenue along Central Park in Uptown Manhattan? Here you'll find the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the largest and most important museums of art in the world. Nearby in the Upper East Side and the Harlem area sits the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the El Museo Del Barrio, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Across Central Park in the Upper West Side is the massive American Museum of Natural History, one of the largest science museums in the world. At the northern end of Manhattan sits The Cloisters, a medieval-themed extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In Midtown you'll find the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the most popular collections of modern art in the world. Nearby is the Museum of Television & Radio and the American Folk Art Museum. Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace is just to the south in Gramercy Flatiron, while the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum sits on the Hudson River to the west.
The neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan are home to a number of small, more specialized museums. Near the Financial District you'll find the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Museum of American Finance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the South Street Seaport Museum. Just north in Chinatown is the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, while over in the Lower East Side is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue.
Of course, no visit to Manhattan would be complete without a visit to Central Park, by far the largest and most famous park in this borough. Visit the park on a sunny day and join the many New Yorkers and other visitors relaxing on the park benches, biking, looking at the ducks on the pond, boating on the lake, visiting the small Central Park Zoo, sunbathing on the Sheep Meadow, iceskating at the Wollman Rink, or seeing a concert or play. But Central Park is far from the only green space to be found in Manhattan.
In Uptown Manhattan, Fort Tryon Park contains one of the highest points and some of the best views on the island, as well as the Cloisters Museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nearby at the northern tip of Manhattan is Inwood Park, the last remaining virgin forest on the island. Along the Hudson River is Riverside Park, a long stretch of parkland running from 59th Street all the way to 155th Street which makes for a lovely stroll or picnic overlooking the waters of the Hudson River and New Jersey on the opposite bank. Tucked away nearby is Carl Schurz Park at East End Avenue and 86th Street, which is the home of the Gracie Mansion, the Official Residence of the Mayor of New York, and boasts wonderful views of Hell Gate and the East River and is extremely quiet compared to other New York parks.
Moving into the bustle of Midtown, the parks get smaller but are no less frequent. Here you'll find the social centers of New York life, like Bryant Park, a small and charming park behind the New York Public Library which has gone through a major renovation recently and has gained a hard-won reputation for being much better. Free movies on summer nights are incredibly popular. Just south of the canyons of Midtown is Union Square, a crowded social center and long the center for political protests, as well as the home of a popular greenmarket and resting visitors and locals alike. Nearby is Madison Square Park, a lovely oasis in a bustling area complete with views of the Flatiron, Metropolitan Life, and Empire State buildings. On the western side of Manhattan is the Hudson River Park, still in progress promenade running along the Hudson River from 59th Street to the southern tip of the island. Nearby is the new High Line Park, built on a defunct railway that runs 30 feet above the street.
In Lower Manhattan, parks like Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, and Columbus Park in Chinatown are excellent cosmopolitan spaces which are centers of neighborhood life. In the Financial District is City Hall Park, a small but delightful square (most of the grass is fenced off for security) which makes an excellent spot to rest after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. At the very southern tip of the island, Battery Park is popular with tourists; famous for its great views of the New York Harbor, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. The ferries to the Statue and Staten Island depart from here.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
If you plan on staying in Manhattan for some time, there are many types of classes you can take, as you can imagine. The offerings are way too numerous and varied to cover here, but include continuing education and extension courses at famous institutions of higher learning like New York University, Columbia University, the New School, and the Juilliard School of Dance, Drama, and Music; classes and lectures at the 92nd St. Y and many other neighborhood organizations serving the community; cooking classes at any of several cooking schools in Manhattan; martial arts classes; yoga classes; classes in religion at any of the numerous places of worship in the borough; etc., etc., etc.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous in their own right as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy is found in Manhattan.
Of course, Midtown is the hub of shopping; home to Fifth Avenue with its numerous flagship stores (Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Tiffany's, Lord and Taylor, Niketown, NBA Store, Versace, Gucci, Armani Exchange, FAO Schwarz, etc.) and perpetually mobbed with shoppers and tourists. Nearby is the massive Bloomingdale's, while over in the Theater District, "The Largest Department Store in the World", the flagship store of Macy's, covers an entire city block.
In the heart of the ultra-wealthy Upper East Side is Madison Avenue, the center of New York's haute couture, full of small shops selling fabulously expensive clothes, accessories, and housewares to people who can afford not to look at the price tag. Even if it's out of your price range, it's worth a visit just to gawk.
Down in Lower Manhattan, Canal Street east of Broadway around Chinatown is the polar opposite of Madison and Fifth Avenues; a paradise for bargain hunters and people looking to buy counterfeit knock-offs of high-end clothes and accessories. If you want to impress people back home with the fake Louis Vuitton bag you got for $30, this is the place to go. Also look at the stores that line Mott Street between Canal and Chatham Square. Nearby is NoLiTa, which has become synonymous with avant-couture boutiques in charmingly dilapidated buildings. Some stores are so idiosyncratic that they appear not to sell anything at all, yet are perpetually crowded and passionately trendy.
West of Broadway, the former artists' colony SoHo is now a prime shopping destination, especially on the weekends, when the sidewalks of West Broadway, Prince Street, and Broadway become almost impassible. Be warned though that the boutique stores have mostly been replaced by high-end chain stores.
New York has hundreds of records stores scattered around the area. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl.
Iconic New York city souvenirs are available in most tourist spots and along pushcart stalls on the street. That said, it's far cheaper (~50% less) to purchase them from shops in Chinatown, near Canal Street.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
New York City has a large number of great street food vendors. There are also many run-of-the-mill street or otherwise outdoor more or less food-centered festivals and a few more notable ones, such as the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, in Madison Square Park; the celebration of Bastille Day, which occurs the weekend after July 14 on 60 St. between 5th and Lexington Avs.; Taste of Chinatown; and the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, taking place on the first weekend after Mother's Day each year. If you come across a street festival by chance, beware the food vendors who make all their money at street festivals, because with a few exceptions, they are usually bad, and look for booths of food establishments from the area. If no sign is up with the location of the booth's store, you can ask the people at each booth where their store is; if it's far away or they don't know where it is, be wary.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
If there is one thing that makes New York City, particularly Manhattan, one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is hotel accommodations. Sometimes, the average room rates in Manhattan exceed those of the more expensive cities in the world such as Tokyo and London. Consider yourself lucky if you can get a room at a full-service hotel at $250/night, not including taxes. While prices vary depending on the season and on the availability, approximate price ranges for Manhattan hotels are:
For budget conscious travelers many new hostels have opened in recent years. While some, like Hostelling International - New York  (in a landmarked historic building renovated in the early 1990s) and the many branches of the Jazz Hostels  in the Upper West Side, East Village and Times Square have built a reputation for providing good value for money, many others are SRO (Single Room Occupancy) conversions where renovated hotel rooms share space with run down rooms for low income residents. It is best to research a budget hotel carefully before reserving a room.
Occupancy rates in New York hotels have been very high in recent years and, especially if traveling to the city during Thanksgiving week, in the month of December, or in the month of May, it is best to book well in advance for the best prices. The best way to spend the night in New York is, of course, on the couch of a friend or relative. So, if you want to stretch your dollar, check your address book when planning a trip to New York! Another option is to check short-term room or apartment rentals on Craigslist, but of course it's risky to pay up front for an apartment you haven't seen, so you might want to spend at least your first day or two at a hotel or other place of more or less known quality while checking out possible alternate locations. Inexpensive short-term rentals of decent quality are likely to run for $100/night and up for a double.
Hotels in the other boroughs or New Jersey may be generally less expensive, but if spending a lot of time in Manhattan is important to you, make sure you know what the transportation situation will be like before you make your decision. Also, remember that complimentary meals are usually a disadvantage in hotels in New York, because with a few notable exceptions the better values in food tend to be outside of hotels.
Throughout Manhattan, open WiFi access points are abundant. Some stores, such as Apple SoHo, and Tekserv, offer free wireless Internet to customers, and T-Mobile pay Internet access is available in Starbucks and other select locations. Find more free wireless hotspots across the city at NYC Wireless .
WiFi access can be used free of charge in many of the city's major parks and squares, such as Bryant Park and Union Square.
All of the many branches of The New York Public Library  offer free internet access to anyone with a photo id (driver's license from anywhere is fine) or, of course, a NYPL library card.
Manhattan and New York generally have experienced a major falloff in crime during the past decade - in fact, for the past few years, New York City has been the safest major city in the United States - so there is no need to be afraid to walk most of the streets day and night and take the subways and buses. However, precautions should still be taken.
Keep your wits about yourself. Try your best to know or at least look like you know where you're going, particularly in areas which are deserted or otherwise feel potentially dangerous to you. Keep your wits about yourself by being aware of what's happening around you on the street, where the open shops are, where you may have spotted any police officers around, etc. Do not hesitate to calmly increase your pace, alter your route, or cross to the other side of the street if you sense it might be the safest course of action.
Beware of pickpockets. During the holiday season, pickpockets like to target shoppers near tourist attractions such as Times Square, 42nd Street, and Macy's, and anywhere where there is a crush of crowds. In order to foil pickpockets, never put your wallet or anything of value in your back pockets, but only in your front pockets. If you use a purse, make sure it is tightly closed and hold on to it. And when you sit down, such as in a restaurant, be careful to keep your valuables in places where an opportunistic thief would be hard pressed to snatch them and run.
Traffic hazards. Manhattan is in certain ways a pedestrian's paradise, but beware that traffic regulations are not always obeyed to the letter. Watch for aggressively turning cars and bicyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets or on sidewalks. The problem is not constant, but these things happen often enough for them to be worth keeping in the back of your mind while walking on the streets and sidewalks. Also, you'll note that jaywalking is commonplace among New Yorkers, but it can be hazardous to those not experienced in judging the speed of oncoming cars. So do not blindly follow a local, for there's a chance you'll be staring at the headlights of a car if you are not careful.
Too many travelers probably spend all or too much of their time in New York solely on Manhattan; the island makes a great base from which to travel to one or more of the Outer Boroughs -- Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!|
Manhattan (plural Manhattans)
|— New York City borough —|
|County||New York County|
|- Borough President||Scott Stringer (D)|
| - District Attorney
(New York County)
|Cyrus Vance, Jr.|
|- Total||33.77 sq mi (87.5 km2)|
|- Land||22.96 sq mi (59.5 km2)|
|- Water||10.81 sq mi (28 km2)|
|Elevation ||75 ft (23 m)|
|Population (1 July 2009)|
|- Density||70,951/sq mi (27,394.3/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||EST (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||212, 917|
Manhattan is an island, which is part of New York City. It is the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, the oldest and smallest borough (section of New York City), though it is the most densely populated borough (per square mile/square kilometer, it has more people than any other borough).
The Dutch bought it from the Native Americans and called it New Amsterdam, then the English took it over and changed the name to New York. The name Manhattan comes from the Munsi language of the Lenni Lenape meaning island of many hills. Other theories contend that it comes from one of three Munsi words. "Manahactanienk" meaning "place of inebriation". Other possibilities are "manahatouh" meaning "a place where wood is available for making bows and arrows" and "menatay" meaning simply "the island." 
Manhattan is a major commercial, financial, and cultural center of both the United States and the world. Most major radio, television, and telecommunications companies in the United States are based there, as well as many news, magazine, book, and other media publishers. Manhattan has many famous landmarks, tourist attractions, museums, and universities. It is also home to the headquarters of the United Nations.
Before colonization, the Lenape Indians lived in the area that is now known today as Manhattan. In 1524, Lenape people in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to pass New York Harbor, although he may not have entered the harbor past the Narrows. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped.
In the 1620s, the first large European colony began in New Netherland, when the Dutch began trading fur on Governors Island. In 1625, the Dutch chose Manhattan Island to build Fort Amsterdam, a citadel for the protection of the new arrivals. It would later be called New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw Amsterdam). The creation of New Amsterdam was recognized as the birth of New York City.
In 1626, Manhattan was bought from the Native Americans living on the island at the time. The price was trading goods worth 60 guilders, which was worth about 24 dollars at the time. The currency calculations from the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam say that 60 guilders in the 1620s cost around $1000 now. 
In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant became the last Dutch Director General of the colony. New Amsterdam was considered an official city on 3 February 1653. In 1664, the British conquered New Netherland and renamed it "New York" after the English King James II, then known as Duke of York and Albany. Stuyvesant and his council made a deal with the British where New Netherlanders were promised liberties, including freedom of religion, under British rule. In August 1673, the Dutch took control of the island again, calling the city "New Orange" (Dutch: Nieuwe Oranje). The Dutch lost control of New Netherland forever to the English in November 1674 by treaty.
Manhattan was the center of many campaigns, battles and meetings during the American Revolution. In 1765, all of the colonies worked together for the first time unified political aim when the Stamp Act Congress (meeting) of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies was held in New York City to write The Declaration of Rights and Grievances.
The Sons of Liberty, a Boston based group, were part of a long-term battle with British authorities over liberty poles that were sometimes raised by the Sons of Liberty and cut down by the British. The disputes ended when the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress took power in 1775. 
Manhattan was the center of a series of large battles in the early American Revolutionary War. These battles were called the New York Campaign, where British forces and colonists fought for control of New York City and the state of New Jersey. The Continental Army, the army that had fought in favor of the thirteen colonies led by George Washington, had to leave Manhattan after the Battle of Fort Washington on 16 November 1776. The main reason they had to leave was because the battle had caused a lot of damage to the city. As a result, the British had control of the area and used the city as the center for their political and military purposes for the rest of the war.
While the British ruled, Manhattan was greatly damaged by the Great Fire of New York in 1776. Shortly after, Washington came back to Manhattan with his army. On Evacuation Day, the British occupation and the last of their forces had left that city on 25 November 1783. In 1784, the Continental Army was broken up, and the United States Army took its place. On 30 April, 1789, Washington was inaugurated (officially became) the first president of the United States and took his oath of office at Federal Hall on Wall Street. 
In the early 19th century, Manhattan grew in population and economically. Because of the Great Irish Famine, a lot of Irish people emigrated (left their country) to live in New York; they made up for 25% of Manhattan's population at the time.  Many of the Irish people lived in a part of the Lower East Side known as the Bowery or in another section called Five Points.
After the Civil War, many immigrants of Italian , Polish and Jewish backgrounds came to Manhattan and lived in tenements in a part of the city called the Lower East Side. Over a million people lived in the area at one point.
An Irish political machine called Tammany Hall was very important to New York City during the Gilded Age.  With the support of mostly Irish immigrants, it grew as a political machine.  The support helped win the election for the first Tammany mayor, Fernando Wood, in 1854. Central Park, which opened to the public in 1858, became the first landscaped park in any American city and the country's first public park. 
The rate of immigration from Europe shot up after the Civil War, and New York became the most popular state for immigrants in the United States. Because of this, the French built and gave New York the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886. Soon after, the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn were combined into one city.
In the beginning of the 20th century, many new things were built in the city, like skyscrapers and the New York City Subway. The first subway transit center, the Interborough Rapid Transit or IRT, opened to the public in 1904. The installation of the Subway helped tie the new city together, as did new bridges to Brooklyn. In the 1920s, many African-Americans came to live in Manhattan during the Great Migration from the American South, and the Harlem Renaissance.  New York City became the most populous city (city with the most people) in the world in 1925, overtaking London, which had held the title for a century. 
Between World War I and World War II, reformist Fiorello La Guardia was elected as the new mayor in 1933 and took office in 1934, marking the fall of Tammany Hall after 80 years of dominating politics in New York City. Once the city's demographics were steadier, labor unionization provided protection and affluence to the working class. Despite the Great Depression, some of the world's tallest skyscrapers of the time were built in Manhattan during the 1930s, including many Art Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline today. The most well-known structures are Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the GE Building.