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Monday, May 31, 2010
New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.
Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2008 estimated population exceeds 8.3 million, and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2), New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.
New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.
Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Anchored by Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City is the financial capital of the world and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. The original Manhattan Chinatown attracts throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks and retail establishments. World-class research universities such as Columbia University and New York University also reside in New York City.
The region was inhabited by about 5,000 Lenape Native Americans at the time of its European discovery in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in the service of the French crown, who called it "Nouvelle Angoulême" (New Angoulême). European settlement began with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement, later called "Nieuw Amsterdam" (New Amsterdam), on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1614. Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Lenape in 1626 for a value of 60 guilders (about $1000 in 2006) a disproved legend says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.
In 1664, the city was surrendered to the English and renamed "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany. At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch gained control of Run (then a much more valuable asset) in exchange for the English controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and some epidemics brought on by the arrival of the Europeans caused sizable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670. By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200. In 1702, city lost 10% of its population to yellow fever. New York underwent no less than seven important yellow fever epidemics from 1702 to 1800.
New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. The city hosted the influential John Peter Zenger trial in 1735, helping to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by George II of Great Britain as King's College in Lower Manhattan. The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October of 1765 as the Sons of Liberty organized in the city, skirmishing over the next ten years with British troops stationed there.
During the American Revolutionary War, the area emerged as the theater for a series of crucial battles known as the New York Campaign. After the upper Manhattan Battle of Fort Washington in 1776 the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America, and a haven for Loyalist refugees, until military occupation ended in 1783. A major fire during the occupation led to the destruction of about a quarter of the city. The assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York City the national capital shortly after the war: the Constitution of the United States was ratified and in 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the United States Supreme Court each assembled for the first time in 1789, and the United States Bill of Rights drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street. By 1790, New York City had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.
In the 19th century, the city was transformed by immigration and development. A visionary development proposal, the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan, and the 1819 opening of the Erie Canal connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the North American interior. Local politics fell under the domination of Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish immigrants. Public-minded members of the old merchant aristocracy lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which became the first landscaped park in an American city in 1857. A significant free-black population also existed in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Slaves had been held in New York through 1827, but during the 1830s New York became a center of interracial abolitionist activism in the North. New York's black population was over 16,000 in 1840. The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants, and by 1860, one in four New Yorkers – over 200,000 – had been born in Ireland.
Anger at military conscription during the American Civil War (1861–1865) led to the Draft Riots of 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.
n 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens. The opening of the New York City Subway in 1904 helped bind the new city together. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. However, this development did not come without a price. In 1904, the steamship General Slocum caught fire in the East River, killing 1,021 people on board.
In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city's worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.
New York's nonwhite population was 36,620 in 1890. In the 1920s, New York City was a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration from the American South. By 1916, New York City was home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The Harlem Renaissance flourished during the era of Prohibition, coincident with a larger economic boom that saw the skyline develop with the construction of competing skyscrapers.
New York City became the most populous urbanized area in the world in early 1920s, overtaking London, and the metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in early 1930s becoming the first megacity in human history. The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello LaGuardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.
Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed and the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's ascendance as the world's dominant economic power, the United Nations headquarters (completed in 1950) emphasizing New York's political influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitating New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.
In the 1960s, New York suffered from economic problems, rising crime rates, which reached a peak in the 1970s. In the 1980s, resurgence in the financial industry improved the city's economic health. By the 1990s, crime rates dropped dramatically, many American transplants and waves of new immigrants arrived from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city's economy and New York's population reached an all-time high in the 2000 census.
The city was one of the sites of the September 11, 2001 attacks, when nearly 3,000 people died in the destruction of the World Trade Center. A new 1 World Trade Center (previously known as the Freedom Tower), along with a memorial and three other office towers, will be built on the site and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
On December 19, 2006, the first steel columns were installed in the building's foundation. Three other high-rise office buildings are planned for the site along Greenwich Street, and they will surround the World Trade Center Memorial, which is under construction. The area will also be home to a museum dedicated to the history of the site.
February 2007 estimates put the cost for construction of 1 WTC at $3 billion, or $1,150 per square foot ($12,380 per square meter). Approximately $1 billion of insurance money recouped by Silverstein is slated for construction of the Freedom Tower.
The State of New York is expected to provide $250 million toward construction costs, and the Port Authority would finance another $1 billion for 1 WTC, through bonds.
New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston. The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading city. Much of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.
The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary. The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River – a tidal strait – flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates Manhattan from the Bronx.
The city's land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most prominent in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, especially in Manhattan.
The city's land area is estimated at 304.8 square miles (789 km2). Its total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 square miles (425 km2) of this are water and 304.8 square miles (789 km2) is land. The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which, at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level, is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine. The summit of the ridge is mostly covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.
New York has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), and using the 0 °C standard, it is the northernmost major city in North America with this type of climate. The area averages 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, for an average of 2680 hours of bright sunshine per year .
Winters are cold, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimizes the effect of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, the Atlantic Ocean keeps the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities located at similar latitudes such as Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The average temperature in January, the area's coldest month, is 32.1 °F (0.1 °C). However temperatures in winter could for few days be as low as 10 °F (−12 °C) and as high as the 50s °F (10-15 °C). Spring and autumn are unpredictable, and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually pleasantly mild with low humidity. Summers are typically hot and humid with a July average high of 84.2 °F (29.0 °C) and low of 68.8 °F (20.4 °C). Nighttime conditions are often exacerbated by the urban heat island phenomenon, and temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 16 – 19 days each summer and can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) every 4–6 years.
New York City receives 49.7 inches (1,260 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall is about 28.1 inches (71 cm), but this usually varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains little. Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the area.
Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s. New York City's high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006; New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide. The city's population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States. New York City's greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5. New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions though they comprise 2.7% of the nation's population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.
In recent years, the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York City led to a high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents. The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing. New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis. The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.
New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants.
The building design most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, whose introduction and widespread adoption saw New York buildings shift from the low-scale European convention to the vertical rise of business districts.
As of August 2008, New York City has 5,538 highrise buildings, with 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). This is more than any other city in United States, and second in the world behind Hong Kong.
New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing able to be read from street level several hundred feet below. The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.
Manhattan's architectural skyline is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world. The original Chinatown in Lower Manhattan is one of the most prominent ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia and draws throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks, restaurants, and discount retail establishments.
The Art Deco style of the Chrysler Building (1930), with its tapered top and steel spire, reflected the zoning requirements. The building is considered by many historians and architects to be New York's finest building, with its distinctive ornamentation such as replicas at the corners of the 61st floor of the 1928 Chrysler eagle hood ornaments and V-shaped lighting inserts capped by a steel spire at the tower's crown.
A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its facade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is an prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers.
New York's large residential districts are often defined by the classic brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and shabby tenements that were built during a period of rapid growth from 1870 to 1930. Stone and brick became the city's building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1835.
Unlike Paris, which for centuries was built from its own limestone bedrock, New York has always drawn its building stone from a far-flung network of quarries and its stone buildings contain a variety of textures and hues.
A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the wooden roof-mounted water towers. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes.
Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, including Jackson Heights in Queens, which became more accessible with expansion of the subway.
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches. This parkland is augmented by thousands of acres of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park system, that lie within city boundaries.
The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System, alone is over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of wetland islands and water taking up most of Jamaica Bay.
Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States with 30 million visitors each year. While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped.
It contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks one of which is a swimming pool in July and August, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large expanse of natural woods, a 106-acre (43 ha) billion gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel.
In addition there are numerous major and minor grassy areas. Some are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and some are enclosed as playgrounds for children. The park has its own wildlife and serves as an oasis for migrating birds, especially in the fall and the spring, making it a significant attraction for bird watchers; 200 species of birds are regularly seen. The 6 miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends, and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is banned. Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow.
Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and the 1964 World's Fair.
Over a fifth of the Bronx's area, 7,000 acres (28 km2), is given over to open space and parks, including Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.
The city's public school system, managed by the New York City Department of Education, is the largest in the United States. About 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate primary and secondary schools. Charter schools, which are partly publicly-funded, include Harlem Success Academy. There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city. Though it is not often thought of as a college town, there are about 594,000 university students in New York City, the highest number of any city in the United States. In 2005, three out of five Manhattan residents were college graduates and one out of four had advanced degrees, forming one of the highest concentrations of highly educated people in any American city.
New York City is home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University, The New School, and Yeshiva University. The city has dozens of other smaller private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. John's University, The Juilliard School, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, and The School of Visual Arts.
Much of the scientific research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. New York City has the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, 40,000 licensed physicians, and 127 Nobel laureates with roots in local institutions. The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities. Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.
The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country, serves Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, which is the nation's second largest public library system, and Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn. The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
New York City private schools include Brearley School, Dalton School, Spence School, Browning School, The Chapin School, Nightingale-Bamford School, and Convent of the Sacred Heart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; Collegiate School and Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan; Horace Mann School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Riverdale Country School in Riverdale, Bronx; and The Packer Collegiate Institute and Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.
New York City's public secondary schools include: Bard High School Early College, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, Hunter College High School, LaGuardia High School, Stuyvesant High School, and Townsend Harris High School. The city is home to the largest Roman Catholic high school in the U.S., St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and the only official Italian-American school in the country, La Scuola d'Italia on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Since its consolidation in 1898, New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The government of New York is more centralized than that of most other U.S. cities. In New York City, the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The mayor and councillors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries. The mayor and councilors are limited to three consecutive four-year terms but can run again after a four year break.
The present mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, former Republican (2001–2008) and current political independent elected on the Republican and Independence Party tickets against opponents supported by the Democratic and Working Families Parties in 2001 (50.3% of the vote to 47.9%), 2005 (58.4% to 39%) and 2009 (50.6% to 46%). He is known for taking control of the city's education system from the state, rezoning and economic development, sound fiscal management, and aggressive public health policy. In his second term he has made school reform, poverty reduction, and strict gun control central priorities of his administration. Together with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, in 2006 he founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization with the goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets. The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of November 2008, 67% of registered voters in the city are Democrats. New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since 1924. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.
New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). The city also sends an additional $11 billion more each year to the state of New York than it receives back.
Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the New York Supreme Court and hosts other state and city courts. Manhattan also hosts the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, while Brooklyn hosts the Appellate Division, Second Department. Federal courts located near City Hall include the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Court of International Trade. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
New York City has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues, and has won 43 championships in these leagues, as of May 2010.
There have been fourteen World Series championship series between New York City teams, in matchups called Subway Series. New York is one of only five metro areas (Chicago, Washington-Baltimore, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area being the others) to have two baseball teams. The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, who compete in six games every regular season. The Yankees have enjoyed 27 championships, while the Mets have won the World Series on two occasions. The city also was once home to the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two minor league baseball teams in the city, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones.
The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Jets and New York Giants (officially the New York Football Giants), although both teams play their home games at Meadowlands Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey. Meadowlands Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League. Within the metro area are two other teams, the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders, who play on Long Island. This is the only instance of a metro area having 3 teams within one of the 4 major North American professional sports leagues.
The city's National Basketball Association team is the New York Knicks and the city's Women's National Basketball Association team is the New York Liberty. Also within the metro area is the NBA team New Jersey Nets Who will move to nearby Brooklyn to the Barclays Center as early as 2012. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city. Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many professional athletes play in the summer league.
In soccer, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, Red Bull New York. The "Red Bulls" play their home games at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
As a global city, New York supports many events outside these sports. Queens is host of the U.S. Tennis Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The New York City Marathon is one of the world's largest, and the 2004–2006 runnings hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006. The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.
Many sports are associated with New York's immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in working class Italian, German, and Irish neighborhoods in the 1930s. Stickball is still commonly played, as a street in The Bronx has been renamed Stickball Blvd. as tribute to New York's most known street sport. In recent years several amateur cricket leagues have emerged with the arrival of immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean. Street hockey, football, and baseball are also commonly seen being played on the streets of New York. New York City is often called "The World's Biggest Urban Playground," as street sports are commonly played by people of all ages
New York city's rugby league team the New York Knights play in the AMNRL. They won the 2009 AMNRL Championship Final against the Jacksonville Axemen 32-12.
Mass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, is the most complex and extensive in North America. About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York and its suburbs. The iconic New York City Subway system is the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, while Grand Central Terminal, also popularly referred to as "Grand Central Station", is the world's largest railway station by number of platforms. New York's airspace is one of the world's busiest air transportation corridors. The George Washington Bridge is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge.
Public transit is New York City's most popular mode of transit. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit. This is in contrast to the rest of the United States, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace. According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes a day getting to work, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities.
New York City is served by Amtrak, which uses Pennsylvania Station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor and long-distance train service to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.
The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by stations in operation, with 468. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.5 billion passenger trips in 2006). New York's subway is also notable because nearly all the system remains open 24 hours a day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including London, Paris, Montreal, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo. The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America, the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel, more than 12,000 yellow cabs, an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, and a ferry system connecting Manhattan to various locales within and outside the city. The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry, which annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island. The "PATH" train (short for Port Authority Trans-Hudson) links the New York City subway to points in northeast New Jersey.
New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America. The rail network, connecting the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.
New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States. The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans for a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, NY, to be taken over and enlarged by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which administers the other three airports), as a "reliever" airport to help cope with increasing passenger volume. 100 million travelers used the three airports in 2005 and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation. Outbound international travel from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004.
New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%.
To complement New York's vast mass transit network, the city also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, that link New York City to northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwest Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of suburban residents who commute into New York, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour. The George Washington Bridge is the world's busiest bridge in terms of vehicle traffic.
Despite New York's reliance on public transit, roads are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street and Madison Avenue are also used as shorthand in the American vernacular for national industries located there: the theater, finance, and advertising organizations, respectively.