The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the State of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York City exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment, its fast pace defining the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.
Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a separate county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a U.S. Census Bureau-estimated 2015 population of 8,550,405 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States, and as many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. By 2015 estimates, the New York City metropolitan region remains by a significant margin the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (20.2 million residents) and the Combined Statistical Area (23.7 million residents). In 2013, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of nearly US$1.39 trillion, while in 2012, the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion, both ranking first nationally by a wide margin and behind the GDP of only twelve and eleven countries, respectively.
Manhattan (New York County) is the geographically smallest and most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city’s skyscrapers. Manhattan’s (New York County’s) population density of 72,033 people per square mile (27,812/km²) in 2015 makes it the highest of any county in the United States and higher than the density of any individual American city. Manhattan is the cultural, administrative, and financial center of New York City and contains the headquarters of many major multinational corporations, the United Nations Headquarters, Wall Street, and a number of important universities. Manhattan is often described as the financial and cultural center of the world.
Most of the borough is situated on Manhattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River. Several small islands are also part of the borough of Manhattan, including Randall’s Island, Wards Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor. Manhattan Island is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem. The borough also includes a small neighborhood on the United States mainland, called Marble Hill, which is contiguous with The Bronx. New York City’s remaining four boroughs are collectively referred to as the outer boroughs.
Brooklyn (Kings County), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city’s most populous borough. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social, and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a distinctive architectural heritage. Downtown Brooklyn is the only central core neighborhood in the outer boroughs. The borough has a long beachfront shoreline including Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country. Marine Park and Prospect Park are the two largest parks in Brooklyn.
Queens (Queens County), on Long Island north and east of Brooklyn, is geographically the largest borough, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, as well as the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, the borough has since developed both commercial and residential prominence. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the baseball stadium of the New York Mets, and hosts the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Additionally, two of the three busiest airports serving the New York metropolitan area, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, are located in Queens. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)
Staten Island (Richmond County) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry, a daily commuter ferry and popular tourist attraction which provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, the Staten Island Greenbelt spans approximately 2,500 acres (10 km2), including 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island’s natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.
The Bronx (Bronx County) is New York City’s northernmost borough and the only New York City borough with a majority of it a part of the mainland United States. It is the location of Yankee Stadium, the baseball park of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. It is also home to the Bronx Zoo, the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and houses over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is also the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture. Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City, at 2,765 acres (1,119 ha).