I had always wanted to go to New York since I was young. The glamour and liveliness put a spell on me ever since the very first time I heard my mother tell me about her business trips to New York. Finally, now with enough time and money, I had the opportunity to go to New York and to experience everything that I wished for as a child. I would like to share some facts about New York for anyone who is planning to go to New York or anyone who would just like to know a bit about the magnificent place.
Historical Facts about New York
The state of New York was initially inhabited by the Native Indians. The first European explorer to discover New York in 1524 was the Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano, who named the place New Angouleme in honor of a French king. A year later, Henry Hudson who worked for the Dutch claimed the area and called it New Amsterdam. Only then did the English come into the picture.
In 1663 the Duke of York bought Long Island and other Islands along the coast of New England. The following year he used armed forces to take possession of the Dutch land. Thereafter, the Duke named the area after him - Province of New York. The Dutch came back and recaptured New York in 1673, however it was quickly restored to the English by the treaty of Westminister in 1674.
New York declared itself an independent state in 1776, however it accepted the United States Constitution in 1788, a few years after the Revolutionary War. In many ways, New York was the main battleground for the Revolutionary War, since about one-third of the engagements and skirmishes were fought on New York land.
Facts about New York City
New York City was the capital of the US until 1790. Although New York City is now the largest city in the US, it is not the capital of New York. In fact Albany, about 136 miles (219 km) north of New York City, is the capital of New York.
New York City initially developed as an important trading port and is well known as an important historical immigration center. It is now one of the largest urban areas in the world and has been, for over a century, a major international center for finance and commerce. New York City has global influence in areas such as media, politics, education, entertainment, arts, and fashion. With its 24-hour subway and constant bustle of people, New York City is known as ‘The City That Never Sleeps’.
Why is New York City often called the ‘Big Apple’?
There are various accounts which attempt to trace the origins of the name. These include historical apple vendors, a Harlem night club, and a popular dance in the 1930s known as the ‘Big Apple’. However it was actually the jazz musicians who made the term popular. When jazz musicians said they had a gig at the ‘Big Apple’ it meant they would perform in the wealthiest and most coveted venue, Manhattan. Even then, the true origin of the word came from the racefields in the early 1930s. A newspaper writer called John Fitzgerald, who covered the races in New York, titled his column ‘Around the Big Apple’. He heard the phrase from a couple of Black stable boys who described New York as the ‘Big Apple’ because of the bountiful opportunity to make money there which they discovered ever since they went to New York.
By the 1970s the phrase had been largely forgotten and the city became known for its blackouts, strikes, street crime, and riots. In 1971, to improve the image of the city and the state, the ‘I ♥ NY’ advertising campaign was launched with merchandise sporting the ‘Big Apple’ logo. The movement is still popular and strong today and is most famous for its t-shirts with the logo I ♥ NY.
Did You Know these Facts about New York?
Here are some interesting facts about New York and its city:
- New York City is the largest city in the world with over 8 million people in its five boroughs.
- There are four beautiful mountain ranges in New York: the Adirondack, Catskill, Shawangunk, and Taconic.
- The Broadway is one the longest streets in the world and runs 150 miles (241 km) from lower Manhattan to Albany.
- America’s first vending machines were installed in the subways of New York City in 1888.
- The apple was adopted as the State fruit in 1976.
- Kingston was the first capital of New York.
- New York has 1,300 museums and galleries, 64 performing arts centers, and 230 theaters.
- The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from France to the people of the US and the statue was dedicated in on October 28, 1886.
- New York City has 722 miles (1162 km) of subway track.
If you want to find out more…
I love reading about New York as well as going there. Books that I have read (and love) are:
- The Best Things to Do in New York City: 1001 Ideas by Caitlin Leffel and Jacob Lehman
- Not For Tourists 2007 Guide to New York Cityby Jane Pirone
- The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City’s Historyby Eric Homberger