New York City

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Posted by kaori 03/01/2009 @ 02:38

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BY Michael Saul The good news is that swine flu doesn't seem to be stopping the masses of visitors from flocking to New York City this unfolding tourist season. The bad news is that the severe global downturn is expected to cause a 4% drop in tourist...
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A Natural History of New York City - New York Times
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Defense attorney: Alleged killer was an aspiring songwriter - Boston Globe
He has no prior criminal history and lives with his sister and mother in New York City, his attorney, JW Carney Jr. said. Copney's father is a retired New York City police officer and his mother is a current New York City employee....
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New York City NY 10014 - Decider New York
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Expert who helped New York City avoid bankruptcy in 1975 has some ... - Los Angeles Times
By Geraldine Baum Reporting from New York -- In 1975, New York City was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and threatening to bring down the entire state. No state had gone bankrupt, but President Ford wanted to make New York an example to the rest of...
New York City closes 40 schools to slow spread of A/H1N1 flu - Xinhua
NEW YORK, May 22 (Xinhua) -- New York City has so far closed 40 schools in an attempt to slow the spread of A/H1N1 flu within the school community, according to a press release issued by the city's Health Department on Friday....

New York City

New York City Hall is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions

The City of New York (commonly referred to as New York City) is the most populous city in the United States, while the New York metropolitan area ranks among the world's most populous urban areas. It is a leading global city, exerting a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, and entertainment. The city is also an important center for international affairs, hosting the United Nations headquarters.

Located on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. It is the most densely populated major city in the United States, with an estimated 8,274,527 people occupying just under 305 square miles (790 km2). The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's highest, estimated at 18,815,988 people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2).

New York is unique among American cities for its high use of and 24-hour availability of mass transit, and for the overall density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States. The city is sometimes referred to as "The City that Never Sleeps", while other nicknames include Gotham and the Big Apple.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch East India Company in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under British control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, and has been the nation's largest city since 1790.

Today, the city has many landmarks and neighborhoods that are world famous. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.

New York is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting, and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco and Tin Pan Alley in music. It is the home of Broadway theater.

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 legend, now disproved, says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads. In 1664, the English conquered the city and renamed it "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 (a much more valuable asset at the time) in exchange for the English controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200.

New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. The city hosted the seminal 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.

The city emerged as the theater for a series of major battles known as the New York Campaign during the American Revolutionary War. After the Battle of Fort Washington in upper Manhattan in 1776 the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America until military occupation ended in 1783. The assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York City the national capital shortly thereafter; the Constitution of the United States was ratified and in 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated there; the first United States Congress 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, as well as in 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.

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. In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then an independent 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.

In the 1920s, New York City was a major 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 and immigrants from Europe created a postwar economic boom and the development of huge 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 and racial tension, which reached a peak in the 1970s. In the 1980s, resurgence in the financial industry improved the city's fiscal health. By the 1990s, racial tensions had calmed, crime rates dropped dramatically, 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. 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.

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, actually 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 considerably by human intervention, with substantial land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most notable 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, particularly in Manhattan.

The city's land area is estimated at 304.8 square miles (789 km2). New York City's total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 square miles (425 km2) of this is 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 largely covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.

New York City has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with four seasons and an average of 234 sunshine days a year. It's the northernmost major city in North America that features a humid subtropical climate using both the 0 °C and -3 °C isotherms as criteria.

Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 79–84 °F (26–29 °C) and lows of 63–69 °F (17–21 °C), however temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 16 - 19 days each summer.

Winters are usually cold, but the city's coastal position keeps temperatures slightly milder than inland regions, with average high temperatures of 38–43 °F (3–6 °C) and lows of 26 - 32 °F (-3–0 °C), but temperatures could for few days be as low as 10 to 20°Fs (-12 to -6 °C) and for a few days be as high as 50s or 60s°F (~10–15 °C) during the winter. Spring and autumn are erratic, and could range from chilly to warm, although they are usually pleasantly mild with low humidity.

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 24.4 inches (62 cm), but this often varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover remains very short. Hurricanes and tropical storms are very rare in New York, but not unheard of.

Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in United States and gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s. New York City's high rate of 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 total greenhouse gas emissions though 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 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 process, 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 form most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, that saw New York buildings shift from the low-scale European tradition 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. Surrounded mostly by water, the city's residential density and high real estate values in commercial districts saw the city amass the largest collection of individual, free-standing office and residential towers in the world.

New York has architecturally significant 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. The Art Deco design 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 important example of green design in American skyscrapers.

The character of New York's large residential districts is often defined by the elegant brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and shabby tenements that were built during a period of rapid expansion 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 have a variety of textures and hues. A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the presence of 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 burst 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 marsh 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—10 million more than Lincoln Park in Chicago, which is second. 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 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.

New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government. Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

The city is also important in the American film industry. Manhatta (1920), an early avant-garde film, was filmed in the city. Today, New York City is the second largest center for the film industry in the United States. The city has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts. Wealthy industrialists in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established. The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theatre productions, and in the 1880s New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began showcasing a new stage form that came to be known as the Broadway musical.

Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition. Today these productions are a mainstay of the New York theatre scene. The city's 39 largest theatres (with more than 500 seats) are collectively known as "Broadway," after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square theatre district. This area is sometimes referred to as The Main Stem, The Great White Way or The Realto.

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Juilliard School and Alice Tully Hall, is the largest performing arts center in the United States. Central Park SummerStage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park and 1,200 free concerts, dance, and theater events across all five boroughs in the summer months.

Tourism is important to New York City, with about 47 million foreign and American tourists visiting each year. Major destinations include the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Broadway theatre productions, museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other tourist attractions including Central Park, Washington Square Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues, and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, the Tribeca Film Festival, and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage. The Statue of Liberty is a major tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the United States. Many of the city's ethnic enclaves, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, and Brighton Beach are major shopping destinations for first and second generation Americans up and down the East Coast.

New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Eastern European and Italian immigrants have made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafels and kebabs standbys of contemporary New York street food, although hot dogs and pretzels are still the main street fare. The city is also home to many of the finest haute cuisine restaurants in the United States. New York City's variety of World cuisines is also diverse. Examples could include Italian, French, Spanish, German, Russian, English, Greek, Moroccan, Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cuisines, as well as the diverse indigenous sort.

New York is a global center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto).

Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York. Three of the "Big Four" record labels are also based in the city, as well as in Los Angeles.

One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York. More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city and the book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people.

Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Major tabloid newspapers in the city include The New York Daily News and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton.

The city also has a major ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages. El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation. The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African American newspaper.

The Village Voice is the largest alternative newspaper.

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 New York.

Many cable channels are based in the city as well, including MTV, Fox News, HBO and Comedy Central. In 2005, there were more than 100 television shows taped in New York City.

New York is also a major center for non-commercial media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971. WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary provider of national PBS programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States.

The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, nyctv, that produces several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods, as well as city government.

The New York City area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It is often considered to be one of the most recognizable accents within American English. The classic version of this dialect is centered on middle and working class people of European American descent, and the influx of non-European immigrants in recent decades has led to changes in this distinctive dialect.

The traditional New York area accent is non-rhotic, so that the sound does not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant; hence the pronunciation of the city as "New Yawk." There is no in words like park (with vowel raised due to the low-back chain shift), butter , or here . In another feature called the low back chain shift, the vowel sound of words like talk, law, cross, and coffee and the often homophonous in core and more are tensed and usually raised more than in General American.

In the most old-fashioned and extreme versions of the New York dialect, the vowel sounds of words like "girl" and of words like "oil" both become a diphthong . This is often misperceived by speakers of other accents as a reversal of the er and oy sounds, so that girl is pronounced "goil" and oil is pronounced "erl"; this leads to the caricature of New Yorkers saying things like "Joizey" (Jersey), "Toidy-Toid Street" (33rd St.) and "terlet" (toilet). The character Archie Bunker from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family was a good example of a speaker who had this feature. This particular speech pattern is no longer very prevalent.

New York City has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues.

New York is one of the few areas of the United States where baseball, rather than American football, remains the most popular sport. 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 26 world titles, while the Mets have taken the Series twice. 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 in Giants Stadium in nearby New Jersey.

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 in Long Island. This is the only instance of any metro area having 3 teams within one of the 4 major North American professional sports leagues.

In Association football, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, Red Bull New York. The "Red Bulls" also play their home games at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

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. 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.

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 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 very 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 is a global hub of international business and commerce and is one of three "command centers" for the world economy (along with London and Tokyo). The city is a major center for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts in the United States. The New York metropolitan area had an estimated gross metropolitan product of $1.13 trillion in 2005, the largest regional economy in the United States and second largest city economy in the world. Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City, including 43 Fortune 500 companies. New York is also unique among American cities for its large number of foreign corporations. One out of ten private sector jobs in the city is with a foreign company.

New York City is home to some of the nation's—and the world's—most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for $510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.

Manhattan had 353.7 million square feet (32,860,000 m²) of office space in 2001.

Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States and is home to the highest concentration of the city's skyscrapers. Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States, and is home to The New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, representing the world's first and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured by average daily trading volume and overall market capitalization. Financial services account for more than 35% of the city's employment income. Real estate is a major force in the city's economy, as the total value of all New York City property was $802.4 billion in 2006. The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at $1.1 billion in 2006.

The city's television and film industry is the second largest in the country after Hollywood. Creative industries such as new media, advertising, fashion, design and architecture account for a growing share of employment, with New York City possessing a strong competitive advantage in these industries. High-tech industries like biotechnology, software development, game design, and internet services are also growing, bolstered by the city's position at the terminus of several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines. Other important sectors include medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities.

Manufacturing accounts for a large but declining share of employment. Garments, chemicals, metal products, processed foods, and furniture are some of the principal products. The food-processing industry is the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city. Food making is a $5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents, many of them immigrants who speak little English. Chocolate is New York City's leading specialty-food export, with $234 million worth of exports each year.

New York is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 2007 population of 8,274,527 (up from 7.3 million in 1990). This amounts to about 40% of New York State's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. Over the last decade the city's population has been increasing and demographers estimate New York's population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.

New York's two key demographic features are its population density and cultural diversity. The city's population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²) makes it the most densely populated American municipality with a population above 100,000. Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²), highest of any county in the United States.

New York City is exceptionally diverse. Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants; the term melting pot was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. Today, 36,7% of the city's population is foreign-born and another 3.9% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents. Among American cities, this proportion is exceeded only by Los Angeles and Miami. While the immigrant communities in those cities are dominated by a few nationalities, in New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest countries of origin for modern immigration are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Russia. About 170 languages are spoken in the city.

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel; Tel Aviv proper (non-metro/within municipal limits) has a smaller population than the Jewish population of New York City proper, making New York the largest Jewish community in the world. About 12% of New Yorkers are Jewish or of Jewish descent and roots. It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian Americans, and the largest African American community of any city in the United States.

The five largest ethnic groups as of the 2005 census estimates are: Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans and Chinese. The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside of Puerto Rico. Italians emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century. The Irish, the sixth largest ethnic group, also have a notable presence; one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes inherited from Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the fifth century A.D.

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 45.3% White (35.1% non-Hispanic White alone), 26.2% Black or African American (23.7% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.7% American Indian and Alaska Native, 12.1% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 17.7% from some other race and 1.9% from two or more races. 27.4% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

New York City has a high degree of income disparity. In 2005 the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320. The disparity is driven by wage growth in high income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest and fastest growing among the largest counties in the United States. The borough is also experiencing a baby boom that is unique among American cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.

Home ownership in New York City is about 33%, much lower than the national average of 69%. Rental vacancy is usually between 3% and 4.5%, well below the 5% threshold defined to be a housing emergency and used to justify the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization. About 33% of rental units are rent-stabilized. Finding housing, particularly affordable housing, in New York City can be more than challenging.

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 two four-year terms.

The mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat and current independent elected as a Republican in 2001 and re-elected in 2005 with 59% of the vote. 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 both 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.

Located near City Hall are the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building. Manhattan also hosts the NY Appellate Division, First Department. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and NY Appellate Division, Second Department. As with any county, each Borough has a branch of the New York Supreme Court and other New York State courts.

Since 2005 the city has had the lowest crime rate among the 25 largest U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1980s and early 1990s from the crack epidemic that impacted many neighborhoods. By 2002, New York City had about the same crime rate as Provo, Utah and was ranked 197th in overall crime among the 216 U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000. Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% from 1993 to 2005 and continued decreasing during periods when the nation as a whole saw increases. In 2005 the homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1966, and in 2007 the city recorded fewer than 500 homicides for the first time ever since crime statistics were first published in 1963.

Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on what explains the dramatic decrease in the city's crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the New York City Police Department, including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory. Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes.

Organized crime has long been associated with New York City, beginning with the Forty Thieves and the Roach Guards in the Five Points in the 1820s. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia dominated by the Five Families. Gangs including the Black Spades also grew in the late 20th century.

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. There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city, including some of the most prestigious private schools in the United States. 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. Public postsecondary education is provided by the City University of New York, the nation's third-largest public university system, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, part of the State University of New York. New York City is also 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 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 also features many of the most elite and exclusive private schools in the country. These schools include Brearley School, Dalton School, Spence 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 Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

Some of New York City's renowned public secondary schools, often considered the best in the nation, include: Hunter College High School, Stuyvesant High School, The Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, Bard High School Early College, Townsend Harris High School, and LaGuardia 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.

Unlike any other major city in the United States, public transit is the most popular way to get around. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit. 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. This is in contrast to the rest of the country, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace. New York is the only city in the United States where more than half of all households do not own a car (in Manhattan, more than 75% of residents do not own a car; nationally, the percentage is 8%). According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes per 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.

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by the number of 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 of the system remains open 24 hours per day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including London, Paris, 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 "PATH" train (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway system going under the Hudson River, linking 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, which connects the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, has more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines. The commuter rail system converges at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station.

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 considered one of the world's busiest bridges 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.

New York City has ten sister cities recognized by Sister Cities International (SCI). The date indicates the year in which the city was twinned with New York City.

Like New York City, all except Beijing are the most populous cities of their respective countries.

Unlike New York City, all but Johannesburg also serve as national political capitals (de facto or de jure). New York and her sister cities are all major economic centers, but few of the sister cities share New York's status as a major current seaport.

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New York City Marathon

Late in the 2005 marathon, runners on Central Park South near the finish line.

The New York City Marathon (ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is a major annual marathon (42.195 km) (26.2 miles) whose course runs through all five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 37,850 finishers in 2006. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

The race is organized by NYRR (New York Road Runners) and has been run every year since 1970. In recent years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is limited to 37,000 entrants chosen largely by a lottery system. Runners who are members of NYRR can gain entry by meeting the qualifications for guaranteed entry or via nomination from an official running club. Officially recognized running clubs are allowed two guaranteed spots for members who did not make it in via lottery.

The course covers all five boroughs of New York City. It begins on Staten Island near the approach to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The bridge, which normally carries only vehicular traffic, is closed for the event. Runners use both sides of the upper level of the bridge and the westbound side of the lower level. In the opening minutes of the race, the bridge is filled with runners, creating a dramatic spectacle that is closely associated with the event.

After descending the bridge, the course winds through Brooklyn for approximately the next eleven miles. Runners pass through an enormous variety of neighborhoods, including: Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. At 13.1 miles, runners cross the Pulaski Bridge, marking the halfway point of the race and the entrance into Queens. After about two and a half miles in Queens, runners cross the East River on the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. It is at this point in the race when many runners begin to tire, as the climb up the bridge is considered one of the most difficult points in the marathon.

Finally reaching Manhattan after about 16 miles, the race proceeds north on First Avenue, then crosses briefly into The Bronx via the Willis Avenue Bridge for a mile before returning to Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge. It then proceeds south through Harlem down Fifth Avenue and into Central Park. At the southern end of the park, the race proceeds across Central Park South, where thousands of spectators cheer runners on during the last mile. At Columbus Circle, the race re-enters the park and finishes outside Tavern on the Green. The time limit for this course is 8 1/2 hours from the 10:10 a.m. start.

In 2008, the race initiated a corral system. After the elite women started, the balance of the runners began in three staggered starts to reduce congestion. The official times are those recorded by a computer chip worn on the shoe, which calculates when a runner crosses the start and when she crosses the finish, known as "net," as opposed to "gun," time. Runners also pass timing mats along the course and email notifications can be received by people following runners during the race to see how the runners are doing.

The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, organized by New York Road Runners Club president Vince Chiappetta and Fred Lebow, with 127 competitors running several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park. Only about one-hundred spectators watched Gary Muhrcke win the race in 2:31:38. In fact, a total of only 55 runners crossed the finish line. Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger. In order to accommodate the growing number of participants, co-founder Fred Lebow redrew the course in 1976 to incorporate all five boroughs of New York City. The marathon grew in popularity two years later when Norwegian Grete Waitz broke the women's world record, finishing in 2:32:30. She would go on to win the race an unprecedented nine times. An official wheelchair and handcycle division was introduced in 2000, and starting in 2002, the elite women are given a 35 minute headstart before the elite men and rest of the field. Thirty-seven years after it was started in 1970, the New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million cheering spectators line the course from all different neighborhoods of New York. The marathon is broadcast live on NBC to more than 315 million worldwide viewers.

In a normally trivial mistake, runner Rosie Ruiz of Cuba was accidentally given a finish time of 2:56:29. This qualified her for the 1980 Boston Marathon, where she crossed the finish line with a record time of 2:31:56. It was quickly determined that she had not run the entire course in either race, igniting the most well-known scandal in the history of modern distance running. New York Marathon chief Fred Lebow rescinded Ruiz's time after determining she had not finished the 1979 race, and officials in Boston quickly followed suit.

A record 34,729 people participated in the race. The top male finisher was Martin Lel of Kenya in a time of 2:10:30. The top female finisher was Margaret Okayo of Kenya in time of 2:22:31, breaking her previous course record of 2:24:21 set in 2001. In recent years, runners from Kenya have dominated the event. The top Americans were Matt Downin (2:18:48) and Sylvia Mosqueda (2:33:10), both of California.

The top female finisher was Britain's Paula Radcliffe in a time of 2:23:10, beating Kenya's Susan Chepkemei by 4 seconds, the closest finish in the history of this race. The top male was Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa with a time of 2:09:28.

In the closest finish in New York City Marathon history, Paul Tergat of Kenya barely outsprinted Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa in the final meters of the race for a time of 2:09:30, beating Ramaala by one second. In the women's race, Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won in a time of 2:24:41. Tops amongst the Americans were Meb Keflezighi of California (2:09:56) and Jen Rhines of California (2:37:07). South African Ernst Van Dyk took the wheelchair race in 1:31:11.

The 2005 event was administered by new NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg. It is notable that she was the first woman director of an international Major marathon.

The top male finisher was Marílson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil in a time of 2:09:58, while Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won the female marathon for the second consecutive time in a time of 2:25:05. Gomes dos Santos becomes the first South American ever to win the race. Stephen Kiogora of Kenya placed second, and Paul Tergat, the 2005 defending champion and former marathon world record holder, placed third.

Seven-time Tour de France winner and former triathlete Lance Armstrong ran in the 2006 race, finishing 868th with a time of 2:59:36. He also ran the same year in the British 10K. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also completed the race in 2006, finishing in 5:33:43, and wearing bib #110, signifying the 110 pounds lost during his weight loss campaign.

Amanda McGrory won the female wheelchair race in the time of 1:54:17, the male wheelchair division was won by Kurt Fearnley in a time of 1:29:22.

The 2007 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 4th. It was the final race of the 2006-2007 World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin marathons.

However, there were very few elite American marathoners participating in 2007 because they competed the day before at the 2008 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials.

Martin Lel from Kenya won the men's race in a time of 2 hours 9 mins and 4 seconds, completing an impressive double of the 2007 London and New York Marathons.

The women's winner was the world Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe from Great Britain in a time of 2 hrs 23 mins 9 secs, one second faster than her 2004 win.

The 2008 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 2. A field of 37,899 runners participated. The men's winner was Marílson Gomes dos Santos in 2:08:43. Paula Radcliffe won her third NYC marathon in 2:23:56.

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Transportation in New York City

The New York City Subway is the lifeblood of the city.

The transportation system of New York City is a cooperation of complex systems of infrastructure. New York City, being the largest city in the United States, has a transportation system which includes the largest subway system in the world, measured by track mileage; the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel, and an aerial tramway. Through prolonged use, and a distinct history of events, the infrastructure now faces increasing problems in functionality, dependability, and funding.

The history of New York City's transportation system began with the Dutch port of Nieuw Amsterdam. The port had maintained several roads; some were built atop former Lenape trails, others as "commuter" links to surrounding cities, and one was even paved by 1658 from orders of Petrus Stuyvesant, according to Burrow, et al. The 19th century brought changes to the format of the system's transport- a street grid by 1811 (see the Commissioners' Plan of 1811), as well as an unprecedented link between New York and Brooklyn, then separate cities, via the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1883.

The Second Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed the city – the port infrastructure grew at such a rapid pace after the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal that New York became the most important connection between all of Europe and the interior of the United States. Elevated trains and subterranean transportation ('El trains' and 'subways') were introduced between 1867 and 1904. In 1904, the first subway line became operational. Practical private automobiles brought an additional change for the city by around 1930, notably the 1927 Holland Tunnel. With automobiles gaining importance, the later rise of Robert Moses was essential to creating New York's modern road infrastructure. Moses was the architect of all 416 miles (669 km) of parkway, many other important roads, and seven great bridges.

New York City is distinguished from other cities in the United States by its significant use of public transportation. New York City has, by far, the highest rate of public transportation use of any American city, with 54.2% of workers commuting to work by this means in 2006. 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 City or its suburbs. New York is the only city in the United States where over half of all households do not own a car (Manhattan's non-ownership is even higher - around 75%; nationally, the rate is 8%).

New York City also has the longest mean travel time for commuters (39 minutes) among major U.S. cities.

New York City's uniquely high rate of public transit use makes it one of the most energy-efficient cities in the United States. Gasoline consumption in the city today is at the rate of the national average in the 1920s. New York City's high rate of transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006 and $4.6 billion in gasoline costs. New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide.

The reduction in oil consumption meant 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution was kept out of the air. The New York City metro area was ranked by the Brookings Institution as the U.S. metro area with the lowest per-capita transportation-related carbon footprint and as the fourth lowest overall per-capita carbon footprint in 2005 among the 100 largest metro areas of the United States, outranked only by Honolulu and Los Angeles and Portland.

The city's transportation system, and the population density it makes possible, also have other effects. Scientists at Columbia University examined data from 13,102 adults in the city's five boroughs and identified correlations between New York's built environment and public health. New Yorkers residing in densely populated, pedestrian-friendly areas have significantly lower body mass index (BMI) levels compared to other New Yorkers. Three characteristics of the city environment -- living in areas with mixed residential and commercial uses, living near bus and subway stops and living in population-dense areas -- were found to be inversely associated with BMI levels.

Of all people who commute to work in New York City, 32% use the subway, 25% drive alone, 14% take the bus, 8% travel by commuter rail, 8% walk to work, 6% carpool, 1% use a taxi, 0.4% ride their bicycle to work, and 0.4% travel by ferry. 54% of households in New York City do not own a car, and rely on public transportation. While the so-called car culture dominates in most American cities, mass transit has a defining influence on New York life. The subway is a popular location for politicians to meet voters during elections and is also a major venue for musicians. Each week, more than 100 musicians and ensembles -- ranging in genre from classical to Cajun, bluegrass, African, South American and jazz -- give over 150 performances sanctioned by New York City Transit at 25 locations throughout the subway system.

3.7 million people were employed in New York City; Manhattan is the main employment center with 56% of all jobs. Of those working in Manhattan, 30% commute from within Manhattan, while 17% come from Queens, 16% from Brooklyn, 8% from the Bronx, and 2.5% from Staten Island. Another 4.5% commute to Manhattan from Nassau County and 2% from Suffolk County on Long Island, while 4% commute from Westchester County. 5% commute from Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey. Some commuters come from Fairfield County in Connecticut. Some New Yorkers reverse commute to the suburbs: 3% travel to Nassau County, 1.5% to Westchester County, 0.7% to Hudson County, 0.6% to Bergen County, 0.5% to Suffolk County, and smaller percentages to other places in the metropolitan area.

By far the dominant mode of transportation in New York City is rail. Only 6% of shopping trips in Manhattan's Central Business District involve the use of a car. The city's public transportation network is the most extensive and among the oldest in North America. Responsibility for managing the various components of the system falls to several government agencies. The largest and most important is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a public benefit corporation in the state of New York, which runs all of the city's subways and buses and two of its three commuter rail networks. Ridership in the city increased 36% to 2.2 billion annual riders from 1995 to 2005, far outpacing population growth. Average weekday subway ridership was 5.076 million in September 2006, while combined subway and bus ridership on an average weekday that month was 7.61 million.

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by track mileage (656 miles, or 1,056 km of mainline track), and the fourth-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.4 billion passenger trips in 2005). It is the second-oldest subway system in the United States after the rapid transit system in Boston. In 2002, an average 4.8 million passengers used the subway each weekday. During one day in September 2005, 7.5 million daily riders set a record for ridership. Life in New York City is so dependent on the subway that the city is home to two of only three 24-hour subway systems in the world. The city's 26 subway lines run through all boroughs except Staten Island, which is served by the Staten Island Railway.

Subway riders pay with the MetroCard, which is also valid on all other rapid transit systems and buses in the city, as well as the Roosevelt Island tramway. The MetroCard has completely replaced tokens, which were used in the past, to pay fares. Fares are loaded electronically on the card.

The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) is a subway system that links Manhattan, in New York State, to Jersey City, Hoboken, Harrison, and Newark, in New Jersey. The primary transit link between Manhattan and New Jersey, PATH carries 240,000 passengers each weekday on four lines.

While some PATH stations are adjacent to subway stations in New York City and Newark as well as Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stations in New Jersey, there are no free transfers. The PATH system spans 13.8 miles (22.2 km) of route mileage, not including track overlap. Like the New York City Subway, PATH operates 24 hours a day. Opened in 1908 as the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, a privately owned corporation, PATH since 1962 has been operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Kennedy and Newark airports are served by intermodal rail systems. AirTrain JFK is an 8.1 mile (13 km) rapid transit system that connects Kennedy to New York's subway and commuter rail network in Queens. It also provides free transit between airport terminals. For trips beyond the airport the train costs $5. Roughly 4 million people rode the AirTrain to and from Kennedy in 2006, an increase of about 15% over 2005. AirTrain Newark is a 1.9 mile (3 km) monorail system connecting Newark's three terminals to commuter and intercity trains running on the Northeast Corridor rail line.

New York City's commuter rail system is the most extensive in the United States, with about 250 stations and 20 rail lines serving more than 150 million commuters annually in the tri-state region. Commuter rail service from the suburbs is operated by two agencies. The MTA operates the Long Island Rail Road on Long Island and the Metro-North Railroad in the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. New Jersey Transit operates the rail network on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. These rail systems converge at the two busiest train stations in the United States, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, both in Manhattan.

Intercity train service from New York City is provided by Amtrak. 54 trains run each day on the busiest route, New York to Philadelphia. For trips of less than 500 miles (800 km) to other Northeastern cities Amtrak is often cheaper and faster than air travel. Amtrak accounts for 47% of all non-automobile intercity trips between New York and Washington, D.C. and about 14% of all intercity trips (including those by automobile) between those cities. Amtrak's high-speed Acela trains run from New York to Boston and Washington, D.C. using tilting technology and fast electric locomotives. New York City's Penn Station is the busiest Amtrak station in the United States by annual boardings. In 2004 it saw 4.4 million passenger boardings, more than double the next busiest station, Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Major destinations with frequent service include Albany, Baltimore, Boston, New Haven, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as the Canadian cities Toronto and Montreal. There are also trains to Upstate New York, New England and destinations in the South and Midwest.

New York City's bus network is extensive, with over 5,900 buses carrying about 2.01 million passengers every day on more than 200 local routes and 30 express routes. Buses owned by MTA account for 80% of the city's surface mass transit. New York City has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the United States.

Buses are labeled with a number and a prefix identifying the primary borough (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, and S for Staten Island). Express buses operated under MTA New York City Bus use the letter "x" rather than a borough label. Express buses routes operated under MTA Bus formerly controlled by the NYC Department of Transportation use a two-borough system with M at the end (i.e., BxM, QM, or BM).

The Port Authority Bus Terminal, near Times Square, is the busiest bus station in the United States and the main gateway for interstate buses into New York City. The terminal serves both commuter routes, mainly operated by New Jersey Transit, and national routes operated by companies such as Greyhound and Peter Pan. Two discount services, Boltbus and Megabus announced discount intercity coach services to begin in late March 2008.

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. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and takes approximately 25 minutes each way. Each day approximately five boats transport almost 65,000 passengers during 104 boat trips. Over 33,000 trips are made annually. The Ferry has remained free of charge since 1997. The charge for vehicles is $3, however, vehicles have not been allowed on the Ferry since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bicycles are allowed on the lower level for free, as well. The ferry ride is a favorite of tourists as it provides excellent views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Major privately run ferry companies include the BillyBey Ferry Company and NY Waterway who operate several routes from New Jersey to Manhattan; SeaStreak, which provides service from Monmouth County to Manhattan; New York Water Taxi, which provides service from Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan; and Liberty Water Taxi which provides service from Liberty State Park and Jersey City to the World Financial Center.

Around 48% of New Yorkers own cars, yet fewer than 30% use them to commute to work, most finding public transportation cheaper and more convenient for that purpose, due in large part to traffic congestion which also slows buses. To ease traffic, the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in 2007 proposed congestion pricing for motor vehicles entering Manhattan's business district from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. However, this proposal was defeated when Sheldon Silver Speaker of the New York State Assembly announced that the bill would not come up for a vote in his chamber.

Traffic on highways at the edge of the area would not be charged. Transit buses, emergency vehicles, taxis and for-hire vehicles, and vehicles with handicapped license plates, would also not be charged the fee. Vehicles would be charged only once per day.

An advanced convergence indexing road traffic monitoring system was installed in New York City for testing purposes in May 2008.

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 or metonym in American vernacular for national industries located there: theater, finance, and advertising, respectively.

There are twelve avenues that run parallel to the Hudson River, and 220 numbered streets that run perpendicular to the river.

With its Gothic-revival double-arched stone towers and diagonal suspension wires, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city's most recognized architectural structures, depicted by artists such as Hart Crane and Georgia O'Keeffe. The Brooklyn Bridge's main span is 1,596 feet (486 m) and 6 inches (150 mm), and was the longest in the world when it was completed. The Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan Bridge are the two others in the trio of architecturally-notable East River crossings. The Queensboro Bridge, which links Manhattan and Queens, is an important piece of cantilever bridge design. The borough of Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The towers of the Verrazano, which rise 650 feet (200 m) above the water, are 4,260 feet (1,300 m) apart; these towers are so far away from each other, due to the length of the main span, that there is a 13⁄8 inches (34 mm) displacement between the theoretical position of the side at the top of the tower, and the actual position, due to the Earth's curvature.

New York has historically been a pioneer in tunnel construction. The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles per day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan, is the world's busiest vehicular tunnel. The Holland Tunnel, also under the Hudson River, was the first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel in the world and is considered a National Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Two other notable tunnels connect Manhattan to other places; one is the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and the other the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. At 9,117 feet (2,779 m), the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is the longest underwater tunnel in North America.

A less favored alternative to commuting by rail and boat is the New York region's outdated and congested expressway network, designed by Robert Moses. The city's extensive network of expressways includes four primary Interstate Highways: I-78, I-80, I-87 and I-95. I-278 serves as a partial beltway around the city. The Long Island Expressway begins at the Queens Midtown Tunnel and runs through the heart of Queens east into the Long Island suburbs.

Also designed by Moses are a series of limited-access parkways, which are frequently congested with traffic as well, despite the fact that they were designed from the outset to only carry cars, as opposed to commercial trucks or buses. The FDR Drive and Harlem River Drive are two such routes through Manhattan. The Henry Hudson Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway and the Hutchinson River Parkway link the Bronx to nearby Westchester County and its parkways, and the Grand Central Parkway and Belt Parkway provide similar functions for Long Island's parkway system.

There are 13,087 taxis operating in New York City, not including over 40,000 other for-hire vehicles. Their distinctive yellow paint has made them New York icons.

Taxicabs are operated by private companies and licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. "Medallion taxis", the familiar yellow cabs, are the only vehicles in the city permitted to pick up passengers in response to a street hail. A cab’s availability is indicated by the lights on the top of the car. When just the center light showing the medallion number is lit, the cab is empty and available. When no lights are lit, the cab is occupied by passengers.

Fares begin at US$2.50 (US$3.00 after 8:00pm, and US$3.50 during the peak weekday hours of 4:00pm to 8:00pm) and increase based on the distance traveled and time spent in slow traffic. The passenger also must pay the fare whenever a cab is driven through a toll. The average cab fare in 2000 was US$6.00; over US$1 billion in fares were paid that year in total.

241 million passengers rode in New York taxis in 1999. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, of the 42,000 cabbies in New York, 82% are foreign born: 23% from the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and 20% from South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh).

In 2005, New York introduced incentives to replace its current yellow cabs with electric hybrid vehicles then in May 2007, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, proposed a five-year plan to switch New York City's taxicabs to more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles as part of an agenda for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as surging fuel costs.

Cycling in New York City is a growing mode of transport. An estimated 120,000 city residents bicycle on a typical day, and make 400,000 trips each day, equivalent to the number of the ten most popular bus routes in the city. The City Department of Transportation estimates there are an additional two in-line skaters for every cyclist in New York. The city has 420 miles (680 km) of bike lanes (as of 2005) including the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and has in recent years expanded separated bike lanes on major thoroughfares and on bridges across the East River. As part of PlaNYC 2030, bike lanes will be added at a rate of about 100 miles per year until 2010, and 1,800 miles (2,900 km) should be completed by 2030.

More than 500 people annually work as bicycle rickshaw drivers, who in 2005 handled one million passengers. However, the City Council voted in 2007 to curtail and license pedicab drivers, and will only allow 325 pedicab licenses. The city also annually presents the largest recreational cycling event in the United States, the Five Boro Bike Tour, in which 30,000 cyclists ride 42 miles (65 km) through the city's boroughs.

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%. In 2000 New York had the largest number of walking commuters among large American cities in both total number and as a proportion of all commuters: 517,290, or 5.6%. By way of comparison, the next city with the largest proportion of walking commuters, Boston, had 119,294 commuter pedestrians, amounting to 4.1% of that city's commuters.

New York has many forms of semi-formal public transportation, including "dollar vans" and "Chinese vans." Dollar vans serve major corridors in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx that lack adequate subway service. In 2006, the New York City Council began debate on greater industry regulation, including requiring all dollar vans to be painted in a specific color to make them easier to recognize, similar to the public light buses in Hong Kong. The vans pick up and drop off anywhere along a route, and payment is made at the end of a trip.

Similar to dollar vans, Chinese vans serve predominantly Chinese and other East Asian communities in Brooklyn's Chinatown, Manhattan's Chinatown, Elmhurst and Flushing.

There are also highly competitive Chinatown bus lines operating routes from New York City's Chinatowns to other Chinatowns in the Northeast, with frequent service to major cities like Boston and Philadelphia. These bus companies use full-size coaches and offer fares much lower than traditional carriers like Greyhound. However, traditional carriers Greyhound and Coach USA have gone after these carriers by offering online fares as low as $1 on BoltBus, NeOn, and Megabus services.

There are numerous other transportation services in the city, including RightRides.org, a free car service operated by a grassroots nonprofit that shuttles women and transgender individuals home on Saturday nights from midnight to 3 a.m. in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn. RightRides is made possible by volunteer teams driving vehicles donated by Zipcar, a membership-based carsharing company providing hourly or daily car rentals in New York City to its members, who often do not own cars.

Built in 1976 to shuttle island residents to Midtown, the Roosevelt Island Tramway was originally intended to be a temporary commuter link for use until a subway station was established for the island. However, when the subway finally connected to Roosevelt Island in 1989, the tram was too popular to discontinue use.

The Tramway is operated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). Each cable car has a capacity of 125 passengers. Travel time from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan is just under five minutes and the fare is the same as a subway ride.

In 2006, service was suspended on the tramway for six months after a service malfunction that required all passengers to be evacuated.

New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States. 100 million travelers used the city's airports in 2005; New York is the busiest air gateway in the nation.

The city is served by three major airports: John F. Kennedy International (also known as JFK), Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia. Teterboro serves as a primary general aviation airport. JFK and Newark both connect to regional rail systems by a light rail service.

JFK and Newark serve long-haul domestic and international flights. The two airports' outbound international travel accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004. LaGuardia caters to short-haul and domestic destinations.

JFK is the major entry point for international arrivals in the United States and is the largest international air freight gateway in the nation by value of shipments. About 100 airlines from more than 50 countries operate direct flights to JFK. The JFK-London Heathrow route is the leading U.S. international airport pair. The airport is located along Jamaica Bay near Howard Beach, Queens, about 12 miles (19 km) east of downtown Manhattan.

Newark was the first major airport serving New York City and is the fifth busiest international air gateway to the United States. Amelia Earhart dedicated the Newark Airport Administration Building in 1935, which was North America's first commercial airline terminal. In 2003, Newark became the terminus of the world's longest non-stop scheduled airline route, Continental's service to Hong Kong. In 2004, Singapore Airlines broke Continental's record by starting direct 18-hour flights to Singapore. The airport is located in Newark, New Jersey, about 12 miles (19 km) west of downtown Manhattan.

LaGuardia, the smallest of New York's primary airports, handles domestic flights. It is named for Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the city's great Depression-era mayor known as a reformist and strong supporter of the New Deal. A perimeter rule prohibits incoming and outgoing flights that exceed 1,500 miles (2,400 km) except on Saturdays, when the ban is lifted, and to Denver, which has a grandfathered exemption. As a result, most transcontinental and international flights use JFK and Newark. The airport is located in northern Queens about 6 miles (9.7 km) from downtown Manhattan.

Manhattan has three public heliports, used mostly by business travelers. A regularly-scheduled helicopter service operates flights to JFK Airport from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, located at the eastern end of Wall Street.

The New York Harbor, with its natural advantages of deep water channels and protection from the Atlantic Ocean, has historically been one of the most important ports in the United States, and is now the third busiest in the United States, if New Jersey is included, behind Los Angeles and Long Beach, California in the amount of volume. Each year, more than 25 million tons of oceanborne general cargo moves through New York, including 4.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo. In 2005 more than 5,300 ships delivered goods to the port that went to 35% of the U.S. population. The port is experiencing rapid growth. Shipments increased nearly 12% in 2005. There are three cargo terminals and a passenger terminal on the New York City side of the harbor, including the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Red Hook Container Terminal, Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and New York Cruise Terminal; three additional cargo terminals are on the New Jersey side.

The Port of New York is also a major hub for passenger ships. More than half a million people depart annually from Manhattan's cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River, accounting for five percent of the worldwide cruise industry and employing 21,000 residents in the city. The Queen Mary 2, the world's second largest passenger ship and one of the few traditional ocean liners still in service, was designed specifically to fit under the Verrazano Bridge, itself the longest suspension bridge in the United States. The Queen Mary 2 makes regular ports of call on her transatlantic runs from Southampton, England. The city is building a new cruise ship terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Originally focused on Brooklyn's waterfront, especially at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, most container ship cargo operations have shifted to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal on the other side of the bay. The terminal, operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the largest port complex on the East Coast. $114.54 billion of cargo passed through the Port of New York and New Jersey in 2004. The top five trading partners at the port are China, Italy, Germany, Brazil and India.

Water quality in the New York Harbor has improved dramatically since passage of the Clean Water Act and extensive harbor cleanup projects. A common misconception is that the Upper Bay is devoid of marine life. It actually supports a diverse population of marine species, including striped bass. New Yorkers regularly kayak and sail in the harbor, which has become a major recreational site for the city. Water quality problems persist in Long Island Sound, however.

Several proposals for expanding the New York City transit system are in various stages of discussion, planning, or initial funding. Some of them would compete with others for available funding.

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New York City Subway

An entrance to the Times Square–42nd Street station, the busiest station of the New York City Subway.[8]

The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit. It is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world, with 468 stations in operation (422 if stations connected by transfers are counted as a single station) , 229 miles (369 km) of routes, translating into 656 miles (1056 km) of revenue track, and a total of 842 miles (1355 km) including non-revenue trackage. In 2007, the subway delivered over 1.562 billion rides, averaging over 5 million every weekday, 2.9 million on Saturdays, and 2.2 million on Sundays. The New York City Subway trails only the metro systems of Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul in annual ridership and carries more passengers than all other rail mass transit systems in the United States combined. Among the world's busiest metro systems it is the only one to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The subway is constantly undergoing renovation and expansion. Current expansion projects include the Second Avenue Subway on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the 7 Subway Extension to the west side of Manhattan, Fulton Street Transit Center and the new South Ferry Terminal.

Subway stations are located throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. All services pass through Manhattan, except for the Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local (G), which connects Brooklyn and Queens directly without entering Manhattan; the Franklin Avenue Shuttle; and the Rockaway Park Shuttle. All but two of the 468 stations of the subway are served 24 hours a day. This is very rare globally and only found in the United States with PATH (connecting New Jersey with Manhattan), the PATCO Speedline (linking Philadelphia with southern New Jersey), and two lines of the Chicago 'L'.

In 2005, the New York City Subway hit a 50-year record in usage, with ridership of 1.45 billion. The trend toward higher ridership has continued into 2008; MTA has released figures that subway use was up 6.8 percent for January and February as higher gasoline prices encouraged riders to use mass transit over automobiles .

According to the United States Department of Energy, energy expenditure on the New York City Subway rail service was 3492 BTU/passenger mile (2289 kJ/passenger km) in 1995. This compares to 3702 BTU/passenger mile (2427 kJ/passenger km) for automobile travel. One should note as well that the figure for automobiles is averaged over the entire United States. Driving a car in New York City is probably on the whole significantly less efficient, because of the high concentration of traffic lights and vehicular traffic.

Many lines and stations have both express and local service. These lines have three or four tracks: normally, the outer two are used for local trains, and the inner one or two are used for express trains. Stations served by express trains are typically major transfer points or destinations. The BMT Jamaica Line (J), (Z) uses skip-stop service on portions, in which two services operate over the line during rush hours, and minor stations are only served by one of the two. The IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line (1), (9) used skip-stop until May 27, 2005. On that date, the IRT No. 9 train was eliminated.

An underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway and exhibited his idea for a subway. The tunnel was never extended, although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward to The Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River. It was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the 1910s.

The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. The oldest structure still in use today opened in 1885 as part of the Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently utilizes R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.

By the time the first subway closed, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but was kept within the core of the City due to the low amount of startup capital provided to the Board Of Transportation by the state. This required it to be run 'at cost', necessitating fares up to double the five cent fare popular at the time.

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and they now operate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments and stations are too narrow to accommodate B Division cars, as well as curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division. C Division consists of non-revenue maintenance cars, built to IRT specs in order to provide maintenance to all of the subway system.

The New York City Transit Authority was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, the BRT, IRT, and IND transit workers unionized into Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union. Since then, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.

When the IRT subway debuted in 1904, typical tunnel construction was the cut-and cover method. The street was torn up to dig the tunnel below, then the street was rebuilt above. This method worked well for digging soft dirt and gravel near the street surface. However, tunnel boring machines were required for thicker sections made of bedrock, such as the Harlem and East River tunnels, which used cast-iron tube, and the segments between 33rd and 42nd streets under Park Avenue, between 116th Street and 120th Street under Broadway, and between 157th Street and Fort George under Broadway and Eleventh Avenue, all of which used either rock or concrete-lined tunnels.

About 40% of the "subway" actually runs on surface or elevated tracks including steel or cast iron elevated structures, concrete viaducts, embankments, open cuts and surface routes. All of these construction methods are completely grade-separated from road and pedestrian crossings, and most crossings of two subway tracks are grade-separated with flying junctions.

Many rapid transit systems run relatively static routings, so that a train "line" is more or less synonymous with a train "route". In New York, routings change often as new connections are opened or service patterns change. The "line" describes the physical railroad line or series of lines that a train "route" uses on its way from one terminal to another.

There are 26 train services in the subway system, including three short shuttles. Each route has a color, representing the Manhattan trunk line of the particular service and is labeled as local or express. A different color is assigned to the Crosstown Line (G) route, since it does not operate in Manhattan, and shuttles are all colored dark gray. Each service is also named after its Manhattan (or crosstown) trunk line.

Though all but two subway stations are served on a 24-hour basis, some of the designated routes do not run during the late night hours or use a different routing during those hours. In addition to these regularly scheduled changes, because there is no nightly shutdown for maintenance, tracks and stations must be maintained while the system is operating. In order to accommodate such work, services are sometimes re-routed during the overnight hours or on weekends.

The current color system depicted on official subway maps was proposed by R. Raleigh D'Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the Transit Authority in 1964. D'Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only three colors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with a map that used a different color for each line. D'Adamo's contest entry shared first place with two others and led the Transit Authority to adopt a multi-colored scheme. (D'Adamo subsequently earned a master's degree in transportation planning and engineering from Polytechnic University and worked for transit authorities, including a stint at the MTA, and was responsible for organizing and building what today is the Westchester County Bee-Line bus system.) However, the lines are not referred to by color (e.g., Blue line or Green line), although the colors are often assigned through their groups (A, C, and E are blue whereas the 4, 5, and 6 are green).

C Division consists of non-revenue operations, including track maintenance and yard operations.

A typical subway station has waiting platforms ranging from 500 to 600 feet (150 to 180 m) long to accommodate large numbers of people. Passengers enter a subway station through stairs towards station booths and vending machines to buy their fare, which is currently stored in a MetroCard. After swiping the card at a turnstile, customers continue to the platforms. Some subway lines in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan have elevated tracks with stations to which passengers climb up via stairs, escalator, or elevator.

At the top of most of the system's subway stations sits a lamp post or two bearing a colored spherical lamp. Before the introduction of the MetroCard in 1994, these lights indicated the station's availability. A green lamp meant that the station was open and running 24 hours a day, a yellow lamp meant that it was open only during the day, while a red lamp meant that it was an exit only. The yellow lamp was eventually phased out, being replaced by red lamps. Today, this color system uses green lamps to indicate 24 hour entrances and red lamps to indicate non 24-hour entrances.

Due to the large number of transit lines, one platform or set of platforms often serves more than one service (unlike other rapid transit systems, including the Paris Metro but like some lines on the London Underground). A passenger needs to look at the signs hung at the platform entrance steps and over each track to see which trains stop there and when, and at the arriving train to see which train it is.

There are a number of platform configurations possible. On a 2-track line, a station may have one center platform used for trains in both directions, or 2 side platforms, one for a train each direction. For a 3-track or 4-track line, local stops will have side platforms and the middle one or two tracks will not stop at the station. For most 3- or 4-track express stops, there will be two island platforms, one for the local and express in one direction, and another for the local and express in the other direction. In a 3-track configuration, the center track can be used toward the center of the city in the morning and away from the center in the evening, though not every 3-track line has that express service.

In a few cases, a 4-track station has an island platform for the center express tracks and two side platforms for the outside local tracks. This occurs only at three stations near major railway stations where the next station along the line is also an express station with the more common platform configuration. The purpose of splitting the platforms is to prevent through riders from adding to the station's crowding by transferring from local to express or from express to local. This occurs at Atlantic Avenue on the 2/3/4/5 Lines with adjacent express station Nevins Street, and 34th St.-Penn Station on both the 1/2/3 Lines and A/C/E Lines, with adjacent express stations at 42nd Street. This does not occur at Grand Central on the 4/5/6 Lines, which has no adjacent express station. Almost everywhere expresses run, they run on the inner one (of 3) or two (of 4) tracks, and locals run on the outer two tracks. There is one notable 6-track station, DeKalb Avenue, where trains to or from the Manhattan Bridge either stop at the outer tracks of one of the island platforms ("local tracks"), or pass through the station on the middle tracks ("super express tracks"). Trains to or from the Montague Street Tunnel stop across the platform from the respective outer track ("express tracks").

Many stations are decorated with intricate ceramic tile work, some of it dating back to 1904 when the subway first opened for business. The subway tile artwork tradition continues today. The Arts for Transit program oversees art in the subway system. Permanent installations, such as sculpture, mosaics, and murals; photographs displayed in lightboxes, and musicians performing in stations encourage people to use mass transit. In addition, commissioned posters are displayed in stations and "art cards", some displaying poetry, are in many of the trains themselves in unused advertisement fixture slots. Some of the art is by internationally-known artists such as David Hockney.

Most stations are not handicapped accessible. The exceptions are newly constructed or extensively renovated stations called "key stations", as required by the ADA. See New York City Subway accessibility for more details.

Since 1987, MTA has sponsored the Music Under New York program in which street musicians enter a competitive contest to be assigned the preferred high traffic locations, example - 42nd Street station. Each year applications are reviewed and approximately 70 eligible performers are selected and contacted to participate in live auditions, held for one day.

At present, more than 100 soloists and groups participate in MUNY providing over 150 weekly performances at 25 locations throughout the transit system.

Restrooms are rare in the subway system. Most establishments built in the past have since been closed to the public and have been converted to storage spaces or for employee use only. However, there are a few major stations that have operating restrooms, including on the concourse of the 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal station, Chambers Street, Lexington Avenue/59th Street and 125th Street in Manhattan. Restrooms also exist in Brooklyn at 36th Street, Atlantic Avenue–Pacific Street, Church Avenue, DeKalb Avenue, Kings Highway, and Sheepshead Bay. In Queens, they can be found at Jamaica–179th Street, Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer, Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street, Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard and Flushing–Main Street. The East 180th Street station in The Bronx also has Public Restrooms available, as does the 161st Street–Yankee Stadium stop on the D and 4 lines.

Newspaper stands are occasionally found on some platforms, selling all manner of items including newspapers and food. The MTA has also been installing retail spaces within paid areas in selected stations, including Times Square and at 42nd St.-Bryant Park, on the concourse of the B, D, F, and V lines.

Connections are available at designated stations to Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, AirTrain JFK, Metro-North Railroad, New Jersey Transit and PATH.

The NYC subway uses two sizes of cars - the A division, listed above, uses narrower cars that have three sets of doors on each side, used in consists of up to 11; the B division, listed above, uses wider cars that have four sets of doors on each side, in consists of up to 10.

Trains are marked by the service label in either black or white (for appropriate contrast) on a field in the color of its mainline. The field is enclosed in a circle for most services, or a diamond for special services, such as rush-hour only expresses on a route that ordinarily runs local. Rollsigns and digital side signs also typically include the service names and terminals.

Newer cars starting with the R142 feature recorded announcements for station information, closing doors, and other general messages in lieu of conductor announcements, although live conductor announcements can still be made. The recordings began in the late 1990s and featured Bloomberg Radio on-air speakers, who volunteered at the request of their employer and future city mayor Michael Bloomberg. Voices include Jessica Gottesman (now at 1010 WINS radio), Charlie Pellett, and Catherine Cowdery. With regards to why certain messages are voiced by males and others by females, MTA spokesperson Gene Sansone said in 2006 that, "Most of the orders are given by a male voice, while informational messages come from females. Even though this happened by accident, it is a lucky thing because a lot of psychologists agree that people are more receptive to orders from men and information from women".. For example, a 4 (NYCS) Bronx-bound train at a station would broadcast, "This is a Bronx-bound 4 express train. The next stop is 125 Street," with a female voice. Before the doors close, a male recording would then announce, "Stand clear of the closing doors please!" General messages played include safety messages (e.g.: Reporting suspicious activity), train status announcements (Train delay), and courtesy messages (Disposing of litter in trash receptacles).

The New York City subway has over 6,400 cars (as of 2002) on the roster. A typical New York City Subway train consists of 8 to 11 cars, although shuttles can have as few as two, and the train can range from 150 to 600 feet (46 to 183 m) long.

The system maintains two separate fleets of cars, one for the IRT lines, another for the BMT/IND lines. All BMT/IND equipment is about 10 feet (~3.0 meters) wide and either 60 feet 6 inches (18.4 m) or 75 feet (~22.8 meters) long whereas IRT equipment is approximately 8 feet 9 inches (~2.67 m) wide and 51 feet 4 inches (~15.5 m) long. There is also a special fleet of BMT/IND cars that is used for operation in the BMT Eastern Division, consisting of R42 married pairs, R143 4-car sets and R160A 4-car sets. 75-foot (23 m) long cars, like the R44, R46, R68 and R68A are not permitted on BMT Eastern Division trackage.

Cars purchased by the City of New York since the inception of the IND and for the other divisions beginning in 1948 are identified by the letter "R" followed by a number; e.g.: R32. This number is the contract number under which the cars were purchased. Cars with nearby contract numbers (e.g.: R1 through R9, or R21 through R36 WF, or R143 through R160B) may be virtually identical, simply being purchased under different contracts. Subway car models begin with the letter "R" and are followed by the last 2 or 3 digits of the contract number under which they were purchased.

The MTA has been incorporating newer subway cars into its stock in the past decade. Since 1999, the R142, R142A, R143, R160A, and R160B have been added into service.

From the inauguration of IRT subway services in 1904 until the unified system of 1948 (including predecessor BMT and IND subway services), the fare for a ride on the subway of any length was 5 cents. On July 1, 1948, the fare was increased to 10 cents, and since then has steadily risen. When the New York City Transit Authority was created in July 1953, the fare was raised to 15 cents and a token issued. Until April 13, 2003, riders paid the fare with tokens purchased from a station attendant. The tokens were changed periodically as prices changed. For the 75th anniversary of the subway in 1979 (also called the Diamond Jubilee), a special token with a small off-center diamond cutout and engraved images of a 1904 subway car and kiosk were issued. Many were purchased for keepsakes and were not used for rides. The last iteration of tokens featured a hole in the middle, and after they were phased out, many became featured in home made jewelry.

Of course, many sought to circumvent the tokens in order to ride for free. A popular scam was to jam the token slot in an entrance gate with paper. A rider would innocently drop a token in, be frustrated when it did not open the gate, and have to spend another token to enter at another gate. The token thief would then race out from hiding, and suck the token from the jammed slot with their mouth. This could be repeated many times so long as no police officers spotted the activity. Often token booth attendants would coat the token slots with soap to discourage "token sucking".

In 1994, the subway system introduced a fare system called the MetroCard, which allows riders to use cards that store the value equal to the amount paid to a station booth clerk or to a vending machine. The MetroCard was enhanced in 1997 to allow passengers to make free transfers between subways and buses within two hours; several MetroCard-only transfers between subways were also added. The token was phased out in 2003. The same year, the MTA raised the basic fare to $2 amid protests from passenger and advocacy groups such as the Straphangers Campaign. In 2008, the MTA increased the prices of unlimited MetroCards, but left the base fare at $2.00.

Pending legislation would merge the subway operations of MTA New York City Transit with Staten Island Railway to form a single entity called MTA Subways. The Staten Island Railway operates with R44 subway cars on a fully grade-separated right-of-way, but is typically not considered part of the subway, and is connected only via the free, city-operated Staten Island Ferry.

In the early 21st century, plans resurfaced for a major expansion, the Second Avenue Subway. This line had been planned as early as the 1920s but has been delayed several times since. Construction was started in the 1970s, but discontinued due to the city's fiscal crisis. Some small portions remain intact in Chinatown, the East Village, and the Upper East Side, but they are each quite short and thus remain unused.

In August 2006, the MTA revealed that all future subway stations, including ones built for the Second Avenue Subway, the No. 7 line extension, and the new South Ferry station, will have platforms outfitted with air-cooling systems.

In 2003, the MTA signed a $160 million contract with Siemens Transportation Systems to install digital next-train arrival message boards, called Public Address/Customer Information Screens (PA/CIS) at 158 of its IRT (numbered line) stations. These signs were to be different from the current LED signs that display the current date and time. However, many problems arose with the software used in Siemens programming, and the MTA stopped payment to the company in May 2006. The MTA threatened to drop Siemens, but about a month later Siemens announced they had fixed the problem. The signs were scheduled to begin operation in late 2007.

A different system has been developed and installed successfully on the L line and is currently under testing.

In late September 2008, the MTA pushed back the completion date to 2011.

Originally scheduled to end in December 2006, the MTA extended the trial due to "overwhelming positive response".

After the September 11th attacks in New York, the MTA was extremely wary of anyone taking photographs or recording video inside the system. The MTA proposed banning all photography and recording in a meeting around June 2004. However, due to strong response from both the public and from civil rights groups, the rule of conduct was dropped. In November 2004, the MTA again put this rule up for approval, but was again denied. However, some police officers and transit workers still confronted people who were not authorized personnel.

On July 22, 2005, in response to bombings in London, the New York City Transit Police introduced a new policy of randomly searching passengers’ bags as they approached turnstiles. The NYPD claimed that no form of racial profiling would be conducted when these searches actually took place. The NYPD has come under fire from some groups that claim purely random searches without any form of threat assessment would be ineffectual. “This NYPD bag search policy is unprecedented, unlawful and ineffective,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “It is essential that police be aggressive in maintaining security in public transportation. But our very real concerns about terrorism do not justify the NYPD subjecting millions of innocent people to suspicionless searches in a way that does not identify any person seeking to engage in terrorist activity and is unlikely to have any meaningful deterrent effect on terrorist activity.”  However, the searches have been upheld by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case MacWade v. Kelly.

On April 11, 2008, MTA received a Ferrara Fire Apparatus Hazardous Materials Response Truck, which went into service on April 14. It will be used in the case of a chemical or bioterrorist attack.

Passenger accidents occur infrequently on the transit system. Platform gaps between the train and the platform typically range from 3-5 inches (7-13 centimeters). The maximum gap width on a straight platform is 6 inches (15 centimeters). Slips and falls have also declined. However, people do get minor injuries attempting to slip through the train doors as conductors are closing them.

The MTA is facing a budget deficit in 2009, a projected US$1.2 billion shortfall. The proposed new fare and service reductions will balance the budget deficit if the city and the state will aid the MTA, or if the MTA finds new sources of revenue. The deficit was caused by the fallen revenues from the real estate and corporate taxes. Fare increase will likely between from $2.00 to about $2.50 or even $3.00 for a one way trip. Some of these changes might take place as early as June 2009, which would fill in their $400 million budget gap for the New York City Subway system.

MTA listed the proposed service cuts that are affecting the New York City Subway system.

Several subway lines have reached their operational limits in terms of train frequency and passengers, according to data released by the Transit Authority. All but one of the "A" Division Lines, and the E and L lines are at capacity; crowding on the Lexington Avenue trains exceeds design limits. Crowding on subway lines results in delays and if congestion-based pricing for automobile travel to Manhattan is implemented, subway crowding is predicted to worsen. The Second Avenue Subway will begin to relieve pressure on the Lexington Avenue line when its first segment begins operating in 2015, but no such relief is planned for other crowded lines. Because new subway construction can require years to plan and complete, the Transit Authority can only turn to increased bus service to manage demand in the short run.

Service on the subway system is occasionally disrupted by flooding from both major and minor rainstorms. Rainwater can disrupt signals underground and can require the electrified third rail to be shut off. Since 1992, $357 million has been used to improve 269 pump rooms. As of August 2007, $115 million has been earmarked to upgrade the remaining 18 pump rooms. The project is expected to be completed in 2010. Despite these improvements, the transit system continues to experience flooding problems.

On August 8, 2007, after slightly more than 3 inches (76 mm) of rain fell within an hour, the subway system flooded, causing every line to either be disabled or seriously disrupted that effectively halted the morning rush. (An incident of similar magnitude occurred in September 2004.) This was the third incident in 2007 in which rain disrupted service. The system was disrupted on this occasion because the pumps and drainage system can handle only a rainfall rate of 1.75 inches (44 mm) per hour; the incident's severity was aggravated by the scant warning as to the severity of the storm. (p.10) In late August 2007, MTA Engineer Phil Kollin announced new plans to create a system that would pump water away from the third rail. This new pumping system is scheduled to be in place by 2009.

In addition, as part of a $130 million and an estimated 18 month project, the MTA began installing new subway grates in September 2008 in an attempt to prevent rain from overflowing into the subway system. The metallic structures, designed with the help of architectural firms and meant as a piece of public art, are placed atop existing grates but with a 3 to 4-inch (100 mm) sleeve to prevent debris and rain from flooding the subway. The racks will at first be installed in the three most flood-prone areas as determined by hydrologists and include Jamaica, TriBeCa and the Upper West Side. Each neighborhood is scheduled to have its own distinct design, some featuring a wave-like deck which increases in height and features seating (Jamaica), others with a flatter deck that includes seating and a bike rack.

The official maps of the New York Subway are based on a design by Michael Hertz Associates. The maps are relatively (though not entirely) geographically accurate, with the major exception of Staten Island, the size of which has been greatly reduced. This causes them to appear, in the eyes of some observers, as unnecessarily cluttered and unwieldy compared to the more traditional type of plan used for most urban rail and metro maps; a schematic, or diagram.

Part of the reason for the current incarnation is that earlier diagrams of NYC Subway (the first being produced in 1958), while perhaps being more aesthetically pleasing, had the public perception of being inaccurate. The most iconic design of New York Subway map by Massimo Vignelli which was published by the MTA between 1974–1979 and has since become recognised in design circles as a modern classic; however, the MTA deemed the map was too difficult to use, hence the current version .

There are now several privately produced schematics which are available online.

The MTA has had numerous events that promote increased ridership of their transit system.

From 1941 to 1976, the transit authority sponsored the "Miss Subways" publicity campaign. It was resurrected in 2004, for one year, as "Ms. Subways". Featuring young models, entertainers and others, the monthly campaign, which included the winners' photos and biographical blurbs on placards in subway cards, numbers actress Mona Freeman, and prominent New York City restaurateur Ellen Goodman (born Ellen Hart).

Subway Series is a term attributed to any World Series contest between New York City teams, called thus as opposing teams can travel to compete merely by using the subway system along with the fact that subways are adjacent and visible to their respective stadiums. Subway Series is a term long used in New York, going back to series between the Brooklyn Dodgers or New York Giants and the New York Yankees in the 1940s and '50s.

In cooperation with the City of New York, the MTA posted the NYC2012 logo on train cars in 2005 to attract support for the 2012 Olympics bid, which was unsuccessful.

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Source : Wikipedia