It’s always a given, when you mention New York you virtually think about New York City. The “Big Apple” is known throughout the world and in many ways is the center of the planet. The United Nations is located here, and NYC is an international center for business and commerce. Many companies have their world headquarters in New York, so the city dominates the entire state much less all other big cities on earth.
New York is also a worldwide center for the arts, science, broadcast media, sports, education, literature, entertainment, and just about anything else you can think of. Times Square is a place all visitors flock to which is ironic because Times Square is not a building, venue, or anything else. People congregate here to look at the neon signs, the lights, and to watch all the other people. When the calendar changes on New Year’s Eve, it’s Times Square that people watch on TV to welcome in the new year.
Ellis Island is here, under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, where millions of people, mostly from Europe, passed through on their journey to leave the old world behind and start a new life in this place called “America” where opportunity might be found in great quantities. The liberty statue promised freedom, and many did find it but a great many also found that starting from scratch also brought many hardships.
The cynics will point to the difficult times many immigrants encountered as if to find glee for the flaws of the United States but the waves of people who came here never would have come if there was no reason or lack of oppression elsewhere. In the end, tens of millions of Americans can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island and New York City, mixing a great many cultures together into what America is now today. According to 2004 census estimates, the New York census estimates that at that time around 20% of New York City in habitants were foreign born (Wikipedia), so the city continues to be the stepping stone into the new world and a new life.
Yet you cannot reference New York without giving tribute to the rest of the state. Niagara Falls is here, famous around the world and a go-to site for tourists from around the globe. The Catskills is a well-known resort area and a popular vacation spot for those wishing to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There are many lakes and woodlands in the state for those seeking to go fishing, boating, camping, and hiking.
New York was at the forefront of the American Revolution; battles being fought here and the first capital of the United States being in New York City. Many canals were dug to aid in the transport of commodities, with the Erie Canal perhaps being the most famous. The canals gave way to the railroad and while most people think of the railroad being a part of the westward expansion, it was New York state where many of the first tracks were laid.
New York probably has the most professional sports teams of all the 50 states, and the Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown. Baseball grew up in New York and matured there. The rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox has been ongoing for over 100 years.
American entrepreneurship took root in New York, being one of the first cities that grew vertically with massive skyscrapers and for decades was home to the world’s tallest building. Other cities have now claimed the title of the tallest building and the race continues in other parts of the world, but it was New York that led the way for urban development and making it work. The logistics for transporting food, water, garbage, and other goods, those can be engineering feats in themselves. Connecting it all together in New York City is the subway system, the largest in the United States.
The weather can be brutal in New York, extreme hot and cold depending on the season. Though rare, New York can be hit with the remnants of hurricane systems and the north can be buried under several feet of snow during the winter.
And perhaps that’s what makes New York an intriguing place, because like the weather, the state is a land of many contrasts. The politics of the people range through the entire spectrum of viewpoints. The ethnicity of the population is a blend of many different cultures and people. The crazy dynamics of the big city and the quiet, easy going pace of the countryside in upper state New York.
Yes, New York does have it all. Perhaps that’s why New York is New York and why people continue to come here, either to visit or to start a new life.
New York images via Dreamstime