Manhattan's skyline with its many skyscrapers is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world. As of August 2008, New York City has 5,538 highrise buildings, with 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). This is more than any other city in United States, and second in the world, behind Hong Kong.
New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing. 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 style of the Chrysler Building (1930), with its tapered top and steel spire, reflected the zoning requirements. The building has distinctive ornamentation such as replicas at the corners of the 61st floor of the 1928 Chrysler eagle hood ornaments.
A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its facade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is an prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers.
New York's large residential districts are often defined by the classic brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and tenements that were built during a period of rapid growth from 1870 to 1930. Stone and brick became the city's building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of theGreat Fire of 1835.
A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the wooden roof-mounted water towers. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes.
Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, including Jackson Heights in Queens.
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches. This parkland complements tens of thousands of acres of federal and state parkland.
National Park System
Gateway National Recreation Area is over 26,000 acres (10,521.83 ha) in total, most of it surrounded by New York City; the New York State portion includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Brooklyn and Queens, over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of salt marsh, islands and water that includes most of Jamaica Bay. Also in Queens the park includes a significant portion of the western Rockaway Peninsula, most notably Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden. Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island with historic pre-Civil war era Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, and Great Kills Park with beaches, trails and marina also on Staten Island.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum are managed by the National Park Service, and are joined in the harbor by Governors Island National Monument. Historic sites under federal management on Manhattan Island include Castle Clinton National Monument; Federal Hall National Memorial; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site; General Grant National Memorial ("Grant's Tomb"); African Burial Ground National Monument; Hamilton Grange National Memorial; and the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village is a designated National Historic Landmark as the catalyst of the modern gay rights movement.
New York State Parks
There are seven state parks within the confines of New York City, including Clay Pit Ponds State Park, a natural area which includes extensive riding trails, and Riverbank State Park, a 28-acre (110,000 m2) facility that rises 69 feet (21 m) over the Hudson River.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
- Central Park an 883-acre (3.57 km2) park in Manhattan, is the most visited city park in the United States, with 25 million visitors each year. The park contains a myriad of attractions; there are several lakes and ponds, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, the 106-acre (0.43 km2) Jackie Onasis Reservoir. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel.
- Prospect Park in Brooklyn has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow, a lake and extensive woodlands. Located within the park is the historic Battle Pass, which figured prominently in the Battle of Long Island.
- Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest park, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and the 1964 World's Fair.
- Over a fifth of the Bronx's area, 7,000 acres (28 km2), is given over to open space and parks, including Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.
- In Staten Island, the Conference House Park contains the historic Conference House, site of the only attempt of a peaceful resolution to the American Revolution, attended by Benjamin Franklin representing the Americans and Lord Howe representing the British Crown. Located within the park is the historic Burial Ridge, the largest Native American burial ground within New York City.
New York's Five Boroughs at a Glance
|Borough of||County of||1 April 2010|
State of New York
|Source: United States Census Bureau|
New York City is composed of five boroughs. 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.
- Manhattan (New York County; 2009 Est. Pop.: 1,629,054) is the most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city'sskyscrapers. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.
- The Bronx (Bronx County: Pop. 1,397,287) is New York City's northernmost borough, the location of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. Except for a small section of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and is home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.
- Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,567,098), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a distinctive architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown neighborhood. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.
- Queens (Queens County: Pop. 2,306,712) is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, and may overtake Brooklyn as the city's most populous borough due to its growth. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is predominantly residential and middle class. Queens County is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)
- Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 491,730) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 2,500 acres (10 km2) Greenbelt has some 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.