Overview of New York City

Geography of New York City

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Geography of The United States

The United States of America is within the western hemisphere in North America. The country is bordered by Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the Atlantic Ocean to the right.

The USA is comprised of fifty states, 5 territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the North Mariana Islands), and the federal district of Columbia. In total, USA territory extends to 3.53 million square miles (9.16 million km²) and has more than 327.2 million people. It is the fourth largest country by total area in the world, and third biggest by population.

States of the USA

The USA is divided into 50 states. They all have a degree of independence with a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution, such as regulating intrastate commerce, running elections, creating local governments and ratifying constitutional amendments.

The 50 US States:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky
  18. Louisiana
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Michigan
  23. Minnesota
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada
  29. New Hampshire
  30. New Jersey
  31. New Mexico
  32. New York
  33. North Carolina
  34. North Dakota
  35. Ohio
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oregon
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. Rhode Island
  40. South Carolina
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington
  48. West Virginia
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming

Major Cities of the USA

New York City is the biggest major city in the USA it is culturally and historically significant.

The second biggest city is Los Angeles (California) one the west coast with almost 4 million citizens. The city is home to the entertainment industry of Hollywood, as well as offering easy access to beaches, top restaurants, and hiking trails.

The third biggest city is Chicago (Illinois). With nearly 3 million people, the city is  world-renowned for its museums, iconic architecture, and beautiful skyline.

Other major cities in the USA:

  • Houston, TX (Population: 2,359,480)
  • Phoenix, AZ (Population: 1,711,356)
  • Philadelphia, PA (Population: 1,576,596)
  • San Antonio, TX (Population: 1,565,929)
  • San Diego, CA (Population: 1,453,775)

Climate in USA

The USA is one of the biggest countries in the world, which means that its weather varies significantly between different continental areas from Alaska and Hawaii.

Generally, while in the canter/plains and southern states, summer is hot and very humid, south-western states' summers are hot and quite dry. Southern California and Florida enjoy endless summers all-year-round, which make them favorite destinations for weather. 

In the Pacific Northwest and New England states, summers are warm with cool mornings and pleasant evening conditions.

Winters in the southern states are moderate, while in the north, northeast, plains states, and in the western mountains, conditions are often more severe with heavy snow and below-zero temperatures.

Spring and summer are considered hurricane and thunderstorms' season, especially in central part of the USA and the south-eastern area surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.

Seasons in USA:

  • Spring: April - June
  • Summer: July - September
  • Fall: October - December
  • Winter: January – March

For up-to-date weather information, consult the USA National Weather Service

Time Zone in New York City

New York uses the Universal Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours) in the summer months, and Greenwich Mean Time (UTC-5) in the winter period.

Geography of New York City

Many New Yorkers would say New York is the "centre of the Universe", but in geographical terms New York is not even the centre of the USA. The state of New York lies in the northeast of the country and it is bordered by New Jersey in the west, Connecticut in the northwest and Long Island to the east.

The city ishome to over 8.5 million people making it the largest in the United States and the most densely populated with 27,750 residents per square mile (10,715/km²). The amount of people and skyscrapers in New York have set it apart as one of the quintessential cityscapes. The city is a living entity and has garnered popular nicknames such as "The Big Apple" and "the city that never sleeps" with even landmarks getting their own nickname like Times Square being dubbed "the Crossroads of the World". The horrific terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001 took away the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, but the ever-changing look and spirit of New York prevails.

NYC has been considered one of the largest cultural and financial hubs in the world. Though real estate in the city is exceptionally expensive, the overabundance of facilities and job opportunities make it one of the most exciting places to live in the world.

The city's total area is estimated at 468.5 square miles (1,214 km2) with 166 square miles (429.5 km2) of this area covered by water. The city wraps around one of the largest natural harbour in the world at the mouth of Hudson and East River. Much of land was carved out to make the city a trading post. The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island at 409.8 feet (124.9 m). Central Park, the city's green lung, occupies 843 valuable acres in Manhattan, a lush oasis amidst the high rises and city living.

Neighborhoods & Boroughs of New York

NYC is a city that is ever-changing, with each neighbourhood hosting its own unique personality and community. The buildings, people, and events vary widely from place to place, and finding the right neighbourhood can be like finding your soul mate.

Traveling through New York can be incredibly confusing as the neighbourhoods are sometimes named for the geography such as "Upper East Side" or are acronyms like TriBeCa (for "TRIangle BElow CAnal Street") or SoHo ("SOuth of HOuston").

To understand the neighbourhoods, here is a brief premier on Manhattan geography and terminology:

  • Uptown: North-northeast, which is the direction in which the island and its street grid system is oriented. The term also refers to the northern part of Manhattan (generally speaking, above 59th Street.
  • Downtown: South-southwest. This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, the Financial District at the southern tip of the island, and Midtown Manhattan. Downtown can also refer to the southern portion of the island below 14th Street.
  • Midtown: Covers the middle area, generally between above 14th and below 59th.
  • East/West designations: Fifth Avenue roughly bisects Manhattan Island and acts as the demarcation line for (e.g., East 27th Street, West 42nd Street); street addresses start at Fifth Avenue and increase heading away from Fifth Avenue, at a rate of 100 per block in most places. South of Waverly Place in Manhattan, Fifth Avenue terminates, and Broadway becomes the east/west demarcation line. Though the grid does start with 1st Street, just north of Houston Street, the grid does not fully take hold until north of 14th Street, where nearly all east-west streets use numeric designations, which increase from south to north to 220th Street, the highest numbered street on the island.

The heart of the New York City is the skyscraper packed island of Manhattan, located just off the coast of the state, with 1,620,867 people. It is the most densely populated borough with people as well as skyscrapers. The borough is the financial centre of the city, houses the United Nations, 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.

For an example of some of Manhattan's most identifiable neighbourhoods:

  • Chelsea: offers a large gay district and charming little streets with luxurious homes. Most recently, the neighbourhood has been a centre of New York's art industry and nightlife.
  • Chinatown: it is the biggest Chinese city out of Asia with a dense population of people of Chinese descent. To find out more about the area, go to explorechinatown.com/
  • Little Italy and Nolita: this area is especially popular for visitors during the Feast of San Gennaro in September. The neighbourhood is packed with restaurants, shops and an old-world charm.
  • Soho: what it used to be an ancient manufacturing quarter is now a hot spot for artists and night-clubbers with a multitude of upscale shops.
  • TriBeCa: Famous for its warehouses and artists' lofts, Tribeca is mostly a quiet residential area known for its film festival.
  • Greenwich Village: Also known as the West Village, this area has a distinct bohemian vibe. A great neighbourhood to explore when you want to escape Manhattan's crowded streets and tall skyscrapers.
  • Upper East Side: This is the ritziest, most expensive area and tends to be safe and quiet. This is also home to Museum Mile and excellent shopping. It also features convenient subway and bus service, as well as some of Manhattan's swankiest hotels.
  • East village: Famous for punk-rock, great bars and its immigrant history, the East Village is an exciting place to be. To find out more, go to east-village.com/.
  • Lower East Side: New York City's historic Jewish neighbourhood was once the largest Jewish community in the world. Today, it is home to great bargain shopping, bialys and delicious pastrami sandwiches.
  • Harlem: Though the neighbourhood name comes from the Dutch colonial era after Haarlem, the area is long known as a major African American cultural and business centre.
  • Upper West Side: Primarily a residential and shopping area. This neighbourhood is regarded as more hip than the Upper East Side. It is characterized as more intellectual and creative and less stuffy.

The city also consists of four other boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. If the boroughs were independent cities, they would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States. The four other boroughs are easily reached by NYC metro and are often thousands of dollars cheaper to live than within Manhattan. Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island can all receive a bad rap for not being in downtown, but the benefits of larger living spaces, the neighbourhoods own identifiable characteristics and the chance to unwind from the hectic centre have always drawn a large population.

  • The Bronx: New York City's northernmost borough is one of the epicentres of rap and hip-hop culture. It is also the site of Yankee Stadium and home of the New York Yankees. The largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City, is located here. The Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, is also here.
  • Brooklyn: 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 and a unique architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown area and a long beachfront. Coney Island, established in the 1870s, is one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.
  • Queens: Queens is, geographically, the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is largely residential, with middle class citizens and it is expanding rapidly. It 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 Shea Stadium and home of the New York Mets. Queens also supports New York City's two major airports: LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • Staten Island: This borough is the most suburban of the five boroughs. Connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan via the free Staten Island Ferry, it is its own island. The Greenbelt has about 35 miles (56 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 encompasses seven city parks. The F.D.R. Boardwalk along South Beach is two and one-half miles long, which is the fourth largest in the world.

Climate in New York City

New York City has a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons. There is an average of 234 sunny days a year, but temperatures can be extreme.

  • Winters can be bitterly cold and the summers stifling hot with any variation in-between, making up fall and spring. January is the coldest month with temperatures averaging 35°F (1,5°C).
  • Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 84°F (29°C) and lows of 63°F (17°C). Summer evenings can become extremely uncomfortable as urban heat island effect occurs, meaning that the heat absorbed during the day is radiated out at night and can raise the temperatures by as much as 7 °F (4 °C).

Relatively safe from natural disaster, NYC has encountered several notable hurricanes, including the disastrous New England Hurricane of 1938. Hurricanes rarely hit the city directly, but its geography of narrow river's channels, tall skyscrapers, large population, and low-lying infrastructure and coastal subway system make it one of the three cities in the United States most vulnerable to hurricanes (the other two are New Orleans and Miami).

For up-to-date weather information, consult the USA National Weather Service

Update 13/02/2020

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