NEW YORK CITY IN AUTUMN

It was during the last week of October in 2005 when I was able to visit once again The City of New York which is the most populous city in the United States and the most densely populated major city in North America. Although I did not have enough time to see all the many beautiful landmarks and attractions of the city, I was able at least to visit seven - the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ellis Island, and Central Park. And these are portrayed in detail below, complete with photographs and an accompanying write-up. Since it was during the Autumn that I visited New York City, take time to notice the beautiful fall foliage as portrayed with the other photographs I took at Central Park.

The City of New York, which is also known as "The Big Apple", "The City That Never Sleeps", or just "The City," is at the center of international finance, politics, entertainment, and culture. It is one of the four major global cities, along with London, Tokyo and Paris, and is home to an almost unrivaled collection of world-class museums, galleries, performance venues, media outlets, international corporations, and stock exchanges. New York is widely regarded as one of the great intellectual, financial, and cultural centers of the world. The city serves as an enormous engine for the global economy, and is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other place in the United States.

Located in the state of New York, New York City has an area of 309 square miles (800 km²). Estimated in 2004 to have 8,168,388 residents, New York City proper comprises five boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, with all but Staten Island having populations exceeding one million. The city includes large populations of immigrants from over 180 countries who help make it one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth. Many people from all over the United States are also attracted to New York City for its culture, energy, and cosmopolitanism, and by their own hope of making it big in the "Big Apple."

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

One of the top 10 attractions of New York City is the Statue of Liberty. A gift from the French to the American people, the 305 feet high (from ground to torch) statue was the brainchild of French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi and became a symbol of freedom throughout the world.

Bartholdi intended it as a monument to the freedom he found lacking in his own country. He devoted 21 years of his life to making the statue a reality, even traveling to America in 1871 to talk to President Ulysses Grant and others into building it an installing it in New York's harbor.

It was unvieled by President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886, the statue was restored in time for its 100th anniversary in 1986. Bartholdi's mother was the model for Liberty. The frame was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later built the Eiffel Tower. The copper shell hangs on iron bars from a central iron pylon.

The Statue of Liberty conveys its message of freedom through a number of dramatic symbols. The broken shackles at her feet signify escape from tyranny. In her left arm, she holds a tablet of laws inscribed in roman numerals the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Her crown's seven rays suggest the seven seas and seven continents. Most significant of all, however, her torch and flame symbolize truth and justice enlightening the world.

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The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty sits atop the remains of Fort Wood which is one link in a chain of defenses protecting New York City and its vital harbor. The fort was built between 1808 and 1811 in the shape of an eleven-pointed star and was occupied by the War Department as an army post until 1937. In 1924, Fort Wood and the Statue Liberty were proclaimed a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge. Since 1937, the entire island has been part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In 1956, the island's name was changed from Bedloe's Island to Liberty Island.

CHINATOWN

Chinatown is New York's largest and most colorful ethnic neighborhood which is growing rapidly now overunning nearby Little Italy as well as the Lower East Side. Streets have teem with grocery stores, gift shops and hundreds of Chinese restaurants, even the plainest offer good food.

It is home to a thriving and still expanding community of Chinese immigrants. This area is famous for its restaurants and hectic street life. There are galleries, antique and curio shops, and Oriental festivals. The area truly comes alive around the Chinese New Year in January or February. The market on Canal Street has a wide range of bargains in clothes and fresh produce.

In the early 20th century it was primarily a male community made up of immigrants who had first gone to California. Wages were sent home to their families in China who were prevented from joining them by US immigration laws. The men relaxed by gambling at mahjong. The community remained isolated from the rest of the city, financed and controlled by its own secret organizations, the Tongs. Some of the Tongs were simply family associations who provided loans. Others, such as the On Leong and the Hip Sing, who were at war with one another, were criminal fraternities. In 1940, Chinatown was home to many middle-class families. Immigrants and businesses from Hong Kong also brought postwar prosperity to the community.

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Chinatown is a must-see landmark when touring New York City. Thousands of tourists visit and shop in Chinatown every day. New York's Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the United States and is the political, economical, historical, and cultural center of the Chinese community in New York City. It is the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere. There are hundreds of restaurants located in Chinatown where you can find authentic and traditional Chinese cuisine, it's no wonder why thousands of visitors from around the world come to Chinatown to dine. The styles of Chinese food most familiar to Americans are Cantonese, Szechwan, Shanghai, and Hunan.

This ethnic community is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. Its two square miles are loosely bounded by Kenmore and Delancey streets on the north, East and Worth streets on the south, Allen street on the east, and Broadway on the west. With a population estimated to be over a hundred thousand, Chinatown is the favored destination point for Chinese immigrants, though in recent years the neighborhood has also become home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, and Filipinos among others.

THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

The Empire State Building is said to be the most famous building in the world and is the tallest skycraper in New York. It became a symbol of New York the world over. Construction began in March 1930, not long after the Wall Street Crash, and by the time it opened in 1931, space was so difficult to rent out that it was nicknamed "The Empty State Building."

The 86th floor has outdoor observation decks for bird's-eye views of Manhattan. From the 102nd floor, 1250 ft high, you can see more than 80 miles on a clear day, but this has been closed to the public for several years.

About 18,000 persons work in the building plus about 35,000 visitors daily - totalling more visitors in a single year than the combined totals of all who visited the original seven wonders of the world throughout recorded history. The building was planned to be 86 stories high, but a then 150 ft mooring mast for zeppilins was added.

The mast now 204 ft transmits TV and radio to the city and four states. The Empire State Building is designed to serve as a lightning rod for the surrounding area. It is struck by lightning about 100 times per year.


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The Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, in Midtown, Manhattan, directly across from Weehawken Cove, on the other side of the Hudson River. The building weighs approximately 330,000 metric tons. It has 6,500 windows, 73 elevators, and 1,860 steps to the top floor. Its total floor area is 204,385 square meters (2,200,000 square feet).

For many years its 102 stories made it the tallest building in New York. The construction of the World Trade Center ended its reign as the city's highest skycraper, but it regained the latter destinction through misfortune when the Trade Center was destroyed in 2001 by a terrorist attack.

THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER

The Rockefeller Center was called a landmark in 1985 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and described as "the heart of New York." It is the largest privately owned complex of its kind & the inspiration for many cities to emulate its perfect urban mix. The Center is one of the foremost architectural projects undertaken in America in terms of scope, urban planning and integration of architecture, art and landscaping. It was developed by by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Stretching from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue and from 47th to 51st Streets, the Rockefeller Center is just a short walk from Times Square and conveniently located in the heart of New York's midtown. The site, once a botanic garden, was leased in 1928 by Rockefeller, as an ideal central home for a new opera house. and integration of architecture, art and landscaping. It was developed by by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

There are 14 buildings at the center which were erected between 1931 and 1940 which provided jobs for 225,000 during the Depression and by 1973 there were a total of 19 buildings. In December 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened within the complex. It hosts dazzling events, the annual Christmas and Easter shows feature the famous Rockettes.


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As one of New York's most popular destinations, Rockefeller Center is a hub of activity, with thousands of visitors and New Yorkers alike taking in an array of exciting attractions whether you're looking to spend the afternoon ice-skating, joining the audience at NBC's "Today Show," seeing the annual Christmas tree display or shopping at its world-class retail stores, the center has something for everyone. Exclusive events and exhibits are taking place everyday, and as a long-standing global marketplace, Rockefeller Center has become home to some of the world's most prominent businesses. It is a great place to people watch.

ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL

St. Patrick's Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan. It is the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States and has been recognized throughout its history as a center of Catholic life in the United States.

Located just across from Rockefeller Center, the structure is one of the city's most spectacular architectural sights, a mélange of Gothic revival styles with two soaring spires. It has a seating capacity of approximately 2,500, numerous altars and stained glass windows, and a giant organ with more than 7,855 pipes. Services are held throughout the day, and many locals and visitors stop in for a moment of serenity.

Popes Paul VI and John Paul II both visited St. Patrick’s, and wakes were held here for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Governor Alfred E. Smith and Prime Minister Jan Ignace Paderewski of Poland. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the cathedral held services for many fallen firefighters and police officers and offered solace to countless bereaved New Yorkers.

The Roman Catholic Church originally intended this site for use as a cemetery, but in 1859 Arch. John Hughes decided to build a cathedral instead. The cathedral was completed in 1878, though the spires which rise 330 ft above the pavement were added from 1885 to 1888. The exterior wall is built of white marble. Its massive bronze doors weigh 20,000 lb & are adorned with important religious figures.

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The Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is found inside the cathedral. The bronze statue and screen depict the life of the first native-born American to be canonized a saint. Mother Seton founded the American Sisters of Charity, the first order of nuns in the United States. The statue of the Pieta is also found inside the cathedral. It was created in 1906 by American sculptor William Partridge and now stands at the side of the Lady Chapel. It is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

There are a number of side altars inside such as the St. Michael and St. Louis altar which was designed by Tiffany and Company. The St. Elizabeth altar was designed by Paolo Medici of Rome. The Archbishops of New York are buried in a crypt under the high altar. Their honorary hats, called galeros, hang from the ceiling over their tombs. On display inside the cathedral are The Stations of the Cross which are works of art that won first prize at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

ELLIS ISLAND

Ellis Island is located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Through the years, this gateway to the new world was enlarged from its original 3.3 acres to 27.5 acres mostly by landfill obtained from ship ballast and possibly excess earth from the construction of the New York City subway system. The Island was incorporated as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument on May 11, 1965.

Reopened on September 10, 1990 after a massive restoration, the Main Building on Ellis Island is now a museum dedicated to the history of immigration and the important role this island claimed during the mass migration of humanity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Ellis Island is Federal property within the shared territorial jurisdiction of the States of New York and New Jersey. Centered on the Great Hall or Registry Room, the site today houses the three-story Ellis Island Immigration Museum with permanent exhibits. Much of this story is told with photos and the voices of actual immigrants, and an electronic data base traces ancestors. Currently the Main Building is the only building open for public viewing and is one of nearly three dozen structures on the island.

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From 1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the gates of Ellis Island and dispersed across the country in the greatest wave of migration the world has ever known. It was on the island that they were were legally and medically inspected. First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Instead, these passengers underwent a cursory inspection aboard ship; the theory being that if a person could afford to purchase a first or second class ticket, they were less likely to become a public charge in America due to medical or legal reasons. The Federal government felt that these more affluent passengers would not end up in institutions, hospitals or become a burden to the state. However, first and second class passengers were sent to Ellis Island for further inspection if they were sick or had legal problems.

The "steerage" or third class passengers were immigrants who traveled in crowded and often unsanitary conditions near the bottom of steamships with few amenities, often spending up to two weeks seasick in their bunks during rough Atlantic Ocean crossings. Upon arrival in New York City, ships would dock at the Hudson or East River piers. First and second class passengers would disembark, pass through Customs at the piers and were free to enter the United States. The steerage and third class passengers were transported from the pier by ferry or barge to Ellis Island where everyone would undergo a medical and legal inspection.

If the immigrant's papers were in order and they were in reasonably good health, the Ellis Island inspection process would last approximately three to five hours. The inspections took place in the Registry Room (or Great Hall), where doctors would briefly scan every immigrant for obvious physical ailments. Despite the island's reputation as an "Island of Tears", the vast majority of immigrants were treated courteously and respectfully, and were free to begin their new lives in America after only a few short hours on Ellis Island. Only two percent of the arriving immigrants were excluded from entry. The two main reasons why an immigrant would be excluded were if a doctor diagnosed that the immigrant had a contagious disease that would endanger the public health or if a legal inspector thought the immigrant was likely to become a public charge or an illegal contract laborer.

CENTRAL PARK

The City's "backyard" was created in 1858 by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux on a site of quarries, pig farms, swampland and shacks. It is a lush 843-acre (340-hectare) park with scenic hills, lakes and lush meadows, dotted throughout with outcrops of Manhattan bedrock and planted with more than 500,000 trees and shrubs.

Central Park spans two and a half miles from 59th Street to 110th Street and half a mile from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue. The park is home to numerous restaurants, playgrounds, the Metropolitan Museum, the Central Park Zoo, and Wollman Rink. The park has playgrounds and skating rinks, ballfields and spaces for every activity from chess and croquet to concerts and events.

On a short visit, a walking tour from 59th to 79th streets takes in some of Central Park's loveliest features, from dense wooded Ramble to the open formal spaces of Bethesda Terrace. Along the way, you will see artificial lakes and some of the 30 graceful bridges and arches that link some 58 miles (93 km) of footpaths, briddle paths and roads in the park. The Ramble is a wooded area of 57 acres (15 hectares); crisscrossed by paths and streams. It is a paradise for bird-watchers.

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These days walkers, rollerbladers, bikers and joggers compete for space. Lovers meet at Bethseda Fountain on Bethseda Terrace. To the north, others wonder at the mystery of Belvedere Castle. Nearby is the Delacorte Theater, where you can watch plays in the summer. Across the park lies a charming zoo, and children of all ages love the restored carousel.

Strawberry Fields is one of the park's most visited spots which was created in memory of John Lennon, former Beatle, singer, writer and composer, who was shot dead in New York on December 8, 1980 by a deranged fan Mark David Chapman. A mosaic set in the pathway, inscribed with the word Imagine (named for Lennon's famous song), was a gift from the city of Naples in Italy. It is now an international peace garden with 161 species of plants (one from every country of the world).

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