One of the world’s greatest cities, New York (known as “The Big Apple”, “NYC,” and often called “New York City”) is a global center for media, entertainment, art, fashion, research, finance, and trade. The bustling, cosmopolitan heart of the 4th largest metropolis in the world and by far the most populous city in the United States, New York has long been a key entry point and a defining city for the nation.
From the Statue of Liberty in the harbor to the Empire State Building towering over the Manhattan skyline, from the tunnels of the subway to the riches of Wall Street, from the bright signs of Times Square to the naturalistic beauty of Central Park, and from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York’s landmarks are quintessential American landmarks. The city’s neighborhoods and streets are so iconic they have become ingrained into the American consciousness. Here the power, wealth and culture of the United States is on full display in one of the largest and most iconic skylines in the world, in the food and music to be found around every corner, and in the diverse population of immigrants who come from every corner of the globe to take part in what this city has to offer.
Lying at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state of the same name and at the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, New York City has a population of approximately 8.3 million people. The New York Metropolitan Area, which spans lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, has a population of 18.9 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in the U.S.
The borough of Manhattan is a long, narrow island nestled in a natural harbor. It is separated from The Bronx on the north east by the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait); from Queens and Brooklyn to the east and south by the East River (also a tidal strait); and from the State of New Jersey to the west and north by the Hudson River. Staten Island lies to the south west, across Upper New York Bay.
In Manhattan, the terms “uptown” and “north” mean northeast, while “downtown” and “south” mean to the southwest. To avoid confusion, simply use “uptown” and “downtown.” Street numbers continue from Manhattan into the Bronx, and the street numbers rise as one moves farther uptown (however, in the Bronx, there is no simple numerical grid, so there may be 7 blocks between 167 St. and 170 St., for example). Avenues run north and south. In Brooklyn, street numbers rise as one moves south. Queens streets are laid out in a perpendicular grid – street numbers rise as one moves toward the east, and avenues run east and west. Staten Island’s grid system is small and insignificant, only covering one neighborhood.
The term “the city” may refer either to New York City as a whole, or to the borough of Manhattan alone, depending on the context. The other boroughs – Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens – are sometimes referred to as the “outer boroughs.”
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons, with hot and humid summers (Jun-Sept), cool and dry autumns (Sept-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-Jun).
Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 60°F (16°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor’easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60 cm) of snow in 24–48 hours.
Although snowstorms are a regular occurrence during the winter months, the snow rarely lies more than a few days before it partially melts. Major snowstorms can happen as early as Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and as late as the second week in April, though this is not the norm. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall.