New York City, “The Big Apple”, is the largest city in the United States and
is visited by millions of travellers every year. New York is so popular
because it offers architecture, very varied culture (migrants from many
countries are estimated to speak 800 different languages), history and
special events that cannot be found anyplace else. New York City is situated
at the mouth of the Hudson River, providing one of the world’s largest
natural harbors. It was probably this that attracted the Dutch to found the
first trading post there in 1626, but they named it “New Amsterdam”; “New
York” only became its name twenty years later when the British gained
control and re-named it after the Duke of York, King Charles II’s brother.
Statue of Liberty: America’s most famous symbol of freedom
stands on Liberty Island, accessible by ferry from Battery Park. It is
usually visited along with nearby Ellis Island, where a museum commemorates
the USA’s history of immigration. You can go inside the statue and ascend to
its crown. France gave the statue to the United States in recognition of
their friendship during the American Revolution. The statue is of the Roman
goddess of freedom, Libertas, bearing a torch and a stone tablet on which is
written the date of the American Declaration of Independence.
Metropolitan Opera House: Broadway / 63rd St. The new
Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
opened in 1966. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of
many buildings: the Metropolitan Opera, Avery Fisher Hall, New York State
Theater...The complex was constructed between 1959 and 1972.
Trump Tower: 737 Fifth Avenue / 56th Street. This
spectacular 68-storey building was erected in 1983. Developer: Donald Trump.
Architect: Swanke, Hayden & Conell.
Rockefeller Center: Rockefeller Center, named after John D.
Rockefeller, consists of 19 buildings in midtown Manhattan. Rockefeller
(1839-1937) made his money in oil after starting the Standard Oil Company in
1870, and became the richest man in America. During his 40 year retirement
he spent a lot of the money for the public good, founding several
universities in the US and the Philippines, and paying for a lot of new
medical research. Rockefeller’s foundations continue to this day.
The United Nations Headquarters: Architect: Wallace K.
Harrison. The 39 storey building was finished in 1953.
It is the home of the international organisation and is one of the most
visited tourist attractions in New York. The complex houses the General
Assembly, the Secretariat Building, the Dag Hammerskjold Building and the
Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum: 1071 5th Ave at 89th St.
Opened in 1959. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. “The Guggenheim” is one of
the foremost museums of Modern Art in the world. Its permanent collection
includes Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, as well as early Modern and
Empire State Building: At Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.
Held the record as the world's tallest skyscraper for 40 years.
86th Floor Observatory. (1050 feet). Open 9.30 to midnight daily.
Glass-enclosed area and outdoor promenades. It has 3.6m visitors per year.
Some of the best views of downtown Manhattan are from this building.
When the World Trade Center was built in 1973, it quickly
became better known as “the twin towers”, which at the time were the tallest
buildings in the world. The Center is most famous as the target of one of
the most shocking terrorist attacks against the USA on “nine-eleven” when
Islamist hijackers flew two airliners into the towers, causing the South
Tower to collapse and the North Tower to burn, with the loss of 2,753 lives.
Probably everyone who saw it still remembers the powerful visual image of
the burning tower slowly collapsing behind billowing dust, as shown live on
But right from the start the World Trade Centre had led a controversial
existence. Its construction required the compulsory relocation of many small
businesses and 100 residents, who mounted a campaign against it; and there
was criticism of the design as soulless by the American Institute of
In 1975 there was a fire in the North Tower, and in 1993, in what came to be
known as “the World Trade Center bombing”, 680kg of explosive packed in a
truck in the underground garage was detonated, killing 6 people. In 1998, in
an event that might make a good film, the Bank of America on the 11th floor
was robbed of over $2 million by a team of small-time crooks, all of whom
were soon caught. One illegal but noble deed that did make a good film was
the tightrope walk from one tower to the other and back again, carried out
by French performer Philipe Petit. His act of skill and courage in 1974 was
later documented in the film Man on Wire.
After a period as “Ground Zero”, the WTC site is being redeveloped into the
“One World Trade Centre”, which will be the tallest office tower in the
western hemisphere when it is completed later in 2013. There will also be a
9/11 museum and memorial, recording the names of all 2,977 victims of the
World Trade Centre bombing and 9/11, including those who died on the two
airliners used as weapons.