New York City
Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano in discovered this area in 1524 and in 1609 the Dutch claimed the area, calling it New Netherland. In 1626 the Dutch bought the island of Manhattan from the local Indians and established the settlement of New Amsterdam on the southern tip. The British conquered New Netherland in 1664 and renamed the settlement New York. Although New York City started at the southern tip of Manhattan Island it long ago spread beyond the confines of the island, absorbing neighbouring cities, towns and villages as it spread. In 1898 New York became a city of 5 boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. Our many trips to New York City have taken us to four of the five boroughs but we have yet to visit Queens other than passing through during the taxi journey between JFK and Manhattan.
Borough Hall, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Brooklyn sits on the western tip of Long Island, linked to Manhattan by a series of bridges and tunnels. Borough Hall dates back to the days when Brooklyn was a city in its own right. Incorporated in 1834, the new city started in 1836 to build a Greek Revival style City Hall. Money ran out when little more than the foundations had been completed. Construction restarted in 1845 to a simplified design by architect Gamaliel King. The City Hall opened in 1848 although it was another 3 years before construction was completed. In 1898 when Brooklyn became part of New York City, the City Hall became Borough Hall.
Statue of Liberty
The most familiar symbol not just of New York but of the USA as a whole stands on an island in Upper New York Bay. France had supported the American Revolution and with the 1876 centenary of the Declaration of Independence approaching France and the USA agreed on a joint monument to be erected on Bedloe's Island (now Liberty Island) in New York. The pedestal would be built on the site of Fort Wood by the USA while the copper sheet statue of Liberty Enlightening the World would be made in France. Designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi with engineering support from Alexandre Gustave Eiffel the statue was shipped to the USA in pieces in 1885. The project was running late due to delays in raising funds, but the 93 metre (305 foot) high Statue of Liberty was finally dedicated on October 28th 1886, just 10 years late for the centenary. If you look at a map you will see that Liberty Island is on the New Jersey side of the border with New York State that runs up the middle of the Hudson River. There is a long history of border disputes between New York and New Jersey but under a ruling from colonial times the islands in New York Harbour belong to New York. Hence Liberty Island is part of Manhattan but the waters surrounding it belong to New Jersey. Odd, but true. Click Tab 2 to see the statue together with its plinth and crowds of people around its base.
Registry Room, Ellis Island
Ellis Island is where from 1892 to 1954 over 12 million immigrants were processed before settling in the USA. The island’s split personality between New York and New Jersey is covered on the New Jersey page. The island was purchased by the US Government in 1808 to build one of a chain of forts to protect the harbour. By the late 19th century, ever increasing levels of immigration were swamping existing facilities so a new immigration station opened on Ellis Island in 1892. In 1897 the timber building burned down and was replaced in 1900 by a new, more solidly built building. The Registry Room, restored to its 1918 appearance, was the place where new arrivals waited to be inspected and registered by Immigration officers.
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Midtown Manhattan from top of World Trade Center
The dreadful events of September 2001 robbed the world of one of its most awesome city views until the new building at One World Trade Center was completed. From the Observation Deck of the old WTC you had views of Manhattan Island, Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, Ellis Island and New Jersey. This picture shows the view up Manhattan with the low rise area around Greenwich Village in the foreground and the high rise Midtown District in the distance. The One World Observatory at the top of One World Trade Centre provides views similar to the old WTC but we have yet to find time to visit it. When we have will will add a picture for comparison!
USS Intrepid Museum, Pier 86, Manhattan
Second World War aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid forms the centrepiece of this Sea, Air & Space museum at the western end of 46th street. Although many of the exhibits are of a military nature, the museum includes some non military exhibits. Pride of place is given to a British Airways Concorde supersonic airliner. If you missed your chance to cross the Atlantic in Concorde, at least you can see what you missed here.
Walkway across Brooklyn Bridge
An island was a good place to build a city in the days when the fastest mode of transport was by sea. In the 17th century rowing boat ferries were all that was needed to connect Manhattan to the mainland and other islands. As New York and adjacent towns such as Brooklyn began to grow so did the demand for ferries, and by the mid 19th century the East River was criss-crossed by ferries. With land transportation becoming ever faster, a more efficient mode of transport was needed. In 1866 the New York State Legislature passed a bill for the construction of a bridge linking Manhattan with Brooklyn. The bridge opened on May 24, 1883 after a troubled construction period which included the accidental death of the Designer and Chief Engineer John A. Roebling. The bridge has a span of 486 metres (1595 feet). The walkway runs along the centre of the bridge above the traffic and provides some great views of Lower Manhattan and out to the Statue of Liberty.
We have other pages on New York City. Click below or on the Minimap: