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About New York City

According to facts from the History Channel, In 1664, the British seized New Amsterdam from the Dutch and gave it a new name: New York City. For the next century, the population of New York City grew larger and more diverse: It included immigrants from the Netherlands, England, France and Germany; indentured servants; and African slaves. By 1810 it was one of the nation’s most important ports. It played a particularly significant role in the cotton economy: Southern planters sent their crop to the East River docks, where it was shipped to the mills of Manchester and other English industrial cities. Then, textile manufacturers shipped their finished goods back to New York. As the city grew, it made other infrastructural improvements. In 1811, the “Commissioner’s Plan” established an orderly grid of streets and avenues for the undeveloped parts of Manhattan north of Houston Street. In 1837, construction began on the Croton Aqueduct, which provided clean water for the city’s growing population. Eight years after that, the city established its first municipal agency: the New York City Police Department.

Meanwhile, increasing number of immigrants, first from Germany and Ireland during the 1840s and 50s and then from Southern and Eastern Europe, changed the face of the city. They settled in distinct ethnic neighborhoods, started businesses, joined trade unions and political organizations and built churches and social clubs.

At the turn of the 20th century, New York City became the city we know today. In 1895, residents of Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and Brooklyn–all independent cities at that time–voted to “consolidate” with Manhattan to form a five-borough “Greater New York.” As a result, on December 31, 1897, New York City had an area of 60 square miles and a population of a little more than 2 million people; on January 1, 1898, when the consolidation plan took effect, New York City had an area of 360 square miles and a population of about 3,350,000 people.

The 20th century was an era of great struggle for American cities, and New York was no exception. The construction of interstate highways and suburbs after World War II encouraged affluent people to leave the city, which combined with deindustrialization and other economic changes to lower the tax base and diminish public services. This, in turn, led to more out-migration. Eventually, as the city became more and more attractive to both the affluent and young urban professionals, the population exploded in Manhattan and the great city has never looked back.

Today, more than 8 million New Yorkers live in the five boroughs–more than one-third of whom were born outside the United States. 1.7 million of these live in Manhattan. Thanks to the city’s diversity and vibrant intellectual life, it remains the cultural capital of the United States and the financial capital of the world. Each year, NYC is named the “safest large city in America” and continues to hold that title today.

Everything is at your fingertips in NYC, from Broadway shows, to Times Square and its lights, to the Statue of Liberty, to the great museums and cultural institutions, Central Park and the High Line and, of course, a diverse offering of foods like nowhere else.