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New York City

New York City (pop. 8,322,564) is the largest city in the United States in population (see City). New York City is one of the world's most important centres of business, culture, and trade. It is also the home of the United Na­tions (UN). Much of what happens in New York City af­fects what happens throughout the United States and around the world.

New York City has a population of more than 8 mil­lion. It is more than twice as large as any other city in the United States. In fact, only eight states—not including New York State—have more people than New York City. Since its founding by Dutch settlers in 1625, New York has attracted immigrants from throughout the world. During the 1800's and early 1900's, millions of Europeans seeking a better life in a free land poured into the city. The Statue of Liberty, erected in New York Harbor in 1886, became the symbol of this new life. Since the mid- 190ffs, more immigrants—mainly blacks from the South­ern States and Spanish-speaking Americans from Puerto Rico—have moved into the city. These people have also looked to New York as a place to make a better life for themselves.

The business, financial, and trading organizations in New York City play a major role in the economy of the nation and of the world. The banks, stock exchanges, and other financial institutions in the city's famous Wall Street area help to provide the money used by most large U.S. corporations. The skyscrapers that form the spectacular New York skyline house the headquarters of many national and international business firms. The docks, warehouses, and shipping companies that line New York's huge natural harbour handle much of the nation's imports and exports.

As a cultural centre, New York City has no equal in the United States. Most of the publishing houses that se­lect and produce the nation's books have their head­quarters in New York. The city's world-famous Broadway area is the centre of professional theatre in the United States. New York is also the home of some of the nation's largest museums and art galleries. The city displays beautiful Gothic churches and other interesting styles of architecture. A great number of outstanding orchestras and opera and dance companies give performances at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

But along with all its greatness, New York City has many serious problems. Thousands of immigrants have not found the opportunities they had hoped for in New York. More than a million New Yorkers receive welfares or social security aid, and thousands live in slums. Other problems include air pollution, traffic jams, crime, drug abuse, ethnic conflicts, and the ever-increasing cost of living in the city. All these problems are driving many families—especially white middle-class families—to the suburbs.

In spite of its problems, New York City remains one the most interesting and exciting of U.S. cities.

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