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Cultural life and recreation

New York City ranks as one of the world's greatest cultural centers. It has many art galleries, drama and dance groups, musical and literary societies, and other cultural organizations. It also has some of the world's finest concert halls, museums, and theatres. Many of the nation s greatest actors, artists, musicians, poets, and writers live in New York.

There are several reasons for New York City's leading position as a cultural centre. Many of the city's wealthy residents have long given financial support to cultural activities. Traditionally, the city has also offered people in the arts an atmosphere that encourages freedom of expression. In addition, New York's many advertising agencies, broadcasting and film studios, recording com­panies, and publishing houses have provided jobs that attract creative people.

The arts. Nearly all the arts thrive in New York City. Many new styles in American drama, literature, music, and painting have developed in New York and then spread to the rest of the country.

One of New York City's most famous and popular forms of art is the theatre. Most important American plays and musical comedies have their premieres in the city's famous Theatre District. The theatres in this district are called Broadway theatres, though few are actually on that street. Most are on side streets near Times Square. Many plays and musicals are also presented in off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway theatres in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Musical organizations in New York City include the New York Philharmonic, one of the world's great symphony orchestras, and the Metropolitan Opera Association, an outstanding opera company. Both perform at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Architecture. New York's best-known style of architecture is the towering skyscraper. The giant buildings that form Manhattan's dramatic skyline are famous throughout the world.

One of the oldest and most famous skyscrapers in New York is the Flatiron Building, located on 23rd Street where Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue. The 21 -storey building was completed in 1903. It has a triangular shape like that of an old-fashioned flatiron.

During the 1930`s, several famous skyscrapers were built in New York City. The most famous, the 102-storey Empire State Building was completed in 1931. It ranked as the world's tallest building for many years.

Many glass-walled skyscrapers have been built in New York since the 1950`s.These buildings include the United Nations Secretariat along the East River at 44th Street, Lever House on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th streets, and the Seagram Building on Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets. The twin towers of the giant World Trade Center on the Hudson River south­west of City Hall were completed in 1973.

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