City Spotlight: Manhattan, New York City, New York

by Cassandra McCullersMarch 31, 2017

As one of New York City’s most iconic boroughs, Manhattan is truly a world of its own. Located on the southern half of Manhattan Island, this neighborhood is bordered by the Hudson, Harlem, and East rivers. Some of New York’s most famous landmarks are within its boundaries, including Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building, the One World Observatory and the majority of Broadway. Manhattan also boasts of a wide array of world-renowned restaurants, exotic museums, concert halls, natural spaces, and charming neighborhoods.

Key Facts

  • State: New York
  • County: New York County
  • City: New York City
  • Settled: 1624
  • Elevation: 33 ft
  • Area (total): 33.6 sq mi
    • Area (land): 22.83 sq mi
    • Area (water): 10.8 sq mi
  • Population (2010 census): 1,585,873
    • Population (2015 estimate): 1,644,518
    • The most densely populated of New York City’s five boroughs
  • Zip codes: 100xx, 101xx
  • Area codes: 212, 646, 917

Attractions and Things to Do

Many of Manhattan’s neighborhoods serve as famous attractions in their own right. Times Square, one of the city’s most recognizable neighborhoods, has numerous shops, restaurants, and theaters, including the more than 40 theaters along Broadway, as well as countless off-Broadway productions. Central Park sprawls across 843 acres of greenery, containing the Central Park Zoo, the Friedsam Memorial Carousel, several spectacular gardens, paths for walking and biking, lakes and ponds, and many other famous locations and attractions that are a delight for both local families and tourists. Nearly synonymous with African-American cultural history, Harlem has a long and rich history as the focus of the early 20th century Harlem Renaissance, with theaters like the Apollo Theater, restaurants like Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s, and art museums like the Studio Museum preserving the neighborhood’s legacy. Greenwich Village, centered around Washington Square Park, bustles with activity 24/7, boasting a wide variety of dining, shopping, nightlife, and the arts, and served as a center in the Beat movement and hippie counterculture. Manhattan’s famous Chinatown is another fantastic destination worthy of its own trip. The eclectic collection of pagoda-style architecture, basement shops, dim sum palaces, and noodle vendors provide a unique look into a special American-Asian fusion of culture, history, and community.

The Empire State Building is not only King Kong’s favorite place to hang-out, it’s also one of our country’s most famous and easily recognized landmarks. Nestled among its art deco design, the observatory offers breathtaking views of the New York skyline until 2am every night. As you step onto the 80th floor (the elevator’s last stop before you head up to the 86th-floor observatory), visitors can enjoy the inspiring “Dare to Dream” exhibit, which chronicles the design, engineering, construction, and sacrifice of laborers who built this tower from the ground up.

The Top of the Rock observation deck offers another beautiful way to enjoy and experience the New York skyline from behind a wall of glass on the top of Rockefeller Center. Located in Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center is surrounded by some of the borough’s best dining, shopping and entertainment so allow yourself plenty of time when planning a trip.
Need yet one more option for seeing New York from above? Come to the famous One World Observatory located on the top three floors of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere at 1,792 feet tall. The building’s amazing five Sky Pod elevators are able to lift visitors to the top in less than 60 seconds while playing an animation of the development of NYC’s skyline from the city’s founding to today. There are even three restaurants on the 101st floor and many guests will spend several hours taking in the sights, enjoying refreshments, and visiting its inspiring exhibits.

With almost two million works of art from a period spanning five thousand years of human history, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or simply the Met) is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world, as well as the most visited museum in New York, totaling over six million visitors annually. The museum’s most popular permanent exhibitions are the American Wing, Egyptian Art, and Medieval Art. The Met also has numerous temporary and rotating exhibits.

The American Museum of Natural History is the city’s second most visited museum, with just under five million visitors every year. The museum is known for its exhibits on nearly the entire known span of natural history, especially its dinosaur fossils, the Hayden Planetarium, and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life’s full-size blue whale model, as well as numerous temporary exhibits.
The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, is dedicated to the celebration and promotion of contemporary and modern art, including works designed to challenge visitors’ preconceptions about what it means for something to be considered ‘art.’

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum itself is a work of art, with a unique shape and structure adding interest to its large collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more.

El Museo del Barrio is an art museum specializing in Caribbean, Puerto Rican, and Latin American art – the only such museum in New York. Located on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile, the museum’s permanent collection contains 6,500 objects spanning 800 years of art history, ranging from pre-Columbian Taino artifacts to modern art.

As the world leader in 20th-century and contemporary American art, with a focus on living artists, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s more than 21,000 works are a must-see.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a massive, Gothic revival style Roman Catholic church in Midtown Manhattan which serves as the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. St. Patrick’s also operates a parish church for local residents, located across the street from Rockefeller Center. St. Patrick’s is a popular place to visit to enjoy its breathtaking stained glass windows, ornate altars, and collection of incredible works of art including the Pietà, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, and the cathedral’s Stations of the Cross.

Major Industries

As the largest municipal economy in the country by a wide margin, the whole of New York has a large number of thriving industries. The city’s gross metropolitan product (GMP) was over $1.33 trillion in 2012, with the GMP of the combined statistical area sitting at $1.55 trillion. If New York City was a country, it would rank as the 12th largest economy in the world. Manhattan is the largest office market in the country, with over five hundred million square feet of office space in 2015.

Manhattan has an especially vibrant financial services and banking sector, playing host to the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and Wall Street. Midtown Manhattan ranks as the largest central business district on Earth.

The borough also serves as a global center for communications and information technology. The city as a whole is one of the most important centers for arts and other creative industries, as well as mass media, journalism, and publishing. Manhattan’s Madison Avenue is the center of the advertising industry, while Silicon Alley is New York’s constantly expanding high technology sphere.

Manufacturing is a major industry throughout the city, with the highest concentration in Manhattan. The manufacturing sector has been declining in recent years, but still acts as a cornerstone of the city’s economy. Education, healthcare and biomedical research, real estate, insurance, and advanced service sector industries like law and accountancy also all help form the backbone of Manhattan’s economy.

As the most populous borough in one of our country’s largest economies, Manhattan truly offers a wide array options for businesses and families alike. With a diverse population and active economic engagement, Manhattan is a popular place to work, play, and live.

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About The Author
Cassandra McCullers
Cassandra is a writer with a background in engineering, enjoying the rural life in the Virginian Appalachians. When not working, she enjoys writing fiction, running a blog, camping, working in the garden, and tending to her flock of chickens! In addition to writing, she has a passion for art and graphic design. Her interests include disaster preparedness, homesteading, landscaping, cooking with natural ingredients, history, and animal husbandry.

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