Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, with the city having three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013] and receiving a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017. Times Square, iconic as the world’s “heart” and its “Crossroads”, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s landmarks, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top universities in the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and the city is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.
Origin of the Name:
In 1664, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York, who would become King James II of England. James’s older brother, King Charles II, had appointed the Duke proprietor of the former territory of New Netherland, including the city of New Amsterdam, which England had recently seized from the Dutch.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth. The erosive forward movement of the ice (and its subsequent retreat) contributed to the separation of what is now Long Island and Staten Island. That action also left bedrock at a relatively shallow depth, providing a solid foundation for most of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.
In the precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape,
whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the western portion of Long Island, including the area that would become Brooklyn and Queens; Manhattan; the Bronx; and the Lower Hudson Valley.
The first documented visit into New York Harbor by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown. He claimed the area for France and named it Nouvelle Angoulême. A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he named Río de San Antonio. The Padrón Real of 1527, the first scientific map to show the East Coast of North America continuously, was informed by Gomes’ expedition and labeled the northeastern United States as Tierra de Esteban Gómez in his honor.