Monday, June 21, 2010

New York - The Big Apple

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

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Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2008 estimated population exceeds 8.3 million,[2] and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2),New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World", 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. Anchored by Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City is the financial capital of the world and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. The original Manhattan Chinatown attracts throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks and retail establishments. World-class schools and universities such as Columbia University, Cardozo School of Law, New York University and Fordham University also reside in New York City.

New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government. Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

The five boroughs are:

4.The Bronx,
5.Staten Island

Manhattan (New York County: Pop. 1,620,867)is the most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city's skyscrapers. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.

Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,528,050), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a distinctive architectural heritage.

It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown neighborhood. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.

Queens (Queens County: Pop. 2,270,338)is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States,and may overtake Brooklyn as the city's most populous borough due to its growth. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is predominantly residential and middle class. Queens County is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)

The Bronx (Bronx County: Pop. 1,391,903) is New York City's northernmost borough, the location of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. Except for a small section of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and is home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.

Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 481,613) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 25 km² Greenbelt has some 35 miles (56 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks. The FDR Boardwalk along South Beach is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, the fourth largest in the world.

New York State or New York City?

Do not confuse New York City with New York State. New York State is made up of nine regions, these include:

1. North Country New York - northern frontier of the American state of New York, bordering Lake Ontario, the Saint Lawrence River (across from the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec), Vermont, and the Adirondack Mountains.
2. Central New York - Central region of New York State, includes the Syracuse metropolitan area.
3. Finger Lakes - The Finger Lakes is a region of New York state south of Lake Ontario. One of the major viticultural areas of the United States. It includes The city of Rochester, New York's third largest, offers urban attractions and amenities.
4. Western New York - to the westernmost region of the state of New York. It includes the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and surrounding suburbs.
5. Southern Tier - west of the Catskill Mountains along the northern border of Pennsylvania. It is a loosely defined term that generally includes the counties on that border Pennsylvania west of Delaware County inclusive.
6. Capital District - refers to the four counties surrounding Albany, the capital of the state: Albany County, Schenectady County, Rensselaer County, and Saratoga County. Often the other counties of the Albany-Schenectady-Amsterdam Combined Statistical Area and Greene County are included
7. Hudson Valley- The Hudson Valley is divided into three regions: Lower, Middle and Upper. However Upper Hudson is the Capital District.
8. New York City - The largest city in the state and the most populous city in the United States is New York City, which comprises five counties, the Bronx, New York (Manhattan), Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), and Richmond (Staten Island). New York City is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population.
9. Long Island (Southeast New York, include Suffolk county & Nassau county)

New York city is the largest city in New York State(and USA), the city is part of the New York State. So now you know the difference between New York City and New York State.

NY arrival (by air) From Chicago

Midway Airport, Chicago
We faced a terrible long queue in Midway Airport for security check. Despite our request for easy access as the security checking which have take a long time, and there is no positive action taken to help us. The international tourist are asked to queue together with the domestic passengers. There is no special pathway for passenger who are going to be late for the flight, especially the next flight. A typical mentality of form over substance, without common sense used, which is not friendly to passengers, especially international tourist to the country. Ironically there is no long queue in the bigger international LAX airport, and other airports we travel in USA. The Midway airport need to provide an explanation....we can understand the security concern, but we cannot understand the two rows of long queue at the airport when other bigger airports are able to handle it better...

21-5-2010(Friday) New York La Guardia Airport(1st Day)

Finally we arrived at New York on 21-5-2010. I do not believe that I have landed in New York airport, as LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA) is small airport and it look old. But I really cannot compare it with John F. Kennedy International Airport, which is an international airport, or other new Asian airports. LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA) is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city. It take 12 min from the airport to Elmhurst, New York.(3.8 to 6.5 miles).

New York is a big city, the big apple was once the most expensive city in the world. And now I am in New York, I just wonder can I survive here in NY in the next few days?....With anticipating and wondering mind....But I am happy I am now standing in New York City. I finally arrive in New York city, wah.......

The 3rd son of our Indonesian Chinese friend, Ontorio(or Onn) and Lingling, take some time to arrive at the LaGuardia Airport. The reason being that there are few terminals and not expected us to arrive at one of the small terminal. Ontorio and family stayed at Queen borough, New york city. Mr Onn went to New Jersey, and was not at home. The airport is in Queen borough, and Mr Onn's house is at Elmhurst, the 3rd Chinatown in New York, also at Queen.

Mr Oon and family is from Central Java, he built his family in New York since late 90s, now he is happily settled down in New York. The life in New York is not easy for an immigrant without any relative there. It is tough, hard work and the high spirit that they have to live well in the new country, help them to survive and adapt to the new nation. It is the same story in Elmhurst, the mainland Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Malaysian, the Filipino...all tell the same story, it is not easy to build the family in a new nation, especially in New York city. It is hard work.....

After a welcome bath at the house to clean away the tired body, Mr Onn came back from New jersey, and took us to Jamaica, the town where Lingling work. She work at a restaurant owned by a Korean. There is the place where we have our lunch. It look like Latino or Hispanic dishes, or at least South American style. It taste good...

Jamaica, Queen - the place where Lingling work

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Jamaica, a large, sprawling neighborhood, is also home to John F. Kennedy International Airport—one of the busiest international airports in the United States and the world— public transportation passengers are connected to airline terminals by AirTrain JFK, which operates as both an airport terminal circulator and rail connection to central Jamaica at the integrated LIRR and bilevel subway station located at Sutphin Blvd and Archer Avenue. Major streets include Archer Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, Liberty Avenue, Merrick Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard, Guy R. Brewer Boulevard (formerly known as New York Boulevard), and Sutphin Boulevard, as well as the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) and the Grand Central Parkway.

Filipino Dinner at Krystal's Cafe, Woodside

Dinner at Filipino restaurant. The night is still cold, summer is still far away.
A "Little Manila" stretches from 63rd-71st Streets at the strip of Roosevelt Avenue, where many Filipino businesses have flocked to serve Woodside's large Filipino American community.
In the borough of Queens, many Filipino businesses have sprung up in the past decade. Queens is home to 85,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans and has the largest Filipino population among the five boroughs. The Filipino-American community is also the fourth largest Asian-American subgroup in the borough and makes up about 4.2% of the entire population of Queens

Woodside is known for its concentration of Filipinos. Of the 85,000 residents of Woodside, about 13,000 are of Filipino background, or 15% of Woodside's population.

Along the 7 line, known colloquially as the "International Express," the 69th Street station serves as the gateway to Queens' very own Little Manila. This area attracts many local Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike and from neighboring places of Long Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The coverage of Little Manila is along Roosevelt Avenue, from 63rd Street-71st Street.

Filipino restaurants dominate the area, as well as several freight and remittance centers scattered throughout the neighborhood. Other Filipino-owned businesses including professional services (medical, dental, optical), driving schools, beauty salons, immigration services, and video rental places providing the latest movies from the Philippines dot the community

Restaurants such as Ihawan, Perlas ng Silangan, BarYo, Renee's Kitchenette, and Krystal's Cafe, are the most popular ones.

Mr On and Lingling took us to Krystal's Cafe, which serve beautiful Filipino food. By the way, I have never taste any Filipino food before, even the country is near to Malaysia. Never know it taste good, all the way to New York to taste it.

Elmhurst, Queen, New York - 3rd Chinatown

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Elmhurst is a complicated neighborhood in western Queens. It has come a long way since troubles in the 1980s, even longer since its colonial founding in the 1650s.
Elmhurst is the thriving home of families -- middle class and working class -- housed in a mix of older multi-family homes, and co-op and apartment buildings. Immigrants, especially from Asia and Latin America, have made Elmhurst the most diverse part of Queens. But despite economic revitalization and safe streets, illegal housing and rundown corners continue to blight the area.

Elmhurst is in western Queens. Roosevelt Avenue is the neighborhood's northern boundary with Jackson Heights. To the east is Corona at Junction Boulevard. Woodside is to the west along 74th Street and the LIRR tracks. Elmhurst dips south of Queens Boulevard to the Long Island Expressway (and Rego Park, Middle Village, and Maspeth). The area below Queens Boulevard, especially south of the LIRR tracks, is a sleepy area of row houses, multi-family homes. The neighborhood used to go further south to Eliot Avenue, but a zip code change added a sliver of "South Elmhurst" to Middle Village.

Elmhurst has the most subway options in Queens outside of Long Island City. Subways include the 7 train that runs local above Roosevelt Avenue, the express E and F at Broadway/74th Street, and the R, V trains that run local down Broadway and out along Queens Boulevard. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to reach Midtown Manhattan.

Home to the Queens Center Mall and the Queens Plaza Mall, Elmhurst's stretch of Queens Boulevard is one of the largest shopping districts in the borough.
Broadway, centered at Whitney, is a commercial heart of Newtown, especially for Chinese and Southeast Asian stores and restaurants. Under the elevated tracks of the 7 train along Roosevelt Avenue is another big commercial strip, shared with Jackson Heights, of Latino shops, clubs, bars, and restaurants.

For a real and calm neighborhood walk in Elmhurst, you can't beat the small shops and restaurants along prosperous Woodside Avenue, near Elmhust Hospital Center. The commercial district in Elmhurst along Broadway, especially near Whitney Avenue, is the home of a growing number of Asian and Southeast Asian businesses and restaurants. The greater Elmhurst neighborhood is one of the most diverse places in Queens, but most visible on the blocks along Broadway are shops catering to Thais, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesians, and other immigrants from East and Southeast Asia.

Elmhurst, another neighborhood in the borough of Queens, also has a large Chinese community. Previously a small area with Chinese shops on Broadway between 81st Street and Cornish Avenue, this newly evolved second Chinatown in Queens has now expanded to 45th Avenue and Whitney Avenue. Penang (Malaysian), which has branches in many U.S. cities, is located in the same complex on Broadway, just beside the LIRR bridge.

22/5/2010(Saturday)New York (2nd day)- Rochester

This is the second day in New York, but we need to rush to the downtown to catch a bus to Rochester. Mr Oon took us to the Megabus bus stop near the Penn Station,31st St. and 8th. Ave, depart at 12p.m to Rochester, New York State.

Mr Onn and Lingling was so kind they took us to Elmhurst downtown, the 3rd Chinatown, where there are many Chinese restaurants. They bought us some Chinese food for us, to eat during our long journey to Rochester. Beside the Chinese restaurant there is a Penang restaurant, where you can even order Ipoh white coffee....Thank you, Abang Onn...

We left New York at 12 p.m. We still don't really know New York, we only stay in Queen borough. The journey from Elmhurst to Manhattan is the first time we really see New York City. But as we just begin to know New York we have to leave her for Rochester. Our ultimate destination is Niagara Fall.

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