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New York: the city that never sleeps
Brooklyn Bridge (Photos: Saim Orhan)
We head off on our journey to New York from İstanbul. It’s a long trip; the flight between İstanbul and New York is a full 10 hours and 45 minutes.
New York City Attractions
Luckily, it’s a direct flight with no tiresome transfers involved. Not only are there direct flights, but Turkish Airlines now offers three flights a day between these two cities. We arrive in New York at John F. Kennedy International Airport. New York City is composed of five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Americans call New York “The Big Apple.” This important American city is also known as the “city that never sleeps.”
New York lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. One could say that just as İstanbul is the cultural capital of Turkey, New York City occupies the same position in the US. And of course, New York City has been the topic of countless songs, poems, novels and films. It is a city we see more than just a glimpse of — its boulevards, parks, restaurants, people, buildings — when we watch films and TV series. The population of New York City is around 8 million people, which makes it the most populous city in the US. It is a world which never goes quiet, whether you are hearing sirens from firefighting trucks, police cars or ambulances or some other seemingly non-stop noise from this bustling metropolis.
New York’s first name: New Amsterdam
The heart of New York City is Manhattan, which is an island that runs 22 kilometers in length and three kilometers wide. Dutch colonists who arrived here many centuries ago bought the island from local Native Americans in 1626 for some beads whose worth was around $24. One hint of these first Dutch settlers is that New York’s first name was actually New Amsterdam. And of course, who could have known that this spot was to become one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world? Land prices as well as rentals are extraordinarily expensive in New York, especially in Manhattan. This fact is reflected in that spending the night in even the most basic of hotels costs at least $250. More luxurious trappings begin at $350 a night.
New York sightseeing
The Hudson River lies between New York and New Jersey. This river connects to the Atlantic Ocean. Across from us, we can see the skyscrapers of New Jersey rising into the air. New Jersey and New York are of course two different states. In the US, there are federal laws and then state laws. Traffic laws, for example, are state laws and can thus change from state to state. There are many other examples like this.
New York is such a cosmopolitan city; people from all over the world live here, with different languages, religions, customs, traditions and colors. It is not for nothing that New York is referred to as a “melting pot.” New York is also a very cultural city, with many museums, theaters and concert halls. People who live in New York are called New Yorkers. Famously, New Yorkers walk, talk and think very quickly. A much-used expression in New York is “time is money.” This explains the rush you see with people around here; everyone trying to use time to the best of their efforts. Life can be so rushed here that you notice people eating standing up. Lunchtime is the best time to witness this.
One of the best spots from which to look out over Manhattan is from Brooklyn Heights. People who are lucky enough to live here can look out and see not only the water but also the unforgettable Manhattan skyline. No need to mention that housing prices here are very high!
We arrive in Manhattan’s Time Square. This is not only the most famous city square in New York, but really in all of the US. Times Square is surrounded by skyscrapers and is never lacking in tourists, no matter the season. In the evenings in particular, this square turns into a sound and light show. Times Square takes its name from the fact that the building which used to house the New York Times newspaper used to be located here. Now it is more known for its splendid buildings, its entertainment spots and its halls hosting Broadway shows.
Perhaps the best time to take a tour of Times Square is in the evening. This is because the buildings that surround the square are covered in enormous lit screens and billboards. Digital, and featuring incredible animation, these screens light up the world here and draw lots of people to take in their wonder in the evening hours. Almost everyone here seems to have either a camera or a video recorder in their hands. In fact, Times Square seems to symbolize the entire reason New York City is referred to as the “city that never sleeps.”
Festivities at Time Square
Of course, famously, there are huge New Year’s Eve celebrations that take place in New York’s Times Square. On New Year’s Eve, the place is incredibly crowded and security is high. As it is, you see police all over the place in Times Square, always on the lookout for crime in the busiest and most famous city square in the US.
After a look around Times Square, we head for the famous Fifth Avenue. This is New York City’s most well known and prominent thoroughfare, lined with countless famous storefronts. People shopping here have a good time just walking and taking in the sights. Fifth Avenue is also New York’s longest boulevard and it is always crowded. Tourists in particular are enamored with Fifth Avenue; a meal eaten here or some shoes bought here are special in their own right for a visitor to New York!
Travelling to New York City
Manhattan boasts a very special city planning behind it. The boulevards and avenues all cross one another and, with a few exceptions, are completely straight. Everything is very well planned out and even, which makes finding addresses surprisingly easy. Interestingly, the carefully planned streets and the skyscrapers that grace them work together to ensure that the city gets a lot of air circulation. It is as though the city is always breathing.
We can’t help noticing Bryant Park at the point where Fifth Avenue meets 42nd Street. This park lies in the middle of the city and is also a place that hosts countless concerts and similar events. People here can be seen just sitting and reading books, listening to a concert or perhaps eating lunch. It is a park that allows people to create their own private worlds as they wish. And it provides a spot away from all the noise and chaos of the extraordinary world whizzing around them.
New York City map
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