New York City
New York City is, by any definition, among the most famous and important cities in the world. We just happen to live here.
Founded in 1625 as New Amsterdam, a company town of the Dutch East India Company. Switched to municipal government (as opposed to a company outpost) in 1653. Turned over to an English fleet under the command of Colonel Nicoll in 1664 and renamed New York. Hasn't been the same since.
The city comprises five boroughs, which are administrative units below the city level. They are:
- Manhattan, our island, containing most "iconic" New York things. Sometimes people in the rest of the city (the "outer boroughs") refer to it as "the City".
- The Bronx, north of Manhattan and mostly poor
- Brooklyn, once poor but rapidly gentrifying with hipsters
- Queens, filled with lots of diverse immigrant neighborhoods
- Staten Island, a suburban wasteland similar to New Jersey
Columbia has a number of ways in which it helps you take advantage of the city's wealth of cultural riches.
- Arts Initiative at Columbia University
- Urban New York
- SEAS New York
- The Columbia Guide to New York
- College Activities Office (Barnard)
New York City Traditions
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - If you're not at home for Thanksgiving day, go watch the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. For the less touristy excursion, head to the Museum of Natural History on Wednesday afternoon and evening to watch the inflation of the massive parade balloons.
- Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting - Not worth it; no matter how early you go, the crowd will be such that you'll never see the tree. Stay by your TV.
- Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop - Bundle up, it gets really cold.
- Barnum and Bailey Circus Elephant Walk - Each year when the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to Madison Square Garden between March and April, the elephants march into Manhattan via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, making for a public spectacle. It also draws the ire of animal rights groups.
- Macy's Fireworks Spectacular - If you're in the city for the summer, catch the Fourth of July fireworks show on the East River. Crowds start filling the grandstands early in the afternoon.
- Village Halloween Parade - Take part in, or just watch the annual Village Halloween parade, an annual tradition since 1974.