New York is the most populous city in the United States[9] and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world.[10][11][12] The city is referred to as New York City or the City of New York[13] to distinguish it from the State of New York, of which it is a part.[14]global power city,[15] New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters,[16] New York is an important center for international diplomacy[17] and has been described as the cultural capital of the world.[18]

Located on one of the world's largest natural harbors,[19] New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a state county.[20] The five boroughs—The BronxBrooklynManhattanQueens, and Staten Island—were consolidated into a single city in 1898.[21][22] With a Census-estimated 2011 population of 8,244,910[23] distributed over a land area of just 302.64 square miles (783.8 km2),[24][25][26] New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States.[27] As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.[28] The New York City Metropolitan Area's population is the United States' largest, with 18.9 million people distributed over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2),[29][30] and is also part of the most populous combined statistical area in the United States, containing 22.1 million people as of the 2010 Census.[31]

New York traces its roots to its 1624 founding as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic, and was named New Amsterdam in 1626.[32] The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664[32][33] and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, theDuke of York.[34][35] New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.[36] It has been the country's largest city since 1790.[37] TheStatue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries[38] and is a globally recognized symbol of the United States and its democracy.[39]

Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known to its approximately 50 million annual visitors.[40][41][42] Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World",[43][44][45][46][47] is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district,[48] one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections,[49][50] and a major center of the world's entertainment industry.[51] The city hosts many world renowned bridgesskyscrapers,[52] and parks. New York City's financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, functions as the financial capital of the world[53] and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies.[54] Manhattan's real estate market is among the most expensive in the world.[55] Manhattan's Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere.[56][57][58][59]Providing continuous 24/7 service,[60] the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive rapid transit systems in the world. Numerous colleges and universities are located in New York,[61] including Columbia UniversityNew York University, and Rockefeller University, which are ranked among the top 50 in the world.[62]