Day Fourteen

When I got up in the morning, it was already an expanse of whiteness outside the window. There were very few pedestrians in the street, and once in a while some people were seen clearing away the thick snow in front of their own houses. On the road the vehicles went to and fro from time to time, interspersed with the whistles of police cars. New York City slowly woke up in the biggest snowstorm so far.

People outside the United States often mistake New York City for the capital city of New York State. As a matter of fact, the capital city of New York State is not New York City, but Albany we have been to the other day. Well, let's learn something about New York City (NYC) first.

NYC is located on the Eastern Atlantic coast of the United States, at the mouth of the Hudson River. NYC is made of five boroughs separated by various waterways. Brooklyn and Queens occupy the western portion of Long Island, while Staten Island and Manhattan are completely on their own land mass. Bronx, to the north, remains attached to the New York State mainland. The city covers an area of 828.8 km2. The population of the city proper is over 7,000,000 and that of the Greater New York is as big as 18,000,000.

Manhattan Island is the core of NYC. It covers the smallest area of the five boroughs, only 57.91 km2, but the island, narrow from east to west and long from north to south north, is the banking center of the United States. Over one third of the 500 biggest American companies have established their headquarters in Manhattan. Six out of seven leading banks and each of the giant monopolies have set up offices here. Besides, here also gathered the cream of the world's industries such as finance, securities, futures and insurance etc. Wall Street, located in the south of Manhattan, symbolizes the wealth and the economic power of the United States, and it is also a synonym of the American monopoly capital headquarters and the financial oligarchs. On both sides of the 540-meter-long narrow street there are more than 2,900 financial and foreign trade agencies. The famous New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange are both based here.

NYC is a city with a forest of skyscrapers. Building representatives are the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center and the World Trade Center (WTC was attacked by terrorists and tumbled down on September 11, 2001. The ruin is called Ground Zero). NYC is also the center for American culture, art, music and publishing industry. There are numerous museums, galleries, libraries, scientific research institutes and art centers in NYC. The three major American television broadcasting nets and the headquarters of some important newspapers, magazines and news agencies are all based here.

That is the NYC in the general introduction. Different from what we have seen in remote Pine Plains, NYC is a busy city. Everywhere in the street and in the subway, you can see people walking quickly with briefcases under their arms. Every one of them is afraid of falling behind others. NYC has given the impression that everyone seems to be on the go for a living.

In NYC you cannot see the leisure in Pine Plains, nor the honesty of the Pine Plains people and, moreover, you cannot even savored their enthusiasm. Our American friends often reminded us to watch our pockets carefully. So, whenever we walked in the street of NYC, we would become more alert than ever.

Of course, the American courtesy can still be seen everywhere. For example, very few pedestrians are seen quarreling in the street of NYC. When walking in the street, people are friendly and polite to each other. When you step into a store or a hotel, the person who walks in front of you will offer to hold the swing door open for you and, as a result, you will feel impelled to hold the door for the person behind you.