Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/New York (city)
NEW YORK, a city in southern New York; coextensive with New York, Bronx, Kings, Queens, and Richmond counties; on New York Bay, the Hudson and East rivers, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean; the first city in the United States in population and commercial importance, second in the world in population, and first in commercial importance; connected with all parts of the world by railroads and steamship lines; 232 miles S. W. of Boston, 915 miles E. of Chicago, and 226 miles N E. of Washington; area, 326,9 square miles; pop. (1890) 2,607,414; (1900) 3,437,202; (1910) 4,776,883; (1920) 5,620,048.
Topography.—The city is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, consisting of Manhattan Island, Governor's Island, Bedloe's Island, Ellis Island, Blackwell's Island, Randall's Island, Ward's Island, and Oyster Island; Bronx, consisting of all that portion of the city lying N. or E. of the Harlem river, between the Hudson and the East rivers and Long Island Sound, including City, Traver's, Hart's and Riker's Islands; Brooklyn, consisting of the former city of Brooklyn, and all of King's county; Queens, including the present county of that name; and Richmond, consisting of Staten Island.
The main body of the city, situated on Manhattan Island, is bounded by Spuyten Duyvil creek, and the Harlem river, separating it from the mainland of the State, the East river. New York Bay, and the Hudson river. The island was originally very rough, with a rocky ridge running from the S. extremity, N. and branching into several spurs. These unite at a distance of several miles, culminating in Washington Heights, 230 feet above the water, and in a bold promontory 130 feet high in the extreme N. In the S. the surface consisted of many places of alluvial sand deposits and swamps. The original surface is disappearing by the constant grading and filling in, by the improvement of old, and construction of new streets.
Street Plan.— At the S. end of Manhattan Island is the Battery, a park of 21 acres having a fine water front. Running N. from the Battery is Broadway, the principal business street. At 10th street, Broadway turns N. W., and finally merges into 11th avenue. The streets in the S. part of the city are narrow, crooked and irregularly laid out, but, beginning with 13th street, they become regular, crossing each other at right angles; the cross streets are numbered, as are also most of the avenues running N. and S.
Parks.—The public parks of New York City are very numerous and well kept. The total acreage of parks in 1920 was 7,807, distributed as follows: 1,487 in Manhattan, 3,929 in the Bronx, 1,300 in Brooklyn, 1,175 in Queens, and 63 in Richmond. The larger parks are, Central Park, 840 acres, in Manhattan; Bronx Park, 719 acres, and Van Cortlandt Park, 1,132 acres, in the Bronx, and Prospect Park, in Brooklyn (q. v.). Central Park contains about 30 buildings, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the old United States Arsenal; two extensive reservoirs, numerous lakes, and children's playgrounds. The Bronx Park contains a botanical garden, and a large reservation, used as a zoological garden. Van Cortlandt Park is an extensive stretch of rural country, containing a large skating pond, baseball fields, golf links, and a militia parade ground. The numerous other parks, scattered about the city include, City Hall Park, containing the Postoffice and City Hall; Riverside Park, extending several miles along the Hudson river and containing the tomb of General Grant, and Morningside Park, situated on a high ridge E. of Riverside and adjoining the buildings of Columbia University, the new cathedral of St. John the Divine, and St. Luke's Hospital. Parkways connect Van Cortlandt Park with Bronx Park, Pelham Bay Park and Crotona Park. In Brooklyn, Ocean Parkway extends from Prospect Park to Coney Island. The Speedway, a public road for fast driving, 100 feet wide, extends for a distance of two miles along the foot of the bluff on the W. bank of the Harlem river.
Notable Buildings.—Among the public buildings is the City Hall, 216 by 105 feet, and three stories high, a marble edifice in the Italian style, completed in 1812 at a cost of $500,000. In the rear of the City Hall is the Court House and to the east the Municipal Building. The City Prison and Hall of Records are noted for their fine architecture. New York is noted for the number and height of its office buildings. Among the more prominent of these are the Woolworth Building, 792 feet; Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, 700 feet; Singer Building, 612 feet; Municipal Building, 560 feet; Adams Building, American Bank Note Building, American Express Building, American Surety Buildings Bankers' Trust Building, Biltmore Hotel, Candler Building, City Investing Building, Columbia Trust Company, Equitable Building, Hanover National Bank Building, Liberty Tower, McAlpin Hotel, Park Row Building, Pulitzer Building, St. Paul Building, Times Building, Western Union Building, Whitehall Building, World's Tower, all over 300 feet high.
New York is also noted for the number and magnificence of its hotels. Among the most prominent are the Ambassador, Astor, Belmont, Biltmore, Brevoort, Chatham, Commodore, Gotham, McAlpin, Majestic, Murray Hill, Netherland, Park Avenue, Pennsylvania, Plaza, Prince George, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Savoy, Vanderbilt, Waldorf-Astoria, and many others. There are also many so-called apartment hotels, combining the features of apartment houses and hotels. The Bossert, St. George, and Margaret, in Brooklyn, are also famous. Some of the more important clubs are the Aero, Aldine, Army and Navy, Automobile, Bankers, Calumet, Catholic, City, Colony, Columbia University, Engineers, Harmonie, Harvard, India House, International Sporting, Knickerbocker, Lambs, Lawyers, Lotos, Metropolitan, New York, New York Athletic, New York Yacht, Press, Princeton, Progress, Racquet and Tennis, Railroad, Rocky Mountain, St. Nicholas, Salmagundi, Three Arts, Union, Union League, University, Whitehall, and Yale in Manhattan, and the Crescent Athletic, Hamilton, and Montauk Clubs in Brooklyn.
There are over 100 theaters and music halls in the city, including the Metropolitan Opera House, the Manhattan Opera House, the Carnegie Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden.
Municipal Improvements.—The city is lighted by gas and electricity at a cost of over $3,000,000 per year. The water-works system, owned by the city, cost $330,175,000, and has a capacity of 955,000,000 gallons per day, and an average consumption of 616,000,000 gallons. There are 3,548 miles of streets, of which 2,226 miles are paved; 2,290 miles of sewers; and 3,003 miles of water mains. The annual cost of cleaning streets and removing garbage averages $6,700,000; of maintaining fire department, $8,640,000; and police, almost $20,000,000. The city government is maintained at a cost of $246,190,000 per annum, and the annual death rate is 12.4 per 1,000.
Churches and Charities.—In 1920 there were over 1,500 churches of all denominations in the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, including Roman Catholic, Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jewish, Lutheran, Reformed, Congregational, and many other denominations. The Reformed Church is the oldest in the city, and dates from 1628. The Protestant Episcopal is next in age, and Trinity is the oldest and wealthiest parish, maintaining several chapels; St. Paul's, St. John's, Trinity Chapel, St. Chrysostom's, St. Augustine's, St. Agnes, etc. The first Presbyterian Church was founded in 1719 in Wall street, and is now at Fifth avenue and 11th street. The Protestant Epicopal Cathedral on Morningside Heights and the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Fifth avenue and 50th street are among the more prominent churches in the city.
The hospitals in New York are among the finest in the world. In the various boroughs there are about 200 hospitals and dispensaries, prominent among which are Bellevue, Hahnemann, New York Homeopathic, New York Polyclinic, Roosevelt, New York, Presbyterian, and St. Luke's Hospital. There are some 175 asylums and homes, and many benevolent societies.
Education.—The department of education is conducted by a board of 7 members appointed by the mayor. This board has the care and control of all property of the city used for school purposes, and supervises the various executive officers of the department. The Board of Education appoints a City Superintendent for a term of six years. He is the chief executive officer of the board, conducting the business of the department in accordance with its regulations. At the end of the school year 1919-1920 the enrolment in public schools was 908,467; and the number of teachers 21,853. There were about 550 public school buildings and the annual cost of maintaining public schools was over $42,500,000. For higher education there were 25 public high schools, many private secondary schools, the College of the City of New York, the College of St. Francis Xavier, Columbia University, Manhattan College, New York University, Fordham University at Fordham, Normal College of the City of New York, Teachers' College, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Adelphi College, St. Francis College, St. John's College in Brooklyn, Packer Collegiate Institute, Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary, General Theological Seminary, etc. The medical schools are the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York University Medical School, Cornell University Medical School, New York Homeopathic Medical College, New York Medical College for Women, and the Post Graduate Medical School. There are also the New York Dental College and the New York College of Pharmacy. The art schools include the Art Students' League, the Academy of Design, the art school of Cooper Union, and many private schools. There are also numerous schools of music.
Libraries and Periodicals.—The libraries of the city are very extensive. The Astor Library in Lafayette place, the Lenox Library in Fifth avenue, and the Tilden Library were consolidated in 1901, under the title of New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. This library stands upon the site of the old reservoir at Fifth avenue and 42d street, and has over 2,500,000 books. Among the many other libraries of importance are the Mercantile, Society, Apprentices', Cooper Union, Columbia University, New York City, New York Historical Society, and the Brooklyn libraries. There are law libraries in the postoffice building, at the Bar Association, at the Equitable Life Insurance Company, the New York Law Institute Library, etc. In 1901 Mr. Andrew Carnegie presented the city with $5,200,000 for the purpose of erecting libraries. This gift is to be used for the erection of 65 branch library buildings in various parts of the city. In 1920 there were about 100 daily newspapers, including morning, evening, and Sunday editions, and many hundred weekly, monthly, and quarterly periodicals of every kind.
Banking.—On Sept. 12, 1919, there were reported 36 National banks, with $133,700,000 capital; many State banks; cFver 50 savings banks, with over $1,500,000,000 in savings deposits; numerous safe deposit companies and trust companies. The exchanges at the United States clearing house in New York City, during the year ending Sept. 30, 1920, aggregated $252,338,249,000; an increase over those of the preceding year of $37,634,000,000. There is a Federal Reserve Bank with 47 members.
Commerce.—The imports of merchandise at the port of New York, during the year ending June, 1920, aggregated in value $2,904,648,933; exports, $3,383,638,588. Over one-half the import, and almost one-half the export trade of the United States, is carried on through this port. New York has steamship communications with the entire civilized world, with over 100 steamship lines. The city is connected with the W. of the United States by several trunk line railroads, including the Erie, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, Baltimore and Ohio, and New York Central; and with the Great Lakes district by the Hudson river and Erie canal for eight months of the year. About three-fourths of the immigrants entering the United States land at New York, the immigrant station at Ellis Island having accommodations for 10,000 per day. There are numerous exchanges in the city, the largest being the Produce Exchange, the largest in the world. It was organized in 1861 and has a limited membership of 3,000. Other exchanges are the Stock Exchange, Maritime Exchange, Consolidated, Cotton, Metal and Mercantile Exchanges. The New York Chamber of Commerce, chartered in 1770, is the oldest commercial corporation in the country and has a membership of about 800.
Transportation.—New York City has upward of 100 street railway lines equipped with electricity. The elevated railways in Manhattan and the Bronx are united under one management, the Manhattan Railway Company, controlled by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, with four lines running N. and S. There are several elevated lines in Brooklyn, all under the Brooklyn Heights Railroad Company. Four of these begin at the bridge. In recent years the subway system, in Manhattan and Bronx as well as in Brooklyn, has been greatly extended, and in 1920 the Interborough Subway lines alone carried over 586,000,000 passengers. The subway system was built partly with public funds and is operated by the Interborough and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit companies. In spite of its tremendous expansion it is still insufficient for the needs of the city, and partly as a result of war conditions its financial condition in recent years has been insecure and unsatisfactory. The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co. went into the hands of a receiver in 1918, and the majority of the surface lines in Manhattan, all those operated by the New York Railways Company, met a like fate.
There are over 600 miles of subway and “L” tracks in the city, of which 361 miles are Interborough lines, and 258 are Brooklyn Rapid Transit lines. The Interborough subway roads total 222 miles; the Manhattan “L” system, 139 miles. The Interborough subway roads have cost over $300,000,000; the Brooklyn Rapid Transit subway roads over $193,000,000. The Interborough's share of the cost has been over $148,000,000, including $48,000,000 the company spent on the first East river tubes and the extension to Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, Brooklyn. The city has put up the rest of the cost of the Interborough subways. Of the cost of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit subways the company has borne over $69,000,000; the city, over $124,000,000. Under the dual system of rapid transit all of the lines operated by the Interborough and the Consolidated Railroad Co. (the latter a Brooklyn Rapid Transit subsidiary), including the first subway and the elevated lines of the two systems are combined in two great operating units covering four of the five boroughs. Each company has lines which operate through the so-called community center of the city, namely the section of Manhattan Island below 59th street. New York's original subway, operated by the Interborough, now denoted the First Subway, is an integral part of the dual system. But under the operating conditions scheduled for the new lines it will lose its identity and be merged for operating purposes with other lines assigned under the dual agreements to the Interborough. The dual system was created when the city, through the Public Service Commission, on March 19, 1913, entered into an agreement (the dual contracts) with the Interborough and the Municipal Railway Corporation (the latter a Brooklyn Rapid Transit subsidiary), providing for the construction and operation of new lines and extensions.
Electric cars connect with all the suburbs and many places on Long Island, Westchester county, and western Connecticut. There are ferry lines connecting with Brooklyn, Jersey City, Weehawken, Staten Island, Hoboken, Long Island City, and other cities and islands about the city. There are steamship lines connecting with over 140 points on the Hudson river, the Atlantic coast, Long Island, and the bay. Manhattan is united with Brooklyn by the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges, and with Queens by the Queensboro Bridge. There is also the Hell Gate Bridge, connecting the Pennsylvania and New York, New Haven and Hudson River railroad systems. Both the Hudson and the East rivers have been tunneled, the former in connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad terminal and the Hudson and Manhattan railroad system, and the latter in connection with the Long Island Railroad and the subways to Brooklyn and Long Island City. A new tunnel for vehicular traffic between Manhattan and New Jersey is to be built.
Manufactures.—The manufacturing interests of New York City are extensive and varied, and are nearly as important as her commerce. According to the last census of manufactures (1914), New York City was the leading manufacturing center of the United States, both in respect to the number of establishments and to the value of the products. There were in 1914 almost 30,000 establishments, with an average number of wage earners exceeding 550,000 and a value of products exceeding $2,250,000,000. The most important industries were the manufacture of clothing, printing and publishing, meat packing, the manufacture of foundry and machine shop products, tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, millinery and lace goods, fur goods, shirts, furniture, men's furnishing goods, electrical apparatus and supplies, pianos, etc.
Finance.—On Jan. 1, 1920, the total funded gross debt of New York City was $1,238,260,597. There was $204,382,238 in the sinking fund, leaving a net funded debt of $1,033,878,359. The interest on the city debt amounted to almost $50,000,000. The assessed valuation of property for the entire city was $8,428,322,753 for real estate property and $362,412,780 for personal property. The Borough of Manhattan led with an assessment of over $5,000,000,000 for real estate and almost $300,000,000 for personal property; Brooklyn, with over $1,850,000,000 for real estate and almost $45,000,000 for personal property, being in the second place.
Government.—The first charter of Greater New York went into effect Jan. 1, 1898, but has been amended at various times since then. The present charter of the city in its main features is that of 1901, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1902. Under this charter the city is governed by a mayor, elected every four years, a comptroller, also elected every four years, and a Board of Aldermen consisting of 67 members, elected every two years. At the head of the latter body is the President of the Board of Aldermen, elected every four years. For purposes of local administration the city is divided into five boroughs, each of which having a president, elected every four years. The executive power of the city is vested in the mayor, the presidents of the boroughs, and the officers of the departments, which latter are appointed by the mayor, with the exception of the head of the department of finance, and the comptroller, an elective office. The mayor has also the power of appointment of the Board of City Magistrates. The legislative power of the city is vested in the Board of Aldermen. The mayor has the power of veto for all ordinances and resolutions of the Board of Aldermen. There are departments of Public Markets; Plants and Structures; Fire; Police; Tenement Houses; Law; Taxes and Assessments; Health; Water Supply, Gas and Electricity; Correction; Docks and Ferries; Parks; Licenses; Street Cleaning; and Public Charity. Each of these is headed by a commissioner, appointed by the mayor. There are also various boards, the most important of which are the Board of Education; the Board of Estimate and Apportionment; the Board of City Record; the Board of Elections; etc.
History.—In 1609 the Island of Manhattan was first visited by Hendrik Hudson, who ascended the river which bears his name. In 1613 Adrian Block, a merchant, arrived and built four houses. In 1623 a Dutch colony was established and in 1626, Peter Minuit, the governor, bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for $24 in trinkets. This colony was known as New Amsterdam, and passed into the possession of the English in 1664, and was named New York. In 1673 the town surrendered to a Dutch squadron, but was given back a year later by treaty. Sir Edmund Andros, the first English governor was overthrown in 1689, and Leisler, the leader of the progressive party usurped the government until 1691, when he was hanged for treason. There were uprisings of slaves in 1712 and 1741, but these were suppressed by cruelty. In 1765 the Stamp Act Congress met in New York City, and voted a Declaration of Rights. In 1774 a cargo of tea was sent back to England and another thrown overboard, and on April 3, 1775, the colonial assembly adjourned. The city was held by the Continental militia till Aug. 26, 1776, when forced to withdraw by the British who held the city till Nov. 25, 1783. Washington was inaugurated the first time in New York City, April 30, 1789. In 1805, the first free school was opened; in 1807 the first steamboat voyage to Albany was made, and in 1825 the Erie canal was opened. The city was visited by a cholera epidemic in 1832, and again in 1834, 1849, and 1854; by a disastrous fire in 1835; and a financial panic in 1837, the bread riots occurring in that year. In 1853 the Crystal Palace Industrial Exhibition took place, and in 1863 occurred the draft riot caused by the enforcement of the military draft. The city supplied the Union army with 116,382 troops for the Civil War. The Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883; and the Bartholdi Statue unveiled in 1886. The celebration of the centennial of Washington's inauguration took place in 1889; and the Columbian celebration in 1892 and 1893. In 1897 a new charter was adopted consolidating New York, Brooklyn, Queens county, Staten Island, and the Bronx, as the city of Greater New York. This charter went into effect Jan. 1, 1898, and was amended by the legislature in 1901, and, in respect to certain portions, at various other times.
|Photo, Ewing Galloway|
|WEST STREET, CITY OF NEW YORK, SAID TO BE THE BUSIEST|
WATERFRONT STREET IN THE WORLD
|Photo, U. S. Air Service|
|A VIEW OF GOVERNOR'S ISLAND, HARBOR OF NEW YORK|
|Photo, U. S. Air Service|
|THE IMMIGRATION STATION ON ELLIS ISLAND, NEW YORK|