Hallinan 1 Brandon Hallinan ENC 1101 Professor Jones October 10, 2007 America’s Melting Pot It is the city that never sleeps. It is the Big Apple. It is what makes the Empire State, the Empire State. It is The City of New York. One of the leaders in business, finance, and culture, as well as a strong influence in politics, education, entertainment, fashion, and arts make New York City a major global city. The most populous city in the country, it is home to over 8 million Americans who refer to themselves as New Yorkers. These New Yorkers are people of all walks of life, having heritage from all over the world, living in one of New York’s five boroughs; Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and, of course, Manhattan. Each borough is rich in culture, heritage, and history, and has so much to offer. Only in New York City can you transfer seamlessly between one area responsible for an entire movement in literature and art to another area that brought rise to an entirely new genre of music. From the language, to the food, to the traditions, you would be hard pressed to find someone who has not been influenced by the mix of people that has been culminating for centuries. New York City truly is America’s cultural melting pot. As an outsider of New York City, you find yourself astonished by the commotion of what is going on around you. The sounds of people, cars, subways, sewers, and the atmosphere are almost overwhelming to a first timer. After the initial shock of being submerged into such energy, the next thing you may do is stretch your neck while marveling at the mere size and architectural beauty of the skyscrapers. After regaining your composure once again, you might Hallinan 2 be able to decipher the dialect of a typical New Yorker. Perhaps you pick up on some Italian, maybe a few words of Chinese, or quite possibly a combination of several different languages. At this point you are welcome to The City of New York. Manhattan skyline lit up at night. <http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/newyork/new-york-city.php> Chances are, you are in wonderful Manhattan, but what do you do first? Do you explore the rest of Manhattan? You want to see the Statue of Liberty of course. Maybe admire the lights of Times Square? There is plenty to do there. Perhaps you would rather take a stroll through the 50 blocks of Central Park? A peaceful walk will bring you back down to earth. What do you do in a city that has everything, yet you have no idea how to learn about it? The simple answer is to start at the bottom: Staten Island. You can come back to Manhattan later, save the best for last. So you rode the subway to South Ferry, after fighting your way through crowds, turnstiles, and the unpredictable closing of the subway doors. Obtaining your fairy tickets, you may have passed a few street performers, people selling paintings, and hustlers trying to make a few bucks off of fake merchandise. Being the smart traveler that you are, you avoid them and head straight for the screening tents to get on the ferry. The smell of salt water invades your nose and the sound of seagulls penetrates your ear drums and you embark on a peaceful ride across the water to Staten Island, passing by Ellis Island and Lady Liberty. Hallinan 3 With a population of only about 477, 377 people (Wikipedia 2007), you are standing on the North Shore of New York’s “forgotten borough.” The first thing noticeable about Staten Island is the lack of huge skyscrapers. Could this place really be interesting with so many suburban neighborhoods? Once you learn that Staten Island was used as a military installation for 200 years and that the central and south sections of the island once consisted of dairy farms it is evident to see just how much this borough has developed. Culture wise, 38 percent of the population is Italian, 16 percent Irish, and 6 percent German. People of a Hispanic origin make up 12 percent of the population. Blacks make up 10 percent, and Asians make up 6 percent (Wikipedia 2007). Even in a relatively laid-back borough of parks, residential neighborhoods, and museums, New York City’s cultural blend is already evident. Since you are on your way back to the ferry, why not take a trip into Brooklyn by crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge? Colonized by the Dutch in 1636, today Brooklyn incorporates people of all different backgrounds (Wikipedia 2007). Bay Ridge is mainly Italian and Irish (Wikipedia 2007). Sunset Park is inhabited by Latin Americans and Chinese (Wikipedia 2007). Bedford-Stuyvesant is home to the largest African-American community in New York (Wikipedia 2007). Williamsburg holds a population of Hasidic Jews and Greenpoint is a mix of Polish, German, Ukrainian, and Russian people (Wikipedia 2007). Although Brooklyn is rich in history and has many cultural museums, one of the things you may take notice on is the building styles. You quickly notice that one area of Brooklyn seems wealthy and right across the The 7 Train in Brooklyn with Manhattan in the background. Photo: Frank FranklinII/AP <http://www.internationalist.org/twutopscave051222.html> Hallinan 4 street looks poor. You see colorful graffiti. You hear a few kids reciting rhymes to a musical beat. Chances are you are in Bed-Stuy, a hot spot for hip-hop music, the birthplace of such artists like Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., and The Beastie Boys. Brick apartment buildings, basketball courts, and littered streets set the landscape. The grinding and rhythmic chugging of the subway, car horns in the distance, and muffled speech is what you hear. You feel like keeping your guard up, remaining aware of your surroundings, but at the same time, you feel eerily calm. So what is next? If you thought Brooklyn was ethnically diverse, head on over to Queens to see just how ethnically diverse a borough can be. Brooklyn flows seamlessly into the borough of Queens, both because of building structure and because of the people that you can find, so it can be hard to realize when you have left one and entered the other. Not only will you find the traditional brick apartments in Jackson Heights or sub-urban housing in Bayside, but you will also find populations of Italian, Irish, Polish, German, Greek, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Indian scattered throughout the borough (Wikipedia 2007). This is practically every race in the world all living in one area. Walking through the calm streets of Bayside you might hear English, Italian, and French. The industrial area of Long Island City might introduce you to Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Jamaica has an influence of French and Creole. Some areas such as Flushing and Ozone Park may speak with a mix of up to ten different languages. Make sure you bring along a dictionary translator when you go! The diversity of Queens is also responsible for different cultural developments such as Jazz, contemporary art, and hybrid restaurants. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald brought Jazz music into light during the 1940’s (Wikipedia 2007). The P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center is one of the oldest art institutions in the country, so if you are looking Hallinan 5 for some world class art, look no further. And if you are hungry, head to Astoria for a mix of Greek, Latin American, and Southeast Asian foods. Now that the taste of the world’s cuisine has quenched your thirst for cultural diversity, get ready for dessert in The Bronx. A borough of almost 1,400,000 people, its population is mainly Hispanic, African American, and White (Wikipedia 2007). The majority of the population comes from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and many countries of western Africa (Wikipedia 2007). Not all of The Bronx is the same though. In West Bronx you can find old tenement buildings and mansions. East Bronx has apartment complexes and family homes. South Bronx consists of tenement buildings, apartments, and over 50 percent of The Bronx’s housing projects (Wikipedia 2007). And if you are still in the mood for desert, South Bronx is where you will find it. The birthplace of hip-hop and a large influence on poetry, The Bronx is just as rich in culture as the other boroughs. In the Bronx Museum of the Arts, you will find more than 800 works of Africans, Latin Americans, and Asians (Wikipedia 2007). The poets Edgar Allan Poe and Ogden Nash found inspiration through living in The Bronx (Wikipedia 2007), maybe you can too. After stopping to contemplate a little on life, it is time to do what you came here to do: Manhattan. You are back to the beginning. Everything else was just to prepare you for the heart of New York City. The other boroughs only prepare you for the borough that attacks all your senses at the same time. You find yourself floating in a sea of people. The streets are flooded with automobiles. The mere sizes of the buildings make you feel only a few inches tall. With everything Crowded streets in NYC. <http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20060417/202/1 819> Hallinan 6 going on at the same time, it all seems like a blur. Can you keep your calm? You were exposed to all of this already. Think of Manhattan as a mix of a little bit of each of the boroughs you visited. A conglomeration of culture, you can find such places as Washington Heights, Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Upper West Side, Little Italy, and Chinatown that have a certain ethnicity of people. There are also some areas of Manhattan that seem like the whole world lives together. For example, there are the rolling hills and beautiful landscape of central park, or the flashing lights and glitzy glamour of Times Square. Coming out of The Bronx, you continue your cultural adventure by passing through Washington Heights. While walking down the street you hear many people speaking Spanish. This is because a large percent of the people in Washington Heights is Dominican. You also see groups of people standing around on a street corner or leaning up against the German and Dutch inspired buildings. The light smell of marijuana leads you to notice a patrolling police force. Car horns and police sirens tell you that you should continue on into Harlem. Responsible for a renaissance in music and literature in the 1920’s, Harlem has a large African American population. Like Washington Heights, you see people standing on street corners or gathered around bodegas. The concentration on Afro centricity is amazing with the number of African bookstores, African music clubs, and African restaurants you find. Walking along through the neighborhood, you notice some fairly new buildings standing next to other buildings that are condemned and burned out. These are signs of a neighborhood with a troubled past, but a better future. After walking for awhile, you think you are still in Harlem. Well, you are, in a sense. After walking a few more feet, you notice people of a Puerto Rican origin. You just entered Spanish Harlem. Although its looks are not much different from the Harlem you walked through Hallinan 7 previously, you do notice a bit of Italian influence in the names of several stores. You also see Korean, Haitian, and White people scattered throughout Spanish Harlem. After picking out the different cultures that you can find, you see a grass covered hill littered with huge boulders and decide to investigate. You are now in Central Park. Passing through Central Park you see New Yorkers from all over the world gathered here, enjoying the baseball fields, the zoo, the ice rink, or taking a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Walking south you marvel at abstract sculptures created by artists of all backgrounds. It is simply beautiful. Looking around, trying to decide if you should take this path or that one, you spot huge skyscrapers over the trees and head that way. As you get closer you hear the roar of people talking, the humming of so many car engines, and the ringing of what seems like a million cell phones. This must be the Upper West Side. People wearing suits are one of the first things you see in this area. Business buildings are the second thing. Synonymous with wealth and diversity, the Upper West Side is sort of a financial district where Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnicities work to make their living. Various restaurants like those found in Astoria, Queens line the streets. Again, you cannot find a distinct line that separates one culture from another. It is all a blur. The excitement, however, presses you to continue downtown through the labyrinth of skyscrapers. Lights, people, and action; you stumble into Times Square. Giant television screens, tall buildings that make your neck stretch, and watching out for cars that may run you over while crossing the street almost distract you from noticing all the people. Like the Upper West Side, you can find people from all over the world in Times Square shopping, eating, are enjoying the entertainment. No one notices you, but you notice everyone else. Not blinking once, you do not miss anything. You take it all in and savor the scent of diversity. You cannot stop here, though, Hallinan 8 you still have more of New York City to see, so go underground to the vast network of subways and ride it to Houston Street. Emerging from the city underground to the city above, something seems different. The buildings are still there, and the people too, but it seems calmer, which is perfectly fine. You are south of Houston, an area better known as SoHo. Little Italy and Chinatown are here, perfect for more cultural fulfillment. Little Italy is first. The aroma of pizza, pasta, and baked goods floats gently into your nose. People speaking with a heavy Italian accent are present. Think about classical opera music. Little Italy seems like an authentic slice of Italy in the middle of an urban environment. You remember movies like The Godfather. You accidentally bump into someone, and as you apologize, they respond, “Fo-get abat it.” Yes, this place is authentic. It is a shame Little Italy is only a few blocks long. Perhaps that is why it is called little. No matter though, you just entered the slice of Asia in Manhattan; Chinatown. Fish trucks, food stands, and colorful flags draped across the street make up Chinatown. It is much different from Little Italy. Huge billboards written in calligraphy are on every building. People speaking Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese crowd the streets. Many of them recently moved here from their home country, legally and illegally, so there are language barriers. Like Little Italy, Chinatown is also authentic in its culture. Oriental restaurants fill the neighborhood, personally grown foods are sold in stands on the sidewalk, and popular anime is sold in many stores. After travelling nearly 200 blocks in just Manhattan you are back in the Financial District in South Ferry, where your journey began. You have travelled each borough, learned its cultures, and seen what each one has to offer. You cannot even recall all the different ethnic groups you Hallinan 9 encountered on your trek through the country’s most populous city. African, Latino, Chinese, Italian, German, Indian, Korean, Haitian, Greek, and Russian; people from all backgrounds really do live in this city. If you were not the observant traveler that you are, you might have missed it and interpreted all as just a cultural blur, after all, many New Yorkers see themselves simply as New Yorkers. New Yorkers living in New York City; America’s cultural melting pot. Statue of Liberty. <http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/libe rty/> WC: 2,580 Hallinan 10 Annotated Bibliography “Destination 360.” 10 Oct 2007 <http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/newyork/new-york-city.php>. I used this website to obtain a picture of a bird’s eye view of Manhattan lit up at night. Hamill, Pete. "A Social Order Where Lines Blur and Cross Every Minute." New York Times Vol. 153 29 Aug 2004 3. Pg. 03 Oct 2007 <http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy.usf.edu/us/lnacademic/auth/checkbrowser.do?ipcounter=1&c ookieState=0&rand=0.32697241909612396&bhcp=1>. Vol. 153 29 Aug 2004 3. 03 Oct 2007 <http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy.usf.edu/us/lnacademic/auth/checkbrowser.do?ipcounter=1&c ookieState=0&rand=0.32697241909612396&bhcp=1>. This article talks about how New York City is the most culturally diverse city in the world. New York City is a place where you can find any ethnicity on the planet. The author of the article tells how one can walk through Manhatten and notice the transition of the class of people based on what kind of buildings are in the area. The author uses many examples to show that anyone in New York City can belong to any race and hold any job. It also talks about the transition of people being classified by their race to being collectively grouped as “New Yorkers.” Truly, New York City is a mixing pot for the worlds’ cultures where every culture blends together, yet at the same time retains its identity. "New York City." Wikipedia. 3 Oct 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City>. This lengthy Wikipedia entry provides information covering the history of the city, the geography of the city, the architecture of the city, the culture, the economy, demographics, government, education, and transportation. The entry also breaks down several of the topics into Hallinan 11 the boroughs of the city. The article also provides many various pictures of the city over the century. The article is also good in giving data tables on such topics as how the ethnicities of the city are broken down. The article does a good job of explaining different aspects of the city such as how cultures differ in the separate borough’s as well as suggesting idea’s for what to do in the city. At the end of the article, a long list of external links is given for information about the city to be used for further research. "NYC Visit." NYC Visit. 01 Jan 2006. NYC & Company, Inc. 3 Oct 2007 <http://www.nycvisit.com/>. This website is entirely dedicated to everything involving New York City. It allows a viewer to see what is new in the city and upcoming events. It also provides information on planning a trip to New York City, including hotels, shopping, and dining. As far as information on the culture of the city, there is not much. The website seems aimed more toward tourists who are thinking about coming to New York City. The site offers an adequate amount of information on some aspects of the city, but near enough to cover everything needed for this paper. "The History of New York City's Borough’s." essortment. 2002. Pagewise. 3 Oct 2007 <http://pa.essortment.com/newyorkcitybo_rvdk.htm>. The web page gives an overview of each of the borough’s that make up New York City. The information on each borough includes when it was established, where it is in the city, and how many people populate each borough. Background information is also given on how each of the boroughs acquired their names. A few landmarks that can be found in each of the boroughs Hallinan 12 are also listed. This web page is an excellent resource into what kind of people can be found in each borough as well as what the culture of each borough is. “Wired New York.” 10 Oct 2007 <http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/>. I used this website to obtain a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Yaro, Robert. "Finding Space for a Million More New Yorkers." Gothem Gazette 11 Jul 2005 10 Oct 2007 <http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20060417/202/1819>. Good picture of a group of people crowding the city streets. Hallinan 13 Works Cited “Destination 360.” 10 Oct 2007 <http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/newyork/new-york-city.php> "New York City." Wikipedia. 3 Oct 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City>. "The History of New York City's Borough’s." essortment. 2002. Pagewise. 3 Oct 2007 <http://pa.essortment.com/newyorkcitybo_rvdk.htm>. “Wired New York.” 10 Oct 2007 <http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/>. Yaro, Robert. "Finding Space for a Million More New Yorkers." Gothem Gazette 11 Jul 2005 10 Oct 2007 <http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20060417/202/1819>.