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The first playhouse opened in New York in 1742.

In 1747 an assembly of newly independent American former colonies met at New York. It imposed duties on imported foreign goods, to protect the United States' own products and industries and to raise revenue for a new government.

The Statue of Liberty, in New York harbour, was a gift from France to the USA in 1884, and unveiled in 1886. The statue is 36 metres high and weighs 204 tonnes. Steps and a lift go up inside the steel skeleton to the torch. The Chrysler Building was built in the Art Deco style, which became popular in the 1920s and influenced building design between 1925 and 1935. Inside, geometric shapes, bright colour schemes and man-made materials, such as plastics and chrome, were used. Art Deco was influenced by the Bauhaus school of art. People made buildings taller because space was limited and land prices were high. The New York skyline kept changing throughout the 1920s as ever taller buildings were constructed. The Empire State Building, opened in 1931, towered above them all at a height of 381 metres. It has 102 floors, and took just under 14 months to build. The top of the building bends about 1 metre in high winds; it is crowned by a 68 metre television aerial. The United Nations' headquarters building was built in 1951. When the Manhattan skyscrapers were erected, red-hot rivets were driven into holes in narrow steel beams hundreds of metres up in the air with nothing beneath. Iroquois and Mohawk Indians show no fear of heights and have put up many of these skyscrapers. Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) was one of the major architects of his time and designed the Seagram Building. The second tallest building in the world today is the World Trade Center (1973) at 417 metres, surpassing the Empire State Building by 36 metres. The Chrysler Building is the seventh tallest at 319 metres. New York also boasts the world's largest station in the Grand Central Terminal, which has 44 platforms.

Today New York is the third most populated city in North America, with 8,456,846 inhabitants, or 16.158 million if the entire metropolitan area is counted. In 1950 the entire population of the metropolitan area of New York was 12.4 million; in 1970, 16.2 million; and in 1990, 16.1 million.

In 1984 New York hosted the Paralympics.

New York has one of the world's key stock exchanges, and uses the Dow-Jones index.

The borough of Manhattan is the heart of New York and contains the city's major businesses and cultural institutions. The Stock Exchange and the rest of the financial sector is on Wall Street; the World Trade Center is on the island too. Times Square, named after the building formerly occupied by The New York Times, is there, as are Greenwich Village, the haunt of students and artists; the theatres of Broadway; and a multitude of museums. Central Manhattan is laid out as a grid of numbered streets. The smartest shops, as well as the aforementioned Empire State Building, are on Fifth Avenue, and Central Park lies between 59th Street and 110th Street. The residential area of Harlem lies to the north of Central Park. New York's other four boroughs are Brooklyn and Queens, both on Long Island, and the Bronx and Staten Island. The Brooklyn Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge when it opened in 1883, spans the East River and connects Brooklyn to Manhattan.

New York's nickname, 'The Big Apple', which was both a dance and a Harlem night club, was probably coined by jazz musicians in the 1930s. It was adopted in the 1970s as a slogan to promote the city.

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