sorry mother nature, your earthquakes and hurricanes are no match for the power of the five boroughs of new york city


August 23: earthquake. August 28: hurricane. Good try Mother Nature, but if you listen closely, you will hear the raspberries of more than eight million people – all directed at you. Score Card: New York City: 2, Mother Nature: 0.

Now, New York City, the home of the flyingnorthblog international headquarters, has had it’s share of man-made tragedies [think ten years ago], but we have pulled through that as well. The largest city in the U.S. by a long-shot [Los Angeles, the number two most populous city, has a population of less than four million people], if you haven’t yet been here, you are missing one of the most interesting and unique cities on the globe.

Thanks to various net resources too many to mention, here are some fun facts about New York City:

New York City was briefly [1789-90] the U.S. capital and was state capital until 1797. By 1790 it was the largest U.S. city, and the opening [1825] of the Erie Canal, linking New York with the Great lakes, led to even greater expansion.

There are five boroughs that constitute the city, incorporated in 1898.

Giovanni da Verazzano may have been the first European to explore the region, and Henry Hudson visited it, but Dutch settlements truly began the city. In 1624 the town of New Amsterdam was established on lower Manhattan; Peter Minuit [as the story goes] bought the island from its Native American inhabitants for about $24 worth of trinkets. In 1664 the English seized the colony and renamed it after the Duke of York; during the American Revolution the British held it from 1776 to 1781.

Brooklyn was settled 1636, and chartered as part of New York City in 1898. The largest of New York’s five boroughs, it has diverse industries and a waterfront handling foreign and domestic commerce. From Dutch and Walloon settlements it became the village of Brooklyn Ferry [1816] and the city of Brooklyn [1834], absorbing settlements like Flatbush and Gravesend as it grew; it became the third largest U.S. city [1855].

Queens is named for Queen Catherine of Braganza [1638-1705], the wife of King Charles II of England [1630-1685]. Queens was one of the original counties of New York, formed in 1683, by the British. It included the land that is now Queens and Nassau counties and part of Suffolk. Adjoining Brooklyn was named King County in honor of King Charles II. From 1664 to 1683 the British had administered the territory that would be Queens as part of colonial Yorkshire, which included Staten Island, Long Island, and Westchester. Prior to 1664 the Dutch had the area as part of the New Netherlands.  Currently, more languages are spoken in the borough of Queens, than in any other area in the United States, as approximately 138 languages are spoken there.

The Bronx.
The name comes from Jonas Bronck, who purchased the land from Native Americans in 1639. As it was customary to say, “Let’s go to the Bronk’s farm,” the name morphed to the “Bronx.” New York City acquired the Bronx, which had been the lower portion of Westchester co., in two stages in 1874 and 1895. With the consolidation of New York City in 1898 it became a separate borough. The Bronx is the only part of New York City on the mainland of the United States.

Staten Island.
The island was originally discovered by 16th century Florentine explorer Giovanni Da Verrazano [The Verrazano narrows bridge currently bears his name]. The island was visited by Henry Hudson in 1609 and was called Staaten Eylandet by the Dutch. The native population drove off the first white settlers, but by 1661 a permanent settlement had been founded. In 1687 the Duke of York offered it as a prize to the winner of a sailing race. The region remained largely unsettled and rural because of its relative isolation from the rest of the city. Not until a ferry was started to the island and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built [1964] has the island become accessible.

So, if you have yet to visit the home of flyingnorthblog, what are you waiting for?