Representing continent number two of my seven continent odyssey in 2015, I next found myself in the world’s third largest continent, North America. This was an easy one, as I live on this continent. However, in the spirit of “seven in one” I did venture from my hometown and the location of Flying North International Headquarters, New York City, to travel almost 1000 miles to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
North America covers an area of about 9,540,000 square miles [24,709,000 square kilometers], about 4.8% of the planet’s surface or about 16.5% of its land area. As of 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 565 million people across 23 independent states, representing about 7.5% of the human population. Most of the continent’s land area is dominated by Canada, the United States, Greenland, and Mexico, while smaller states exist in the Central American and Caribbean regions.
For those of you who may have not traveled to New York City yet… what are you waiting for? At 8.4 million inhabitants it is North America’s second most populous city [after Mexico City] and it is not the stuff of “Law and Order” — it is a safe and dynamic melting pot in which hundreds of languages are spoken. While there is no precise count, according to the New York Times, “some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city’s public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York’s most diverse borough,” as listed on their census forms. Just 51% of New Yorkers speak only English at home. Further, New York City boasts a relatively inexpensive twenty-four hour transit system. A monthly pass will cost you US$112. but will give you access to twenty-four hours a day of subways and busses [you hear that London?]. Further, there are no zones, so the approximately thirty mile trip from Rockaway Park, Queens to Inwood [207th Street] on the A train will only cost US$2.75.
New York – often called New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the State of New York, is also the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area, the premier gateway for immigration to the United States and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the pre-eminent cultural and financial capital of the world [sorry again, London].
New York City is located on the southernmost tip of New York State, the 11th of the original 13 colonies, admitted to the union in 1788. The State of New York is in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. New York State is the fourth most populous and the seventh-most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the west and north.
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is primarily a functioning NASA base of operations, where rockets are both launched and monitored. Most famously it is the launching site for the Apollo moon missions and the space shuttles. The Kennedy Space Center’s secondary function is as a public education facility, with exhibits and displays about the history of space flight and travel. NASA was founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and the NASA Launch Operations Center in east Florida was opened in 1962. This facility was later renamed in honor of President Kennedy, who set the United States on the path to land on the moon. Every manned mission to space has departed from this facility. In addition, the facility was the site of the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mars Rover project, and New Horizons, the first spacecraft to visit Pluto. In 2001, ground was broken on the Space Experiment Research and Processing Laboratory [SERPL], since renamed the Space Life Sciences Lab. This is a collaboration between NASA and the State of Florida dedicated to development and processing of experiments for the International Space Station.
Kennedy Space Center is located on the east coast of Florida, the 27th state to be admitted into the union, in 1845. It is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 3rd most populous and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state capital is Tallahassee, the largest city is Jacksonville, and the largest metropolitan area is the Miami metropolitan area.
On to continent number three: South America.