We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
7,999 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

New York City is quite a large place, although many tourists do not venture far from the island of Manhattan. We are composed of five boroughs [often abbreviated boros]. These are Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Each boro has a different flavor and all are worth visiting. Here is a brief synopsis.

Manhattan: Located on a long narrow island in New York Harbor, Manhattan is nestled between the Hudson River and the East River, which is really a tidal estuary. The Harlem river is to the north. North Manhattan is quite hilly and contains the last remaining virgin forest in NYC. Directions are given in "uptown" which means North and "downtown" which means south. Fifth Ave is the dividing line between east and west and is essential for addresses. 600 East 42nd Street and 600 West 42nd Street are quite a distance away. Here are the skyscrapers, Broadway, Greenwich Village, SOHO and the Trade Center. This is the area that you know as New York but it is not where most New Yorkers actually live.

The Bronx: This is the only boro that is connected to the mainland, and is mostly north of Manhattan. It is named after Jonas Bronk who had a farm here in pre-colonial days. The Bronx is home to my beloved Yankees. It is also the home to the Botanical Gardens, Wave Hill and the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx is undergoing a rebirth as of late. Even the South Bronx is blossoming with artist spaces and coffee shops. Did you know that the Bronx contains an actual fishing village. Yep, City Island is connected to the boro by a narrow causeway and is our own New England fishing village.

Brooklyn: Brooklyn and Queens are the two western counties of Long Island. They are separated from Manhattan by the East River. If you look at a map of New York, Long Island is the large landmass that juts out into the Atlantic. Sort of our Cape Cod - without the chowder. Standing alone, Brooklyn would be the 4th largest city in the US. You have heard of the neighborhoods here. Places like Flatbush, Brooklyn Heights, Coney Island, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Park Slope. Williamsburg is now the center of NY nightlife. The Boro is connected to Manhattan by three great bridges, The Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan bridge and the mother of them all - the Brooklyn Bridge.

Queens: Separated from Brooklyn by the polluted Newtown Creek, Queens is home to lots of diverse folks. Jackson Heights is said to be the most diverse neighborhood in the country and the #7 train is called the International Express. Flying into JFK or LGA? You are in Queens. Queens is also home to the Mets, the US Open and the Panorama. Two world's fairs were held in Flushing Meadow Park. Visitors beware of the street system. 64th Street, 64th Drive, 64th Road, 64th Place, 64th Avenue may be scattered throughout the boro. If you see an address with a hyphen it it, you are in Queens.

Staten Island. You know, where the ferry drops you off. Like most New Yorkers I do not know a lot about this island in the harbor. Geographically, it is closer to New Jersey. But, it also has some hidden gems like the Richmondtown restoration and the Tibetan Museum.

Now, while we have our home boroughs, we are also grouped into neighborhoods. While the lines may be imaginary, they are no less known to us. When a New Yorker asks us where we are from, we normally say the neighborhood. I'm in Soho. Rego Park. Sheepshead Bay. Riverdale, etc. Each neighborhood has its own special character. There is lots of neighborhood pride.

Also, many neighborhoods have smaller subdivisions. Take a place like Williamsburg where the Southside is Hasidic, the Northside was formerly Polish and is now Hipster, and the Eastside which is largely Hispanic. One more thing, when someone from an outer boro is going to Manhattan, we commonly say that we are going "to the City."

Here to help you further get a grasp on things, Mr. Gene Kelly and friends from the musical "On the Town", singing and dancing in "New York, New York - a Hell of a Town."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhsD15vzB8k

Mentioned in this post
Bronx
Bronx
New York
Queens
Queens
New York
New York
New York
United States
Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Massachusetts
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
16,596 Reviews
New York City, NY
New Jersey
New Jersey
United States
Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,117 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Awesome post Mel and very informative. :O)

New York City
Level Contributor
17,257 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Actually, the last remaining virgin forest in NYC is in Forest Park in Queens, and the Bronx is named for the Bronx River -- although the river is named for the family of Jonas Bronck.

Staten Island has unfortunately always gotten short shrift. Here is some Staten Island trivia- Todt Hill is supposed to be the highest natural point on the eastern seacoast south of Maine -- although it is being surpassed in height by an artificial hill at the Fresh Kills landfill. All sorts of surprising people have lived on or are from Staten Island, ranging from Commodore Vanderbilt to the Italian hero Garibaldi. Nowadays, the largest single ethnic group on Staten Island is Italian-Americans, and it is the least urban, most suburban of the five boroughs. And did we mention that modern tennis was first introduced into the US on Staten Island?

Mentioned in this post
Queens
Queens
New York
Bronx
Bronx
New York
Maine
Maine
United States
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
16,413 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

GWB, Inwood Hill Park contains primary forest:

nycgovparks.org/parks/…7730

As does part of Hunter Island in Pelham Bay Park and a small section of Wolfe's Pond on Staten Island:

http://www.primalnature.org/ogeast/ny.pdf

Edited: 25 January 2011, 15:03
Mentioned in this post
Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park
22 Reviews
New York City, NY
New York City
Level Contributor
4,232 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Here are a few other old growth forests in NYC, and they are an incredible sight in an urban setting like NYC. There are also very interesting birds aand some native wildlife in these parks.

Forests: What’s Left of Our Trees?

Old-growth native woodlands in New York City are precious few. None date before the Revolutionary War, when trees were cut for fuel. Remnant forests include the Midwood section of Prospect Park, a section of the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, a portion of Hunter’s Island in Pelham Bay Park, Inwood Hill Park in northern Manhattan, and Alley Pond Park and Forest Park in Queens. All have been degraded to one extent or another, and all have been overgrown by alien species or weed trees. The Parks Department of New York City has undertaken a heroic effort to restore as much as possible the old woodlands on park land. The effort entails uprooting and discouraging alien species like Norway and Sycamore maples while encouraging the growth of native seedlings. Native tree restoration takes a long-term commitment. Hickories, for example, do not transplant well, so their re-establishment depends on the success of seedlings taking root and thriving – a process that takes perhaps fifty years.

http://www.newyorknature.net/Restoration.html

Edited: 25 January 2011, 15:33
Mentioned in this post
Bronx
Bronx
New York
Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park
22 Reviews
New York City, NY
Queens
Queens
New York
Norway
Norway
Europe
New York City
Level Contributor
17,257 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

You are correct, Crans, and there is more than one piece of virgin forest in NYC; my post should have said "the largest remaining..."; I inadvertently retyped Mel's exact phrase as I looked at it. As a matter of fact, there is yet another tiny patch of original forest (it was too inconvenient to cut...) quite close to me, which is the home of the 400 year old Queens Giant:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queens_Giant

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
16,413 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Ah, GWB, you're a good person to virtually bring into a conversation I was having just last night: Alley Pond once was home to some small factories or mills or something along those lines, right? If so, is any evidence left of them?

Edited: 25 January 2011, 15:48
north england
Level Contributor
156 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

I would like to add to this post by saying if you have never visited New York dont do it!

IT IS ADDICTIVE!

we went on a once in a lifetime trip four years ago and life has not been the same since , I have just booked our third trip .

People asked do you want a party for your 40th birthday all I ever replied was no I want to wake up in New York and I will be doing whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

a massive thanks to all the experts they have helped every time

Thank You New York I love you xxxx

Mentioned in this post
New York
New York
United States
Queens, New York
Level Contributor
25,046 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

BMel et al: great post!

Mel, could you please cut-n-paste a condensed version of your text here?

Which Area Should I Stay In?

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60763-s204/New-York-…

Anyone can edit a Travel Page, btw.

New York City
Level Contributor
17,257 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

Crans, in the late 17th C. a member of the ubiquitous Hicks family (they were all over Long Island - think of Hicks Street in Brooklyn, and the Hicksite Quakers, and Hicksville in Nassau County) built a flower mill on the stream that flowed from what is now Oakland Lake down into Alley Creek. I believe there were also some tidal-powered mills on Alley Creek itself. Alas, there is no trace of them today, just as the real Alley Pond itself was destroyed by the highway interchange dreams of the unstoppable Robert Moses. However, the wetlands of the Alley itself are still there, and have been nicely restored in recent years; you can see all sorts of handsome wading birds fishing there, including snowy egrets and blue herons.

Mentioned in this post
New York City
Level Contributor
17,257 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: New York Geography Lesson - So Where you Wanna Go?

... and yes, I know how to spell "flour".

Dang this program that doesn't let you edit beyond the first few seconds.