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New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the largest city, by population, in the United States. It is at the center of international finance, politics, communications, music, fashion, and culture. New York City is among the world's most important global cities, as it is home to a nearly unrivaled collection of world-class museums, galleries, performance venues, media outlets, and trans-national corporations. The city is also home to all of the international embassies to the United Nations, which has its headquarters in the city.
Located in the state of New York, New York City has a population of over 8 million people contained within 309 square miles (800 km²), including immigrants from over 180 countries who help make it one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth. Many people from all over the United States are also attracted to New York City for its culture, energy, cosmopolitanism, and by their own hope of making it big in the "Big Apple."
New York City is situated among an archipelago of islands astride the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard of North America, surrounding the fine New York Harbor, which was the very reason for the city's founding. The city itself has been built on the three major islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and on western Long Island (Brooklyn and Queens), as well as on the mainland in the Bronx. There are also some smaller islands in the surrounding waters.
The Hudson River, sometimes known in the city as the North River, flows from the Hudson Valley into New York Bay, becoming a tidal estuary that separates the Bronx and Manhattan from New Jersey. The East River and Harlem River, really a single tidal strait, stretch from the Long Island Sound to New York Bay, separating the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island.
Upper New York Bay is surrounded by Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the coast of New Jersey, and is connected by the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island to Lower New York Bay, which is partially surrounded by Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the coast of New Jersey, and opens to the Atlantic Ocean.
The shape of the land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch times, most dramatically in Lower Manhattan, and continuing in modern developments like Battery Park City. Much of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, particularly in Manhattan (one possible meaning for Manhattan is "island of hills"; in fact, the island was quite hilly before European settlement). A number of smaller islands have been artificially enlarged, and the map of islands in Jamaica Bay has been completely transformed.
New York City has a humid continental climate, though being adjacent to water it suffers less temperature fluctuation than inland areas. New York winters are typically cold (though not severely so; temperatures below 0-deg F only occur about once per decade on average), and sometimes feature snowstorms that can paralyze the city with over a foot (30 cm) of snow. Springs are mild, averaging in the 50s (degrees Fahrenheit, 10–15 degrees Celsius) in late March to the lower 80s °F (25–30 °C) in early June. Summers in New York are hot and humid, with temperatures commonly exceeding 90 °F (32 °C), although high temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are about as rare as subzero (F) lows in winter. Autumns are comfortable in New York and similar to spring in temperature. However, the weather is notably unpredictable, with mild, almost snowless winters (such as in 1997-98) and relatively cool summers (such as in 1992) an occasional surprise, and huge snowstorms arriving as late as the second week in April (significant snow after mid-March is fairly rare though). Travelers are advised to check forecasts and bring several layers of clothing in late fall and in the early spring months (e.g., November, March, April).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,214.4 km² (468.9 mi²). 785.6 km² (303.3 mi²) of it is land and 428.8 km² (165.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 35.31% water. Although most of the city is adequately above sea level, parts of it could be threatened in the future if the current patterns of global warming continue.
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