New York, I love you. Take you as you are. Your magic and your mayhem, your real and your surreal.

In 1524, it was Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano who first discovered New York Harbor and the area, presently, referred to as New York City. Commissioned by the French to find a route to Asia, for the purposes of trade, da Verrazzano sailed up and down the North American East Coast for several weeks to no avail. It was his belief that a passageway connecting to the Pacific Ocean could be found by sailing West. Instead, what he found was a New World consisting of brown natives and uncharted territories. Da Verrazano would not stay long and New York City would remain quiet for the Lenape people, but that would soon change one hundred years later…

In 1624, the Dutch West India Company sent 30 families to live and work in a settlement on Governor’s Island, initially called Nutten Island. There, they set up trading posts and traded furs. In 1626, Peter Minuit, governor general of the settlement, bought the larger island of Manhattan from the Native Americans for about $24 in tools, farming equipment, cloth and shell beads. Soon after, the settlers moved to the area, now, referred to as Lower Manhattan and renamed their new territory, New Amsterdam. At the time, there were less than 300 people living in New Amsterdam, but, as we know, the population would grow quickly and the city would, eventually, become as dynamic as its history.

Today, more than 8 million people live in the city’s five boroughs and as many as 800 languages are spoken in the City of New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Furthermore, New York City is not only the most densely populated city in the United States, but it is also one of the few cities, where the majority of residents are from an ethnic minority. Considered to be the cultural and financial capital of the world, as well as a global leader in thought, art, culture, media and finance, the American dream lives on and the streets of New York continue to represent a Wild West of opportunity for both residents and newcomers.

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