The City of Lights: Everything You Need to Know About New York City

The City of Lights: Everything You Need to Know About New York City

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Bright lights, Time’s Square, The Statue of Liberty – all staples of one of the most renowned cities in the world: New York


New York City is not only filled with a rich and influential history, but it’s also one of the largest cities in the state. What’s more, the Big Apple has been recognized for housing the highest population across all cities in the United States. While the Empire State wasn’t always defined by its massive skyscrapers, its historical impact spans the gamut when it comes to the arts, culture, finance, and media. 



When Was New York City Built and Who Founded It?

Early Beginnings of New York

First explored by the Europeans, a Florentine in the service of France named Giovanni da Verrazzano is credited with discovering New York Harbor in 1524. Despite this massive find, another 100 years passed before the first settlers made their way to the area. In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman who was employed by the Dutch, reached the bay by sailboat, cruising across the river that now bears his name.


Welcome to New Amsterdam

It was the year 1624 when the new Dutch West India Company sent the first group of settlers to what we now recognize as Lower Manhattan. Colonists worked alongside one another later that Spring to build a small town, subsequently naming it New Amsterdam. Peter Stuyvesant and Peter Minuit became the first two individuals to govern the territory, helping establish what later became a lively trading post. 



How Did New York City Get Its Name? 

The 1664 British Establishment

Germans, Walloons, Spaniards, Scandinavians, and Portuguese immigrants were among the earliest settlers to call the territory home. In 1634, approximately 1,500 inhabitants were residing in the area, along with 18 different languages spoken among the melting pot of individuals. 


In an effort to protect Dutch settlers from the British, Governor Peter Stuyvesant decided to build a wall across the expanse of the island (now present-day Wall Street) in 1653. The endeavor wound up being futile, however, as Dutch settlers, who were unable to put up a fight, surrendered to the British on September 8, 1664. Shortly after, King Charles II honored his brother, the Duke of York, by renaming New Amsterdam to New York

new york city history

For a brief period in 1673, the Dutch reclaimed the territory, calling it “New Orange” for the Prince of Orange. Only a year later, however, the British regained control, passing a treaty to finalize the shift in ownership. Later on, in the 18th century, the town blossomed into a city, harboring over 25,000 residents. 

With the British in control, the city became split between pro-independence “Patriots” and loyalists to the crown. On June 27, 1775, half of those individuals went to cheer on George Washington as he went on to command the Continental Army in Boston, while the other half of the population were down by the harbor welcoming back the English governor who was returning from London. 


New York remained under British control until the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, which effectively put an end to the Revolutionary War. England finally recognized American independence two years later. After Washington’s triumphant return to New York, he became the country’s first president. While Philadelphia officially became the nation’s capital in 1790, New York remained the title of America’s commercial center. 



What Are Some Significant Events That Shaped New York?

The Opening of the Statue of Liberty

In 1886, Lady Liberty, one of today’s most iconic and recognized emblems of New York City opened on Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty was a celebratory gift from France to commemorate the Union’s victorious win in the American Civil War. The monument is replete with symbolism – with her broken chains, torch, and tablet of law representation of hope and freedom. 


Ellis Island: A Historical Immigration Site

For over 60 years – from 1892 till its closure in 1954, Ellis Island was an infamous gateway for all immigrants relocating to the U.S.’s east coast. Located between New Jersey and New York – at the mouth of the Hudson River – millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of current American citizens are able to trace at least one ancestor back to their arrival at Ellis Island. 

statue of liberty in NYC

The New York World Fair: 1930 to 1940

In the early days, world fairs focused extensively on technology, industrialization, and scientific progression. This changed, however, when New York City hosted the World’s Fair from 1939 to 1940. The theme, which centered around society and culture, was the “Dawn of a New Day.” It wasn’t just Americans who participated, countries around the globe took part in the festivities, attracting nearly 44 million people to the event. 


Headquarters of the United Nations

Founded in 1945, the United Nations (UN), named by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was established to help maintain peace and international security, foster relationships among nations, promote human rights, and serve as a way for nations to harmonize their actions. Originally formed after the conclusion of World War II, the UN began with 51 member states and has since grown to include over 193. The security council for the UN met in London up until 1952 when New York City became its official headquarters. New York City is home to four of the UN’s main components (except for the International Court of Justice located in Hague), including the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, and Secretariat.


The September 11th Attacks

America and residents of New York City will never forget the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that day, which took the lives of 3,000 people and injured over 6,000 more. To this day, first responders are still dealing with the health effects of responses to the attacks. The painful and heart-wrenching events of that day led the U.S. to launch a War on Terror. A 9/11 Memorial has been erected in NYC as a way to commemorate and honor all those who lost their lives that day. It is also a symbol of New York’s resilience and unity in times of crisis. 


Before the Empire State was a playground of skyscrapers and buildings, the city was home to a number of famous historical events. New York City’s rich history is responsible for creating the city of lights and action as we know it today.

Touring New York City: Secret Spots and Favorite Tourist Attractions

Touring New York City: Secret Spots and Favorite Tourist Attractions

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New York City is regularly named the greatest city in the world. It is truly the center of everything – finance, fashion, entertainment, sports, and more. From modern, mesmerizing skyscrapers to the iconic buildings of days gone by, the architecture in New York stands apart from other cities. The city is filled with monuments to its greatest moments. And, food-and-beverage options cannot be beaten. There is always something to do in the City That Never Sleeps. 



Top Tourist Spots in NYC

There are several places that first-time visitors to New York City must-see. These are places that define the city and have had impacts on American and world history. It is impossible to see them all in a few days, as most have special events for tourists that can take a few hours to an entire day to complete. 



Iconic Buildings to See

These buildings have become symbols of the strength and resolve of New York City. They defied gravity in the early days of the city and continue to be places of power. Most of them have observatories at high levels, so you can see what the architects saw when they first made it to the top of their masterpieces. Others have ground-level features that offer treats for the senses. These buildings must be on your agenda:

  • Empire State Building
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • One World Trade Center and One World Observatory
  • Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck



things to do in nycMonuments and Parks

In a city with so much hustle, parks are a necessity. New York City has some amazing green spaces that have inspired memorable stories, songs, and other works of art. When visiting the Big Apple, tourists should take a break from the concrete and steel. Go to the parks to see the monuments and take some time to relax and play. These must-see places include:



Cultural Stops 

New York City is loaded with culture, which is what separates it from other great cities. There are so many ways to expand your mind and broaden your horizons by taking in these treasures. These are the must-see cultural stops for every New York City tourist:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Broadway and the Theater District
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • The Frick Collection
  • New York Public Library
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Yankee Stadium



Sights on the Streets

Big cities often have a few streets that everyone knows. In Chicago, tourists visit Michigan Avenue to take in the shops. In San Francisco, visitors must drive down the curvy Lombard Street. But, in New York City, there are so many streets to see and sights to behold. These are a few of the greatest:



Hidden Gems in NYC That You Should Definitely See

Believe it or not, there are still hidden gems that have yet to go mainstream. These special places give you a glimpse of what New York City means to the locals. Many of the secret treasures are in or near popular tourist attractions, so you do not have to go out of your way to enjoy them. 



The Whispering Gallery

This special spot is located inside the Grand Central Terminal. It’s magnificent Beaux-Arts architecture created a unique acoustic sensation: sound travels across the domed ceiling. The perfect arches on a lower floor of the terminal offer a corner-to-corner whispering gallery. You can stand in one corner of the space, whisper to the wall, and your voice can be heard by other people standing in the farthest spaces in the same room. 


where to go in new york city


The Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island

On Roosevelt Island in the East River, the Renwick Hospital shows off its gothic-revival style. This secluded hospital was used to treat highly contagious patients with diseases like smallpox and the plague. It is no longer a working hospital but was named a city landmark in the 1970s. It is the city’s only landmark ruin, and the island features a public area dedicated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.



Secret Garden at the Rockefeller Center

When visiting Rockefeller Center, take the time to visit 620 Loft and Gallery. This special spot is a garden oasis that is often used as a wedding venue. When you visit the space, look down below to see the unforgettable views of nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 



See a Piece of Berlin Wall

As a world-class city, New York City has several historic sights to see. One is the five-part piece of the Berlin Wall. The actual pieces from this Cold War monster were installed at 520 Madison and feature street art from German artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny. 



The Old City Hall Subway Stop

New York’s subway is a masterpiece on its own, but some of the stops have become must-see locations for tourists. One of those is the City Hall Subway Station in Lower Manhattan. It was the first subway stop in the city and it opened in 1904. It shut down in 1945. Subway trains still pass through the stop, but the public space has become a museum and homage to the architects Heins & LaFarge. This space is nothing short of elegant, and tickets to the museum and tours are difficult to acquire. 


Visiting NYC is considered a rite of passage for the citizens of the world, and seeing the sights leaves indelible marks of inspiration on those who visit. New York City is one of the busiest places on the planet. Because of this, visitors need to take time to slow down and enjoy all that it offers. From the must-see attractions to the hidden gems tucked away in mysterious places, there is never a dull moment in the city affectionately called The Capital of the World

Current Housing Market in New York City

Current Housing Market in New York City

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New York City is an expensive housing market. However, this is one of the most progressive cities around the world, and numerous circumstances point to it being a relatively good time to be a buyer in the New York City housing market. Due to the mid-March news of the COVID-19 breakout, especially, home prices are on the decline.


New York City Housing Market 2020

The New York City housing market has experienced quite a turbulent year thus far. The first quarter of 2020 looked to be incredibly competitive for home shopping, benefiting both buyers and sellers. However, once the Covid-19 outbreak hit NYC in March, the housing market plummeted to all-time lows. 

Based on statistics from, they saw 73% fewer new listings placed on the website from March 15 through March 29 than just the two weeks prior. Buyer activity also slowed dramatically. During the same period, 58% fewer homes entered into contract compared to the first two weeks of March. Even rentals fell 52% during the Covid-19 outbreak. Rent prices didn’t change, and, in fact, 20% fewer landlords offered discounted rental rates for new contracts.


New York City Housing Market Prediction for the Rest of the Year

What do all these numbers mean for the rest of 2020? Good news for buyers! If you’re looking to purchase a home in NYC during 2020, now is absolutely the time to get in. According to Zillow’s index, you can expect the median home price in NYC to be lower – a lot lower. In 2015, the median housing price was $652,728. Today, it’s at $509,000. That’s a 28.24% drop in median housing prices. Over the past year, houses decreased by 0.8% across all homes on the market. If you want to buy, get in now. Prices are expected to bounce back and increase by 3% over the next twelve months. 


Buying a House in NYC: What Credit Score Do You Need?

When you’re getting started in the home buying process, the first thing you’ll need to address is your credit score. A home loan or mortgage lenders use your credit score as the primary way to determine how much of a loan they will give you and at what interest rate. If your score is high enough, you’ll have your pick of loan options and premium interest rates. A score that is too low, however, will give you only limited options and interest rates that might even be prohibitive to purchasing a house at all.

A score of 740 or higher is ideal and considered to be “excellent” credit. Scores of 700 to 740 are still in a beneficial zone, with most loan options available. Once your score dips below 700, however, you’ll find that fewer loan options are available, and your interest rates will start to increase.

Another factor of your credit that lenders will examine is how much credit you have and how you use it. Do you have credit cards? Student loans? Car loans? It’s fine to have all of these – as long as you’re paying them off each month. Twelve-month payment history is beneficial to prove reliability.

buying home in new york city

What Credit Score Do You Need to Rent in NYC? 

If you’re only looking to rent, instead of buy, you won’t need as high of a score to qualify. Landlords and apartment managers will look for a minimum of “fair” credit scores. The better your score, the more likely they are to approve your application. If you have a particularly high score, you’ll be aided in negotiations if you want to ask for a better price. Higher scores tell landlords that they won’t have any trouble with you paying your rent regularly and on time.

If you want a number average, most NYC landlords look for a credit score in the range of 650-700 at a minimum. Those with 680 are rarely turned away.


Common Mortgage Types

Now that you know what scoring range to shoot for, you can look at loan types and determine which ones you qualify for. Here are the four most commonly available mortgages.


Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is a home loan offered by a bank or other standard loan institution. They will be looking for higher credit scores to approve due to the risk they take on when offering a loan. The better your score, the more likely they are to approve you for a loan. Higher scores receive the lowest interest rates, as well.


FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Authority offers home loans to qualifying home buyers with a credit score of 580 and higher. They also allow minimal down payments, starting at 3.5%. The only downside to these loans is that buyers will need to pay mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects lenders in case of a default, and payments are made for the life of the loan.


VA Loans

If you’re a service member, you can qualify for a VA loan. These home loans offer a $0 down payment and allow you to finance the total price of your home. If you need to refinance a current mortgage, you can also use a VA loan for refinancing purposes. These can only be used when purchasing your primary residence. So if you’re thinking of buying a vacation home, you’ll need to apply through a different avenue.


USDA Loans

These loans are available to those with a credit score of at least 640 and are low-interest with zero down payment required. These are specifically designed for low-income Americans who lack high enough credit to qualify for conventional mortgages. If you apply for this loan, you are required to purchase a home in a designated coverage area that is suburban or rural.


New York City: A Thriving Place to Live

New York City is an expensive city to live in, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be worth it. NYC is a thriving place to live and work that rewards its residents with a fast-paced and satisfying life. Stated by a credit repair NYC specialist, if you’re planning to buy a home in NYC, figure out what credit score you need, then go forth and apply for those home loans.