New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan; the post was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country’s largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a world symbol of the United States and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, and environmental sustainability, and as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity.
Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, with the city having three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013 and receiving a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world’s “heart” and its “Crossroads”, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s landmarks, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. New York is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top universities in the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, it has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and the city is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ