New York History
New York: An Illustrated History written by Ric Burns is an outstanding book and a real masterpiece. Six hundreds of pages show the history of one of the most famous and loved city in the world. The book contains five hundred colored and black and white photos and illustrations that describe the development and growth of New York.
The narration is started with description of the settlement of a small Dutch colony in the 17-th century. The only thing that Dutch were thinking about was money and the colony was established as a trading post. It played a great role in the development of the city. New York was a place, where all people of the world could live together. It was a place to practice different religions. In New York more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world. Moreover, a lot of different religious and national groups live here. All these people came to New York in an attempt to find a better life. New York brings to the world the new ideas and new people who start thinking differently.
When people talk about the history of America they often think about Boston or Philadelphia. However, it is a wrong point of view, because New York is the most historical city in the USA. It is much older than all other places. Before the Dutch colonists arrived, the Indian tribes lived there. It was the finest harbor in the Atlantic Ocean and an entrance into North America. Everybody knows that the heart of New York is Manhattan. It is the Indian name of the island that means “the island of hills”.
New York is the economic capital of the world, its greatest supreme laboratory of modern life. Everything that becomes popular in the world is first popular in New York. Whatever happens in New York happens in other countries later.
During the next 119 years England ruled New York. It was a missing link for Britain in its colonies. When New York became a part of the British Empire, the authorities started an aggressive policy against Indians. Everywhere the British colonists came they brought their religion and destroyed everything. New York sent goods to England and received back slaves from Africa.
In 1699, the Old Dutch Wall was pulled down to make way for the new houses. The first new street was named Wall Street. By 1740, New York was the third largest port in the British Empire after Philadelphia and London. Different classes of people lived in New York: Catholics and Protestants, privateers and colonial’s administration, free blacks and slaves. African Americans were much discriminated. However, they were the key in the development of the city as they belonged to the main labor force. By 1740, every sixth New York citizen was owned by another one. Every morning African Americans were selling at the slave market on Wall Street. The number of slaves increased, and the citizens were in terror of their own lives.
By the end of the 19th century, New York was the growing city in the world. It was a multicultural society. Moreover, it was a city where the first skyscrapers, subways and unknown for that time apartments were built. In the 20th century, a huge wave of immigrants has covered the city and changed it forever. It transformed New York into the greatest metropolis of the world. First, it was an industrial city that was changing and became a commercial and business center. New York is a cradle of American culture and American style. The famous places associated with America belong to New York. Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Wall Street – this is what tourists imagine talking about the USA.
The book New York: An Illustrated History has many rare illustrations that have never been presented to a wide audience. Ric Burns narrates different stories of hundreds men and women who lived in New York. Except the common people who lived in New York and built this great city, there were some famous persons, whose names are well-known in history. They are Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman, George Gershwin, and Robert Moses. All of them played their roles in the development of the city that has changed its face forever. The author takes interview with Robert A. Caro and Robert A. M. Stern. The group of historians and critics helps Ric Burns in the creation of this book, giving the facts that have not been mentioned in the world history.
New York is a unique mix of American life. It contains everything, and it seems like the whole world flies round this city. It experienced victories and failures, ups and downs, the best and the worst times. The book New York: An Illustrated History describes riots that have strongly influenced the city life. It describes the New Yorkers, the conflicts between them, and racial intolerance. All these facts make the readers understand the spirit of New York its nature and its way of life. The person who has never been to New York will hardly imagine what this city looks like, no matter how much information he read or how good he is in history. The given book opens the door into the world that differs from any other. The numerous illustrations, photos and pictures get the reader acquainted with the city’s past and present. Probably, this is the only book that presents the history of New York in details.
- Burns, R., James Sanders & Lisa et al. Ades. (2003). New York: An illustrated history. NY: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.