THIS IS NYC

Over­view of New York City

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

De­spite the travel bans, re­duc­tion in H1B visas and tighter im­mi­gra­tion, New York City re­mains an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion to most In­di­ans — tourists and ex­pa­tri­ates. More than 35 per cent of New York City’s pop­u­la­tion is for­eign born. It’s not known how many of these are In­di­ans — but each year in Au­gust, since 1981, the me­trop­o­lis cel­e­brates New York City In­dia Day Pa­rade. It is hosted by The Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian As­so­ci­a­tions (FIA)“to present our progress and unity to the many di­ver­si­fied eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties in this area”. It is a huge af­fair that kicks off with bands of NYPD and In­dian Tem­ple Or­gan­i­sa­tion singing the na­tional an­them of both na­tions. About 40 floats, 20 march­ing groups and six pro­fes­sional bands pa­rade from 40th Street and Madi­son Av­enue to­wards 27th Street and Madi­son Av­enue. Cul­tural per­for­mances take place be­tween 2pm and 6pm, which sees par­tic­i­pa­tion from In­dian celebri­ties.

There is a Lit­tle In­dia in Jack­son Heights on 74th Street be­tween Roo­sevelt and 37th Av­enue. It is much like be­ing trans­ported back to the coun­try with women in saris, Bol­ly­wood mu­sic blar­ing from speak­ers and the aroma from sur­round­ing In­dian restau­rants. About 20 min­utes from here is a sim­i­lar neigh­bour­hood in Lex­ing­ton Heights.You will read more about these buzzing set­tle­ments in the com­ing pages.

IN­DIAN TOURISTS IN NEW YORK

Sta­tis­tics com­pany, Statis­tia cal­cu­lated the num­ber of in­bound In­dian vis­i­tors to the US at 1.13 mil­lion in 2015, and to the state of NewYork at around 0.3 mil­lion (out of the to­tal of 58.5 mil­lion tourists it re­ceived from the world over). This was the same year when Christo­pher L Thomp­son, president and CEO of Brand USA had told PTI: “We view In­dia as [one of the] top five emerg­ing mar­kets [with] a po­ten­tial to hit the goal of hav­ing 100 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers by 2021.” And a year later, Eco­nomic Times had re­ported that NewYork City is one of the top four “most searched des­ti­na­tions for In­dian trav­ellers”. After Trump’s vic­tory, In­di­ans be­came scep­ti­cal of trav­el­ling to the US for the fear of racial pro­fil­ing and spo­radic inspection pat­terns, some of which can leave you feel­ing hu­mil­i­ated. This was in spite of the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus’as­sur­ances that Amer­i­can green card hold­ers and valid visa hold­ers will re­main un­af­fected. It is, how­ever, un­der­stood that if you’ve re­cently vis­ited any of the coun­tries pro­scribed un­der Trump’s ban; you will be sub­ject to ex­tra scru­tiny.

Hav­ing said that, on a whole, the num­ber of in­bound In­dian tourists to the me­trop­o­lis con­tin­ues to rise. Some are re­peat tourists, and oth­ers are first-time vis­i­tors. The most vis­ited at­trac­tions re­main Cen­tral Park, Em­pire State Build­ing and Statue of Lib­erty to name a hand­ful. Many find New York City’s food mar­kets to be an ex­pe­ri­ence within them­selves — their in­gre­di­ents are sourced from lo­cal pro­duc­ers. After all, agri­cul­tural pro­duce makes up a larger chunk of New York’s econ­omy, apart from the fi­nance in­dus­try and min­ing.

The state is a lead­ing fruit and veg­etable pro­ducer in the east coast and is one of the top five apple pro­duc­ing states in the US. Maple syrup, oats, pota­toes, soya beans and wheat are other im­por­tant crops pro­duced here. Some of the best pro­duce is found in Chelsea Mar­ket.Vis­i­tors can spend an af­ter­noon here buy­ing fresh gro­ceries and eat­ing lunch at one of the many food kiosks. In the next few pages, there is a de­tailed re­view of these and other un­usual tourist spots in NewYork City that one must visit if you haven’t al­ready.

You will also read about its many com­mu­nity

neigh­bour­hoods that have been in ex­is­tence for a lit­tle over a cen­tury now. Apart from food, you’ll find a lot of au­then­tic, so­ci­etal lifestyle on your ex­plo­ration of these lo­cal­i­ties. This di­ver­sity be­came more ap­par­ent in the 19th cen­tury when NewYork City saw an in­flux of im­mi­grants, first from Europe; and after the Im­mi­gra­tion and Na­tion­al­ity Act of 1965, it re­ceived an up­surge from In­dia and the rest of Asia. To­day, it is known to have the high­est num­ber of im­mi­grants in the coun­try, mak­ing it one of Amer­ica’s most cul­tur­ally di­verse cities, and a promis­ing one to ac­quaint one­self with var­i­ous eth­nic­i­ties.

BOR­OUGHS

Of the five New York City bor­oughs, Man­hat­tan, the Bronx, Brook­lyn, Queens and Staten Is­land, the first is the most im­por­tant. It is here that you will find the pop­u­lar tourist sites such as the Wall Street bull, Times Square, Cen­tral Park, Em­pire State Build­ing, High Line, One World Ob­ser­va­tory, Mu­seum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Broad­way.

The Bronx is more pop­u­larly known as the home of the New York Yan­kees. It also has the fa­mous Bronx Zoo that is sur­rounded by woods, and the New York Botanical Gar­den. If it’s ghetto cul­ture you’re look­ing for, this is where you will find it. Hiphop orig­i­nated from here and art deco marvels are a com­mon sight­ing.

Queens is syn­ony­mous to sports be­cause of the Citi Field sta­dium in Flush­ing Mead­ows, and USTA Bil­lie Jean King Na­tional Ten­nis Cen­ter next door where you can watch the US Open. In Long Is­land City, you can visit Socrates Sculp­ture Park and MoMA PS1, the “old­est and largest non­profit con­tem­po­rary art in­sti­tu­tions in the United States”.

Brook­lyn has live mu­sic ev­ery night at the quirky Wil­liams­burg neigh­bour­hood that is also known for shops sell­ing vin­tage wares. Scenic walks can be en­joyed at Brook­lyn Bridge and Brook­lyn Heights prom­e­nade. If hockey and bas­ket­ball are of in­ter­est, you can catch a game at Bar­clays Cen­ter in Down­town Brook­lyn.

Staten Is­land is pop­u­lar amongst cul­ture en­thu­si­asts with its col­lec­tion of mu­se­ums and his­toric land­marks. These in­clude Staten Is­land Mu­seum, Snug Har­bor Cul­tural Cen­ter, Alice Austen House Mu­seum and Jacques Mar­chais Mu­seum of Ti­betan Art amongst the many oth­ers here. Peo­ple of­ten visit for its beaches and large ex­panses of park­land that in­clude NewYork City’s largest for­est pre­serve in the Staten Is­land Green­belt. Rides on the Staten Is­land ferry are also pop­u­lar.

GET­TING AROUND

NewYork City’s sub­way is the most widely used pub­lic trans­port here, which is con­ve­nient for its con­nec­tiv­ity. If you must choose a taxi, Uber would be an eco­nom­i­cal op­tion, as com­pared to the lo­cal taxis.

Pre­vi­ous page: the Brook­lyn bridge From left to right: Statue Of Lib­erty; view of the city from the Hud­son river; and Cen­tral Park

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