The most populous city in United States, New York City is also one of the most cosmopolitan with people from around the world choosing to live and work here. The city’s wealth of professional opportunities as well as its cultural and lifestyle attractions make it one of the best places to have a thriving social life.
The history of New York City goes back to 1624 when it was founded as New Amsterdam by Dutch colonizers to serve as a commercial trading post. Around forty years later it came under British control and from 1785 to 1790 it was the capital of the United States. Over the decades, New York City acted as a beacon for people from all over the world who landed on its soil seeking wider economic opportunities and a better quality of life. Millions of immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of hope and promise as their boats approached the New York City Harbor. In 2001, the destruction of the World Trade Center, an iconic landmark, by terrorist attack further sharpened the city’s resolve to survive and even thrive despite attempts to spread hatred among its people.
The cosmopolitan essence of New York City is evident from its demographic distribution. In 2005 the city’s population was estimated to be at more than 8.2 million according to figures provided by the New York City Department of City Planning. Of this number as high as 36 percent are thought to be foreign-born. Around 800 languages are spoken in New York City making it perhaps the most linguistically diverse city in the world. While the Italians, Irish, Poles and European Jews had been the ones to arrive here in largest numbers in the earlier century, currently immigrants in New York City largely belong to the Caribbean countries as well as Russia, China, India, Ecuador and Colombia. This kind of ethnic diversity means that socializing in New York City has a vast array of options. You could make friends within a particular ethnic or racial group while also having huge opportunities to mingle in multi-cultural settings. Some of the most popular religious celebrations are Ash Wednesday, Purim, Navroz, Easter, Eid-ul-Fitr, Diwali, Asian Lunar Calendar, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and so on. Other than these parades like the St. Patrick Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the West Indian Labor Day Parade form the multi-cultural highlights of New York City life.
New York City has an incredibly rich cultural life. The city has over two cultural institutions like museums, art galleries, historical buildings, concert halls and theaters which are all amazing places to find and meet other enthusiasts of art, music, films and various cultural pursuits. The Carnegie Hall, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Historical Society are only a few of the museums internationally famous for their collection. Lovers of music and dance have a lot to explore in New York starting from the productions of the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera House to modern forms like jazz, hip-hop, punk and street dances. There are over 500 art galleries in New York City alone with the most high-profile among them being Chelsea, DUMBO as well as Long Island City in Queens. Throughout the year, New York City hosts hundreds of music, dance, theater, film and other cultural events which offer lovers of art and culture lots of opportunities to meet and know each other. At the same time festivities like the Village Halloween Parade, the Feast of San Gennaro, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and of course the New Year’s Day celebrations at Times Square attract people in huge numbers and are all fun ways of looking for friends. The entertainment center in New York City is Broadway which is home to thirty-nine of the city’s biggest theaters. The plays, musicals and performances of Broadway are not only likely places to meet new people but also popular dating venues for its couples.
New York City has a very busy sporting calendar as well. The city is home to some of the most successful teams playing in the national leagues of all the four major sports – hockey, baseball, football and basketball. Other than this, it hosts the U.S Tennis Open, the New York City Marathon, the Millrose Games as well as many popular boxing events. All these events offer several avenues for sports lovers to come together and socialize among themselves.
As one of the major lifestyle centers of the world, New York City is famous for its mind-boggling range of cafes and restaurants where one can meet new people as well as go out with friends and dates. Here you can find some of the most famous French haute cuisine restaurants like Le Bernardin or expensive fine dining places like Masa which has only twenty-six seats. At the same time there are delightful street vendors offering bagels and pretzels as well as hand-driven carts that dish out succulent lamb kebabs and falafel from Middle Eastern cuisine. There are any number of pubs, bars and nightclubs in this city ranging from the hole-in-the-wall types to ones where entry is severely restricted. The 1 Oak, Chloe 81, Ella and Gold Bar are some of the hottest nightspots in the town.
New York also hosts one of the largest gay parades in the world. The New York City Gay Pride March brings thousands of gays and lesbians from all over the city as well as those whole believe in their right to practice same-sex love. The city also hosts a Gay Pride Week where the main events are the Pride Fest, the Dance on the Pier besides the March. All these provide valuable ways for the gay community in New York to find friends and partners as well bring about better exchange of their concerns.
In recent years, New York’s reputation as a city offering high quality if life has suffered because of rising instances of crime. But this is only natural in a city which has one of the densest and most ethnically and economically diverse populations in the country. Finally it is the huge range of options to suit all pockets and tastes that is perhaps the best part about socializing in a city like NYC.