The City of New York, commonly called New York City and New York, has been the most populous city in the United States since 1790, while the New York metropolitan area ranks among the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city, it exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of United Nations headquarters, New York is also an important center for international affairs.
With a large harbor located on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's estimated population exceeds 8.2 million people  living in just under 305 square miles (790 km2), making New York City the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 18.8 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2).
New York is notable among American cities for its high use of mass transit, much of which runs 24 hours, and for the overall density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States. The city is sometimes referred to as "The City that Never Sleeps", while other nicknames include Gotham and the Big Apple.
New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under British control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.
Many neighborhoods and landmarks in the city have become world-famous. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.
New York is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting, and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco and Tin Pan Alley in music. It is the home of Broadway theater.
Manhattan (New York County: Pop. 1,620,867) is the most densely populated borough and home to most of the city's skyscrapers, as well as Central Park. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, as well as a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions, including numerous museums, the Broadway theatre district, Greenwich Village, and Madison Square Garden. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.