Borough (New York City)

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"Five Boroughs" redirects here. For the Mercian area of this name during the tenth and eleventh centuries, see Five Boroughs of the Danelaw.
The five boroughs of New York City: 1: Manhattan, 2: Brooklyn, 3: Queens, 4: The Bronx, 5: Staten Island

New York City, in the U.S. state of New York, is composed of five boroughs. They are Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Each borough also has coextensive boundaries as a county of New York State. The county governments were dissolved when New York City consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States; these same boroughs are coextensive with the four most densely populated counties in the United States (New York [Manhattan], Kings [Brooklyn], Bronx, and Queens).

The term borough was adopted to describe a unique form of governmental administration for each of the five fundamental constituent parts of the newly consolidated city in 1898. Under New York State Law, a "borough" is a municipal corporation that is created when a county is merged with populated areas within it. This differs significantly from typical borough forms of government used in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, other states, Greater London, and elsewhere.

Background[edit]

The borough of Manhattan is the economic, cultural, and administrative center of New York City.
New York City's five boroughs
Jurisdiction Population Land area Density
Borough County Estimate
(2014)
square
miles
square
km
persons /
sq. mi
persons /
sq. km
New York
1,636,268 23 59 71,672 27,673
Bronx
1,438,159 42 109 34,242 13,221
Kings
2,621,793 71 183 36,732 14,182
Queens
2,321,580 109 283 21,333 8,237
Richmond
473,279 58 151 8,160 3,151
8,491,079 303 786 27,858 10,756
19,746,227 47,214 122,284 416 159
Sources: see individual borough articles

New York City is often referred to collectively as the five boroughs; the term is used to refer to New York City as a whole unambiguously, avoiding confusion with any particular borough or with the Greater New York metropolitan area. The term is also used by politicians to counter a frequent focus on Manhattan and, thereby, to place all five boroughs on equal footing. In the same vein, the term outer boroughs refers to all of the boroughs excluding Manhattan, even though the geographic center of the city is along the Brooklyn–Queens border.

All of the boroughs were created in 1898 during consolidation, when the city's current boundaries were established. The Bronx originally included parts of New York County outside of Manhattan that had previously been ceded by neighboring Westchester County in two stages, in 1874 and then following a referendum in 1894. The separate present-day Bronx County was not created until 1914.

The borough of Queens consists of what originally was only the western part of a then-larger Queens County; in 1899, the three eastern towns of Queens which had not joined the city the year before formally seceded from Queens County to form the new Nassau County. The borough of Staten Island was officially the borough of Richmond until the name was changed in 1975 to reflect its common appellation.

Description of the boroughs[edit]

Chinatown in Manhattan, the most densely populated borough of New York City, with a higher density than any individual American city.
A view down a street with rowhouses in brown, white, and various shades of red.
Landmark 19th-century brownstones in the Greenpoint Historic District of Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough.
The Unisphere in Queens, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.[1][2]
Borough Hall in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, the most suburban borough of New York City.
The Bronx, the northernmost borough of New York City and the only borough situated on the United States mainland.

There are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs of New York City, many with a definable history and character to call their own.

  • Brooklyn (Kings County), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city's most populous borough. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social, and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a distinctive architectural heritage. Downtown Brooklyn is the only central core neighborhood in the outer boroughs. The borough has a long beachfront shoreline including Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.[6] Marine Park[7] and Prospect Park are the two largest parks in Brooklyn.
  • Staten Island (Richmond County) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry, a daily commuter ferry and popular tourist attraction which provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, the Staten Island Greenbelt spans approximately 2,500 acres (10 km2), including 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city.[9] Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.

Governance[edit]

The percentage of New York City population residing in each borough (from bottom to top): 1. Manhattan, 2. Brooklyn, 3. Queens, 4. The Bronx, and 5. Staten Island. (Populations before 1898 are for the areas now enclosed in the present boroughs.)
Main article: Borough president

Since 1914, each of New York City's five boroughs has been coextensive with a county of New York State – unlike most U.S. cities, which lie within a single county or extend partially into another county, constitute a county in themselves, or are completely separate and independent of any county.

Each borough is represented by a borough president. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island each have a Borough Hall, while the Manhattan Borough President's office is situated in the Manhattan Municipal Building, and the Bronx Borough President's office is in the Bronx County Courthouse. Since the abolition of the Board of Estimate in 1990 (due to a 1989 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court[14]), the borough president now has minimal executive powers, and there is no legislative function within a borough. Executive functions in New York City are the responsibility of the Mayor of New York City, while legislative functions reside with the New York City Council. The borough presidents primarily act as spokesmen, advocates, and ceremonial leaders for their boroughs, have budgets from which they can allocate relatively modest sums of money to community organizations and projects, and appoint the members of the 59 largely advisory community boards in the city's various neighborhoods. The Brooklyn and Queens borough presidents also appoint trustees to the local public library systems in those boroughs.

Because they are counties, each borough also elects a district attorney, as does every other county of the state. While the district attorneys of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are popularly referred to as such by the media (e.g., "Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance, Jr.", or "Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth P. Thompson"), they are technically and legally the district attorneys of New York County, Kings County and Richmond County, respectively. There is no such distinction made for the district attorneys of the other two counties, Queens and the Bronx, since the borough shares the county's name. Because the five district attorneys are, technically speaking, state officials (since the counties are considered to be arms of the state government), rather than officials of the city government, they are not subject to the term limitations that govern other New York City officials such as the mayor, the New York City Public Advocate, members of the city council or the borough presidents.

Some civil court judges also are elected on a borough-wide basis, although they generally are eligible to serve throughout the city.

Sixth borough[edit]

Main article: Sixth borough

The term sixth borough is used to describe any of a number of places that have been referred to as a part of New York City because of its geographic location, demographics, special affiliation, or cosmopolitan character. They have included adjacent cities and counties in the New York metropolitan area as well as in other states, U.S. territories, and foreign countries.[15][16][17] In 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to the city's waterfront and waterways as a composite sixth borough during presentations of planned rehabilitation projects along the city's shoreline,[18][19][20][21][22][23] including Governor's Island in the Upper New York Bay.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christine Kim, Demand Media. "Queens, New York, Sightseeing". USA TODAY. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Andrew Weber (April 30, 2013). "Queens". NewYork.com. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ Mann, Camille; Valera, Stephanie. "10 Most Crowded Islands in the World". The Weather Channel. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  4. ^ Barry, Dan (October 11, 2001). "A Nation challenged: in New York; New York Carries On, but Test of Its Grit Has Just Begun". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2016. A roaring void has been created in the financial center of the world. 
  5. ^ Sorrentino, Christopher (September 16, 2007). "When He Was Seventeen". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2016. In 1980 there were still the remains of the various downtown revolutions that had reinvigorated New York's music and art scenes and kept Manhattan in the position it had occupied since the 1940s as the cultural center of the world. 
  6. ^ Immerso, Michael (2002). Coney Island: The People's Playground. Rutgers University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-8135-3138-1. 
  7. ^ a b Joe Dorish. "10 Largest Parks in New York City". ZipfWorks, Inc. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ O'Donnell, Michelle (July 4, 2006). "In Queens, It's the Glorious 4th, and 6th, and 16th, and 25th ...". New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Staten Island Greenbelt | New York-New Jersey Trail Conference". Nynjtc.org. Retrieved October 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ Frazier, Ian (June 26, 2006). "Utopia, the Bronx". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Bronx Zoo Animals & Exhibits". Wildlife Conservation Society. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  12. ^ Ward, Candace (2000). New York City Museum Guide. Dover Publications. p. 72. ISBN 0-486-41000-5. 
  13. ^ Toop, David (1992). Rap Attack 2: African Rap to Global Hip Hop. Serpents Tail. ISBN 1-85242-243-2. 
  14. ^ Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris, 489 U.S. 688 (1989).
  15. ^ Popik, Barry (January 24, 2006). "Sixth Borough Yonkers, Scarsdale, Fort Lee, Jersey City, Hoboken, Nassau County, Rockland County, S". Big Apple. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  16. ^ Walker, Ken (May 10, 2007). "That Mythical Sixth Borough". Daily Newarker. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  17. ^ Carlsen, Jen (December 10, 2010). "Poll: Where is New York's 6th Borough?". Gothamist. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  18. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn Unveil Comprehensive Plan for New York city's Waterfront and Waterways" (Press release). NYCEDC. March 14, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  19. ^ Rovzar, Chris. "Mayor Bloomberg Attempts to Rebrand the 'Sixth Borough'". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ Mainland, Alex (February 18, 2011). "A Blog for the ‘Sixth Borough’". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  21. ^ Yeh, Richard (March 14, 2011). "City Reclaims Waterfront as 'Sixth Borough'". WNYC. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  22. ^ "Sixth Borough Stories from New York's Waterfront". Columbia School of Journalism. 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-01. The sixth borough. That's what Mayor Bloomberg calls the 578 miles of shore land that encircle the five boroughs of New York City. 
  23. ^ Cunningham, Ryan A. (January 22, 2012). "Will NYC have a 6th Borough?". Metropolis Magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  24. ^ "Studio Report The Speculation Studio: Governors Island, The Sixth Borough?". Urban Omnibus. January 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-01.