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New York (English Topic)

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New York
Although many people
associate “New York” with New York
City, the name “New York” by itself
normally refers to the state of New
York. Many Americans assume that
New York City is the capital of New
York, but this is not true. In fact,
Albany is the state's capital, even
though it is only the 6
most populous
city in the state, having only about
93,000 inhabitants!
The state of New York was one
of the original 13 colonies. Today it is
the 27
largest state by geographical
area, but the 3
largest state based on
population. It is known as the Empire
State, and many Americans think only of New York City when they think of New York.
However, NYC is located in the southernmost point of the state, and sharply contrasts with
the undeveloped and mountainous northern region of New York state. Lake Placid, a
small town in northern New York state, hosted the Olympic Games twice, in 1932 and
1980. Many Americans know Lake Placid only because of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” when
the USA hockey team defeated the heavily-favored Soviet hockey team, and then went on
to win the gold medal over Finland. – (Some Americans know Lake Placid from the “B”
horror-comedy movie of the same name about a man-eating crocodile loose in the lake.)
New York's state bird is the Eastern Bluebird, and the official state mammal is the Beaver.
To many foreigners, and most Russians, the word New York is synonymous with
New York City. “The Big Apple”, as NYC is often called, is a huge world-renowned city
consisting of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Manhattan is the most densely populated borough, and is home to Central Park and
most of the city's skyscrapers. This borough is the financial center of the city and contains
the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, a number of important
universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower,
Midtown, and Upper regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper
East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem. It is much more
to live on the Upper East Side than in Ha
The Bronx is New York City's northernmost borough. It is the location of Yankee
Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and locality of the largest cooperatively owned
housing complex in the United States. Except for a small section of Manhattan known as
Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States
mainland. Copyright©2011 English
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It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which
houses over 6,000 animals. In addition, The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop
Brooklyn, on the western tip of Long
Island, is the city's most populous borough
and was an independent city until 1898.
Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social
and ethnic diversity, independent art
scene, distinct neighborhoods, and
distinctive architectural heritage. It is also
the only borough outside of Manhattan
with a distinct downtown neighborhood.
The borough features a long beachfront
and Coney Island, established in the
1870s as one of the earliest amusement
grounds in the country. This borough is
also the home of the Russian neighborhood Brighton Beach.
Queens is, geographically the largest borough and the most racially diverse. This
borough is where both LaGuardia and JFK international airports are located. Staten Island 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. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist
attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed
views of the Statue of Liberty,
Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 2,500-acre
Greenbelt has some 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed
forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt
consists of seven city parks.
New York City is an extremely multicultural and international city. Just about every
type of ethnic food from across the globe can be found there. However, New York City is
especially known for its pizza, bagels, and cheesecake. It is also a common perception
that almost all taxi cab drivers ('cabbies') are either from India or Pakistan. Usually Americans can tell a native New Yorker instantly by their unique accent.
Considered by most Americans to be somewhat unintelligent, the New York accent is
characterized by the inability to properly pronounce the 'r' before another consonant. Are
you familiar with the New York accent? How would a New Yorker pronounce the word
“park”? What about “New York”?
What stereotypes/perceptions do you have about New York City? If you were to
visit New York City, where would you go? Why?
Prestigious = [ADJECTIVE] Admired and respected by a lot of people. [Having a degree from Princeton or
Harvard is very prestigious, and consequently helpful in landing a job.]
= [ADJECTIVE] Surpassing all others in quality; Best; Optimal. [For the most outstanding
jambalaya in the world, you have to go to Le Chat Noir Restaurant in New Orleans – the taste and
authenticity of their jambalaya is unsurpassed!]
Wall Street is the name for the financial district of New York City. The name for the
district comes from the fact that Wall Street (yes, an actual street) goes from Broadway to
the East River, and the most prominent part of this street is where the New York Stock
Exchange (NYSE) is located. It is in this region that the famous “Charging Bull” statue is
located. Copyright©2011 English
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The reason for the statue, is because of the way the term “bull” in the English language
relates to the stock markets. A “bull” market is a stock market which is rising. Conversely,
a “bear” market is a market in which stocks are falling. The NYSE is not the only major
stock exchange which has its headquarters on Wall Street. Others include NASDAQ,
AMEX, and NYMEX. The Federal Reserve, which holds much of the United States' gold,
is also located beneath Wall Street (underground).
At the stock exchanges, fortunes can be multiplied in moments or lost instantly.
Investors and day traders who play the market
are not afraid to take risks. If the market
is burgeoning
, then they can make a whopping
profit, but during a bear market their life
can be ruined in the blink of an eye. Do you have any interest in playing the market? Why
or why not?
Wall Street, in a conceptual sense,
represents financial and economic power. To
Americans it can sometimes represent elitism
and power politics, and its role has been a
source of controversy throughout the nation's
history. Wall Street became the symbol of a
country and economic system that many
Americans see as having developed through
trade, capitalism, and innovation. Do you view
Wall Street as a positive or a negative thing? Is
there a place in Russia synonymous to Wall
To play the market
= [VERB] To invest in the stock market. [Jane prefers to keep her money in the bank
rather than play the market, because it's less risky.]
= [ADJECTIVE] Growing or developing quickly. [This section of the city is burgeoning due to the
modern shopping mall and 20-screen OmniMax theater which was just opened in the area.]
= [ADJECTIVE] Colloquial adjective meaning “exceptional” or “unbelievable/unexpected”.
though they weren't even supposed to make the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles ended up winning the
division and the NFC championship by a whopping 20 points!]
To plug away (at something)
= To work doggedly; To persist in working hard; To slowly
but diligently work towards completing something. [Even though Kostya doesn't like doing
it, he continues to plug away at his dissertation, knowing that it is necessary to complete
his education.]
To have egg on one's face
= To be in an embarrassing situation because of something
that you did; To be embarrassed due to one's actions; To seem stupid because of one's
. [Bob had egg on his face because he wore jeans to the party and everyone
else wore formal clothes.]
Let's see if your studying has paid off. Time for a quiz!
Copyright©2011 English
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: It looks like we'll be able to
visit New York City for 2 days and
one night during our trip to the US!
Where should we stay – the Marriott
on Broadway or the Hilton on 5
: Are you kidding me? Fifth
Avenue! It's the shopping mecca of
the world!
: Six of one and half a
dozen of the other
, if you ask me.
: Oh no – bad memories of
Mrs. Ardatova's 3
Grade Math
class! Viktor
: Natasha, I'd go with the Marriott – you'll be able to catch a show
late at night and
return to your hotel very easily. Natasha
: Hmmmm, you both bring up good points.
: NYC has excellent public transportation and is known as “The City That Never
Sleeps”. Catching a taxi late at night won't be difficult, and you'll find shops and clothing
boutiques on practically every corner. So, again, the issue is moot
. Varya
: Seryozha, your pragmatism bores me to tears.
: Well, I guess I'll just go with the cheaper hotel.
: Yeah, that's what I'd do.
: Oh come on, live a little. It's not everyday that you're in New York City!
: Looks like someone's got a sugar daddy......
: Oh really, Varya? Varya
: Natasha, you really should learn to ignore Seryozha......after all, he's an engineer,
so he's socially retarded.
: Hey, I'm an engineer!!
: Do you see how this only serves to strengthen my point?
: Gosh Varya, I was only kidding.....
: So was I......yeah....I was just
: H to the izz-o, V t
o the izz-a.....
: Excuse me?
: Vik's an engineer, too. The same rule applies. Ignore.
: Natasha, if you're going to NYC, you should know who Jay-Z is. He and Beyonce'
live there.....well, they have one of their penthouses there......IZZO (H.O.V.A.) is one of his
most famous songs....
: Yeah, everyone knows that.
: Okay, I'll keep that in mind.....
: You two are freaks.
: It takes one to know one, Varya.
: Oh snap!
: Uggh, you guys are so childish. Anyway Natasha, where else do you plan on
visiting while in New York?
: We don't have any definite plans – we're just going to go where the wind blows
: Do they have high winds in New York City?
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: Oh yes, Viktor......and it's a shame that we don't have such winds here in St.
Petersburg, so that you could be blown far, far away......
Six of one and half a dozen of the other = [IDIOM] “Same thing”; “What's the difference?”; “You say tom-
AY-to, I say to-MAW-to”; “It doesn't matter to me – the result is the same.” ;
[Sarah, let's not take Bus #7 to
Nevsky – let's wait for Trolleybus #11. Whatever, Joan, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other – both
will get us to where we want to go.] [NOTE: This idiom has a slightly different meaning based on context and
tone, but in general it is a way of saying colloquially that two variants of something which were just discussed
are essentially one and the same.]
To catch a show = [COLLOQUIAL] To watch a show (opera, circus, Broadway, play, etc.) [While we were
visiting Moscow, we decided to catch a show at the Bolshoi.]
= [ADJECTIVE] (1) Subject to debate; arguable [Before every Presidential election in the United
States, abortion becomes an incredibly moot issue.] (2) Of no practical importance; irrelevant. [After the
March 11
earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, holding the 2011 World Figure Skating
Championships in Tokyo at the end of March became a moot point.] [
: This adjective is most commonly
used with the nouns: 1
question, 2
point, or 3
issue. The 2
definition (irrelevant) is more commonly used today.
The adjective moot
is originally a legal term going back to the mid-16th century. It derives from the noun
which meant a hypothetical case argued as an exercise by law students. Consequently, a moot
question is one that is arguable or open to debate. But in the mid-19th century people also began to look at
the hypothetical side of moot
as its essential meaning, and they started to use the word to mean "of no
significance or relevance." Thus, a moot point,
however debatable, is one that has no practical value.]
To be bored to tears; To bore (someone) to tears = [VERB] To be extremely bored; To REALLY bore
someone. [Professor Gutorov's lectures always bore me to tears! Yeah, I could tell that Kostya was also
bored to tears during the lecture today.] Just Speak!
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