Urban Missions and Service Experiences for Youth, Adult, and Family Groups




Cities » New York City

New York City

Facts and Figures

NYC has 5 distinct boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island) with just over 8.3 million people. Opinions differ on what comprises the “metropolitan area”, but according to some over 22 million people live there.

NYC’s population is larger than 39 US states—more than twice of LA, the second largest city in the country, and more than 31 times the population of Buffalo, the second largest city in New York state.

NYC covers 304 square miles and has 578 miles of waterfront. Queens is the largest borough covering 112.2 square miles. The Bronx is the only borough that is connected to the mainland of the United States. Both Manhattan and Staten Island are their own islands, while Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island. If Brooklyn were its own city (which it was prior to 1898) it would be the 4th most populated city in the United States with 2.5 million people, falling just behind Chicago.

In 2009 there were an estimated 47 million visitors to the city, spending close to $30 billion. Many of the visitors make a stop to the 843 acres of New York’s famous Central Park.

NYC is often considered the most cosmopolitan city in the United States with residents from over 180 different countries. It is the headquarters of the United Nations. Immigrants of Irish, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, Jamaican, Iranian, Arab, Greek, African, Jewish (and more) origin all have enclaves within the city. NYC has a higher Jewish population than Jerusalem.

Did You Know That…

Since 1991, New York City has seen a continuous fifteen-year trend of decreasing crime and is now the safest large city in America.

Only 46% of NYC households and 22% of Manhattan have access to a car, compared to over 90% nationwide. With 660 miles of track, the New York City subway system is the most extensive in the world. The subways connect all the boroughs except for Staten Island and experienced approximately 1.62 billion passenger trips last year. There are also 12,779 licensed taxis that New Yorkers also use to get around.

Broadway’s Original Name was the Wiechquaekeck Trail. It was an old Algonquin trade route.

Almost 12 million people attended a Broadway show in the 2009 season.

Babe Ruth hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium in the first game ever played there.

Downtown NYC was the shipping capital of the world in the 19th century.

People, Problems, Issues

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, during 2009 the number of homeless New Yorkers residing in shelters each night has reached the highest point in New York City’s history as the city and the country faced the hardships of the economic downturn. In March 2010 some 38,000 homeless men, women, and children were sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system, including 15,500 children, 14,200 adult family members, and 8,000single adults. Thousands more sleep on city streets, park benches, and subway trains.

Approximately 85 percent of homeless New Yorkers are black or Latino, although only 53 percent of New York City’s total population is black or Latino.

There are over 1,000 soup kitchens and food pantries in NYC. 1.3 million New Yorkers (one in six) live in food insecure households. Of this number, 417,000 of them are children.

According to the Census Bureau, in 1999 there was a shortage of nearly 390,000 units of affordable housing for extremely low income renter households in NYC.

New York City has the largest public school system in the country and manages to graduate about 60% of its students. However, that rate goes down to only 50% when looking specifically at the graduation rate for African Americans (according to NYC Department of Education).

Insights on the City

by Cindy Menz-Erb (former City Director)

Downtown New York CityThe Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, The Capital of the World, Gotham, Empire City, and The Melting Pot are some of the nicknames given to New York City. NYC is a myriad of different things to its many inhabitants, visitors and those who have only dreamed of New York. More songs have been written about NYC that any other city, with various song writers proclaiming their love, frustration, excitement and commitment to this remarkable city. If any city could be considered a living organism, it’s New York. Just walking the streets of NYC can be an invigorating experience that can also overwhelm with countless new sights, sounds, smells and tastes. It’s a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lives and for some, it’s a place they could never imagine leaving.

New York City is often considered the financial, cultural, music and fashion capitol of the world. It is a city filled with glitz and glamour. It has the highest rents and real estate prices in the country. Many of the worlds’ wealthiest people live or own property in NYC. These things only make the contrast that much greater as some of the most deprived in our country are also claiming New York City as their home. It is impossible to overlook the thousands of homeless men, women and children that are living on those same streets where just above residents are paying anywhere from $2,000-$15,000 in rent per month. One cannot fail to notice the thousands of immigrants attempting to make it on nothing more than minimum wage jobs in restaurants where patrons are spending anywhere from $20-$200 for a meal. While major world financial decisions involving millions of dollars are being made on Wall Street, decisions just as significant are being made at the United Nations about achieving peace and realizing justice in the worlds’ poorest countries. New York City is certainly a center for many powerful decision makers, and is home to many powerless people.

The glimmers of light are all the churches, ministries, social services and justice organizations that are working along side of and on behalf of those who are considered the poor and powerless. They are hard working, passionate people who labor daily to create change in the lives of people and change in oppressive systems. They are people who are living out God’s call to be his hands and feet in practical ways and they are willing to let us help!

CSM Ministry Site Sampler

God’s Love We Deliver is the largest HIV/AIDS meal delivery program in the country. They have now expanded their mission to working with people with other life-threatening illnesses. CSM teams will work either in the kitchen packing or preparing meals, or with on-foot delivery routes.

Salt & Sea Mission is a ministry in the Coney Island neighborhood. For the community, Salt & Sea provides a worship service, food pantry, and a hot meal program. CSM teams will lead their worship service, assist with the food pantry, and serve the hot meal.

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