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The history of Manhattan

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle Manhattan. To protect themselves from attacks, they built a sturdy wooden wall. Although the original wall is now long gone, this wall gave its name to a street in Lower Manhattan and the street, in turn, became synonymous with American business. The street, of course, is Wall Street.

The New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange are both in the Wall Street area. So are many stock brokers, banks and investment firms, in addition to the headquarters of many large domestic and international corporations.

To escape the commotion of Wall Street you can visit the nearby South Street Seaport, an open area of low buildings on the East River. In addition to many shops and restaraunts, the seaport has a museum.

Two good ways to see the larger picture of New York are to circle it by boat or by hovering over it in helicopter.

In the financial district, though, there used to be another way to see New York. Before the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Centre rose 1,350 feet above the city. Although the twin towers are no longer standing, tourists can access the Empire State Building, and see a nice panorama of New York City from the observation decks on site there.

Appropriately, the very first business deal in Manhattan was made in what became the financial district. As every American schoolchild knows, the Dutch bought Manhattan from the Indians, for the ridiculously low price of 24 dollars worth of beads and trinkets. There is, however, another, lesser known side of this. Evidently, the Indians who had sold Manhattan did not themselves live there or in any sense own it. The Dutch and the Indians alike walked away pleased.

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