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Text 9. Main Cities of the USA
There are a lot of interesting and impressive cities in the USA but the heart of a nation is Washington, D.C., its capital. Washington is smaller in size than the largest cities of the USA, such as New York, Chicago, Detroit or Los Angeles, The buildings in Washington are not very tall because no building must be taller than the Capitol. But in political sense Washington is the center of the country and the most important city of the United States.
The two main sights of Washington are the Capitol, which houses the two chambers of the legislature, and the White House, the official residence of the US President. Not far from the Capitol there is the Library of Congress, the largest library of the United States.
One can hardly find a park, a square or an open area in Washington without a monument or a memorial. The most impressive and the best-known of them are the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. There are also a lot of museums in Washington where you can see all kinds of things: famous paintings and sculptures, the dresses of Presidents' wives, the original of the Declaration of Independence, etc.
New York is the largest city in the USA and one of the largest cities in the world. Situated at the mouth of the deep Hudson River, it has always been the gateway to the USA. People who come to New York by sea are greeted by the Statue of Liberty. It has become a symbol of the city (if not of the whole country) and an expression of freedom to people all over the world.
The five boroughs comprising the city are Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond. The center of New York is Manhattan Island. Numerous skyscrapers house banks and offices of American business. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the United Nations building, Central Park, Times Square, Broadway all these world famous sights are situated here.
The map of Manhattan seems unusual to a European eye. It is crossed from north to south by avenues and from east to west by streets. Each avenue has either a name or a number. The streets are numbered. Only a few of them have names.
Wall Street in Manhattan is the financial heart of the USA and the most important banking center in the world. Broadway is the symbol of American theatre. The intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue forms world famous Times Square, where New Year's Eve celebrations always take place. Park Avenue represents luxury and fashion because of its large expensive apartment houses. Fifth Avenue is the most famous shopping center.
New York is often called the cultural capital of the USA. There are more than 800 museums in New York. One of the best known is the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Los Angeles is America's second largest city. Its name comes from the Spanish for 'the City of Angels', because the land was originally claimed for Spain by missionaries in 1781. It became an American city in 1850 when California became part of the United States. Los Angeles is a popular place because of its pleasant semi-tropical climate and beautiful Pacific coast. Almost everyone drives to work. There are about four million private cars in Los Angeles and the level of air pollution is one of the highest in the country. Suburbs like Hollywood, the center of the movie industry, and Beverly Hills, where famous actors and other celebrities live, have also made Los Angeles a tourist attraction.
The third largest city in the USA, Chicago, is on the shore of Lake Michigan. Chicago is called the Windy City because of the strong winds that blow through it. Chicago is an industrial center. The city has always attracted a diverse population of Americans and new immigrants in search of jobs. Chicago is also a railroad and trucking hub. Its airport, O'Hare international, is the busiest in the world.
San Francisco is the most interesting city in the United States. It occupies the northern end of a peninsula, so it is surrounded on three sides by water. San Francisco is famous for its bridges, fog and foghorns. The greatest attraction of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge, which has become the symbol of the city. San Francisco is called the city of hills because it has 40 hills. It is famous for its picturesque cable cars, which climb these hills, and for its bright houses that cling to the hills along steep and narrow streets.
Of course, San Francisco has a lot of museums. But if you are tired of museums, you can visit Golden Gate Park, one of the largest man-made parks in the world, or go to Shakespeare Garden where you can find every flower and plant ever mentioned by the bard. San Francisco has a reputation as an intellectual, liberal, and slightly crazy city and his sights attract millions of tourists every year.