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The Erie Canal Belt 337

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THE ERIE CANAL BELT 337. Where it is.—With your finger, trace on the map the location of the Erie Canal Belt. (Fig. 210.) What great bodies of water are at its ends? Find cities at thewestern end. Find cities at the southeastern end. (Fig. 204.) 338. The kind of region it is.—Think a moment about the great volume of trade in the St. Lawrence and Lower Lake Regions. Some of these goods pass out through the St. Lawrence River, but a great many more reach the sea by way of the Erie Canal Belt.

This region, then, like that of the Great Lakes, is a trade-route region. Try to see a picture of goods and raw materials continu ally passing into this region from other regions. Imagine millions of people work ing to keep these goods moving, and thou sands of boats and trains carrying the goods from one end of the region to the other end. If you can think of the Erie Canal Belt as an avenue or artery along which, by night as well as by day, goods and raw materials are for ever passing, pass ing, you will realize what a very busy region it is. Because of this and other reasons, the Erie Canal Belt is also a great industrial and manufacturing region. Nu merous thriving cities are situated within its bounds.

339. New York City.—We shall need to study New York City from three points of view: (1) As a crowded city, the center of a metropolitan district of many cities. (2) As a great port. (3) As a great manufac turing center.

(1) New York, the crowded city.—The City of New York was founded at the lower end of Manhattan Island. In 1800 it had 60,000 people; Philadelphia then had 69,000; Baltimore, 26,000. The people of New York thought that it would be a great advantage to them if there were a trade route between the Great Lakes and their city, because then New York would become the gateway of the commerce of the Lake Regions. So they set to work to build the Erie Canal, which would connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie. The task was completed in 1825.

The first boat to go through the Erie Canal brought a cask of water from Lake Erie, and the governor of the state, with great cere mony, emptied the water into the Atlantic Ocean as a symbol of the union of the two bodies of water. The canal has recently been

rebuilt so that it can carry much larger boats. It is now called the Barge Canal.

Thus did New York City secure the best route to the Great Lakes, and then the city began to grow more rapidly than any other in America. To-day it is one of the most crowded places in the world.

There are so many people and so little room in this city, that families rarely have separate homes. In stead, they live in build ings that are ten or twelve stories high. Each story is divided into several family apartments. Most New York children have only the city street for a playground, unless they are fortunate enough to live near a park or public playground.

Most of the steamers that carry passengers from various parts of Europe to the United States arrive at New York, so most of our immigrants land there. Sometimes 5,000 and even 10,000 have arrived in a single day. Many stay in New York, so the city contains many foreign-born people, repre senting fifty different races. More Italians live in New York City than in any Italian city. In one section of New York the people speak Greek; in another, Spanish; in another, Rumanian; in another, French; in another, German; in another, Chinese; in another, Russian. There are restaurants that serve food cooked as it is cooked in the home countries. The children from these foreign colonies go to the public schools, where they learn English, and soon become Americans.

340. A cluste; of cities.—There was not enough room on Manhattan Island for so many people, so towns sprang up on Long Island and on the mainlands of New York State and New Jersey. Now the City of Greater New York includes Brooklyn and Queens to the east, Richmond to the south, and the Bronx to the north.

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