How New York Started

2024-07-09 00:00:00 / episode: 394


Hi and welcome to the English Listening World podcast episode number 394. This podcast is for listening practice. I have 35 words and expressions highlighted in today's story for you to get practice listening to. In particular, the expression 'as … as' is repeated. I will put the full list of highlighted words in the description below. Today's episode is about Peter and his question about New York.


  1. What did Peter love to read about?
  2. Why did Henry Hudson explore the Hudson river?
  3. Who settled by the Hudson river first?
  4. How did the English get New York?
  5. Why was the Erie Canal important?

Peter's Question

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Peter who lived in a small town. Peter had big dreams. He loved to read about faraway places, especially New York City. Peter was fascinated by how big and bustling the city was, and he wanted to know how it became so enormous.

Peter's grandfather, Grandpa Joe, loved to tell stories. One summer evening, Peter asked, "Grandpa, how did New York City get so big?"

Henry Hudson

Grandpa Joe smiled and began his tale. "Well, Peter, it all started a long time ago with a Dutch explorer named Henry Hudson. He sailed as far as he could up a river that is now called the Hudson River. He thought it was a passage to Asia, but it was not. However, he discovered a beautiful land and a good place for a new city."

Peter listened eagerly. "Then what happened?"

The Dutch

"The Dutch liked the place and decided to settle there," Grandpa Joe continued. "They called it New Amsterdam. As time went on, more people from different places came to New Amsterdam because it was such a good spot for trading. They brought goods from Europe and traded them for furs with the Native Americans. The city grew as much as it could to keep up with all the new people and businesses."

Peter's eyes widened. "But how did it become New York?"

The English

"Ah," Grandpa Joe said, "in 1664, the English captured New Amsterdam and renamed it New York, after the Duke of York. From then on, New York City grew even faster. It became a melting pot, where people from all over the world came to start new lives. Immigrants arrived with dreams as big as yours, Peter. They built houses, shops, and roads, as far as the eye could see. The city spread out, building skyscrapers and bridges."

Peter imagined the bustling city with people from everywhere speaking different languages and building tall skyscrapers. "What made it keep growing?"

The Canal

"Many things," Grandpa Joe replied. "The city was built on a good harbor, making it the perfect place for ships to bring goods from around the world. As the economy grew, so did the city. The Erie Canal was built in the 1820s, connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes. This made it easier for people and goods to move west. Then, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, New York became the entry point for millions of immigrants arriving through Ellis Island."

Peter was amazed. "Did people come from everywhere?"


"Yes," Grandpa Joe said, nodding. "They came from Europe, Asia, and many other places. They brought their cultures, foods, and ideas, making New York City a vibrant and diverse place. The city grew upwards with tall buildings, and outwards as much as it could, with new neighborhoods and boroughs being added. The construction of the subway system allowed people to travel easily, which helped the city expand even more."

Peter smiled, imagining all the people working together to build the city. "So that's how New York City got so big."

"Yes, Peter," Grandpa Joe said, patting his grandson's head. "New York City grew because of its good location, the hard work of its people, and the dreams of those who came to make a better life. Just like you have big dreams, so did the people who built New York. And as long as there are dreamers like you, the city will keep growing and changing."

Peter went to bed that night dreaming of the bustling streets, the tall skyscrapers, and the many people who had made New York City what it is today. He knew that one day, he too would be a part of that grand story


  1. What did Peter love to read about? He loved to read about faraway places.
  2. Why did Henry Hudson explore the Hudson river? He thought the river might be a passage to Asia.
  3. Who settled by the Hudson river first? The Dutch settled there first. It was a trading post for them to get furs.
  4. How did the English get New York? The English captured New York. Then they named it after the Duke of York.
  5. Why was the Erie Canal important?
    The canal made it easy to transport goods to the west. This made New York even more important.