Hope it isn't too annoying to Pittsburgh and Cleveland readers if a bunch of reflections about my trip in NY show up here. My stated goal here was always to not just talk about any one place but create a forum to contrast, compare and learn about all cities both inside and outside the region. Also, this was supposed to be a group blog in which many people are posting about events, opinions and experiences.
New York is sort of the Rosetta Stone of American urbanism, in that at least in part it learned many of the basic rules of being a city and applied them very well.
For starters--one must admit that some part of the city's success as a financial center in recent years has had a lot to do with corrupt, insider political connections and that a large number of it's largest banks should have failed.
Even so the city's dominance in so many fields; finance, insurance, real estate, law, accounting, publishing, film, music, theater, food, fashion, design, journalism architecture, Art, medicine, education, consulting, tourism and it's ability to both evolve and attract new people and regenerate itself over a long period is something few U.S. cities can claim.
BTW, NYC was until fairly recently also a very, very large manufacturing city and is now an important location for technology companies.
Some would say, New York's deep large harbor; solid rock for large scale skyscrapers and early settlement gave it a huge leg up, but clearly something about the way the city formed--the early adoption of a clear simple street grid, investments in transit played a huge role.
I will post some of my thoughts-as someone who knows the city pretty well. Obviously, I see some lessons to be learned in both it's life, and near death experience in the late 20th century.
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