General Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

Which people were primarily responsible for building New York City to what we know it is today?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4372points) September 4th, 2012

Also, what factors played a role into making New York City a hot spot? (Example, San Francisco and the gold rush created tons of building expansion and overall population grown in S.F.)


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12 Answers

janbb's avatar

this is such a big question that it is almost impossible to answer:

The Indians
The Dutch
The English
Stanford White
The Vanderbilts
The Astors

etc., etc., etc.

If you want a fairly painless way to learn about the history of New York City, you might wnt to watch Ken Burns’ 5 part documentary series called New York.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it’s position at the mouth of a river and the presence of many natural harbors and access to a great deal of natural resources within a week’s carriage ride probably played a big role in its development up until the late 1800s.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Ellis Island and the immagration from Europe. Up until WWII, 10 percent of the population of the US lived in NYS. It’s pretty easy to have a great city with that kind of resources.

mazingerz88's avatar

All sorts of people with similar dreams of civilization, I guess.

ETpro's avatar

Great question. The factories of the North East needed great port cities. Boston, New York and all the other port cities played a role in making this nation great. And New York particularly was the gateway through which all the immigrants that made America what it is today first came to this country. The American Dream made New York a great city.

MarcoDemarco's avatar

Like the rest of this country, New York City was built on the backs of immigrants. The amazing variety of food and culture, the arts, and the diverse and wacky people who live here make NYC such an intriguing destination. Also, people really like to stare up at skyscrapers.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Who were the major project managers? For instance, in a town called National City in San Diego a man with the last name of Kimball headed on a project to build a majority of National City even having a park named in his honor. Mr. Kimball’s workforce consisted primarily of left over Chinese railroad workers in California.

wundayatta's avatar

Try Robert Moses, who designed and built much of the highway system around the city. He may have been wrong in his vision for the city, but he was extremely influential in determining how it looks today.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Mayor Bloomberg can be credited with creating the nannystate that New York City is today.

wundayatta's avatar

A Republican? Creating a nanny state? What is the world coming to?

Sunny2's avatar

The invention of elevators made higher buildings practical, so, Mr. Otis.

janbb's avatar

You might want to look into Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux if you are investigating physical planners of New York City. They designed and supervised the building of Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn and thus had a huge impact on the shape of the city. One of the facts that I find absolutely fascinating when I teach my course on Novels of New York is that the grid of the city all the way up to and through the park was laid out decades before “uptown” was actually developed. You can see pictures of Manhattan with the streets laid out and farms in between.

Another big factor in the development of the city was the construction of the Erie Canal which allowed goods from upstate and inland to be brought to New York’s harbor for exportation. This took place in the early part of the 19th century.

Unlike smaller cities which may have had only a few builders or project managers, New York has a long history of evolution and growth which is why I suggested the excellent documentary cited in my first post.

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