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New York City

New York City

About New York City

8,336,697 in city
22,103,232 in metro
308.95 mi² (800.17 km²)
3 ft

New York is home to the world’s first tall commercial buildings and has a heritage of skyscraper history like no other city.

New York, located on one of the world’s great harbors, was settled by Dutch traders in 1624. It never lost the aggressive, business-like spirit they planted here. After the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, it surpassed Boston as America’s business capital. By 1870, real estate values in lower Manhattan were forcing buildings into the air, made possible by technical advances such as the elevator and innovative iron framing. The first tall office building to go up was the 130’ Equitable Building. Within five years, this height was doubled by the 260’ New York Tribune Building.

Conservative New York lost the lead in skyscraper innovation to Chicago during the 1880’s. But by the mid-1890’s, it had caught up with Chicago’s advances, and the race to the sky was on. By the Depression, skyscrapers were sprouting in large numbers around Grand Central Terminal in Midtown. Today, Midtown ranks as the world’s largest downtown area, while the Wall Street district is so big that the 12 million square feet of office space lost on 9/11/01 equals that of Cincinnati.

A tragic chapter was added to New York’s history in September 2001 when the World Trade Center collapsed. Despite this dramatic setback, optimists hope to rebuild downtown better than ever.



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