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Your destination - New York

The city that would become New York began as a Dutch trading post. Henry Hudson, an English explorer hired by the Dutch, arrived in 1609 searching for a faster route to the Orient. He immediately saw the potential for trade as he viewed the sheltered bay and the river that ran into it. The local natives, who called themselves the Lenape, welcomed Hudson's ship, and thus began a profitable fur-trading business. Fifteen years later, Dutch colonists arrived to begin a permanent business enterprise -- New Amsterdam. The colony welcomed people from different nations who were willing to work. By the 1640s, there were 18 different languages spoken there. In 1664, the British decided to seize the prospering colony for themselves. New Amsterdam, whose spirit was more merchant than warrior, surrendered without a shot fired. By 1740, New York (as it was soon renamed by the British) had become the third largest port in the British Empire. Its population of 10,000 was more mixed than ever, including Europeans from many countries and 2,000 black slaves taken from Africa against their will. While the colony prospered from the efforts of this diverse population, not all was peace and harmony -- in 1741, the slaves rebelled, but were harshly put down. Meanwhile, the city became home to the greatest concentration of wealth in history -- and of poverty. It was like two cities -- one dazzling, one dark. Photographer Jacob Riis took shocking pictures of the terrible conditions of the poor, while the super-rich partied in their mansions and thought the poor were lazy. They marveled at the great skyscrapers being built and the new subways that roared below the sidewalk. The subways converged at Times Square, where music, theater, and nightlife melded into a new kind of popular culture that would soon be broadcast across the country.

On the morning of September 16, 1920, Wall Street was bustling with the new post-World War I prosperity. Suddenly, outside the House of Morgan, J.P. Morgan's investment bank, a bomb exploded. The perpetrators were never caught, though the police thought that anarchists, Communists, labor organizers, or other radicals were responsible. However, even this calamity, which left 38 dead, was not enough to stop the seemingly unstoppable upward march of the stock market. The next day, business continued almost as usual. The Cross-Bronx Expressway was a tremendous feat of engineering on an almost unprecedented scale. At 225 feet wide and seven miles long, its builders had to demolish many six- and seven-floor apartment houses to build it. On December 4, 1952, those who lived where Moses would build the Cross-Bronx Expressway were sent a letter telling them that their homes were in the paths of progress and that they had 90 days to get out. Built on a straight line, the shape of the expressway did not accommodate existing neighborhoods and the people who lived in their way. The Cross-Bronx Expressway was the most destructive expressway-building project in the city, but it was not the last. As Mayor of New York City during some of its most bleak years, John Lindsay had to be inventive when it came to balancing the city's enormous budget with its dwindling tax dollars. During his administration, the city borrowed heavily from banks until, in 1975, the lenders demanded payment, or else. When Lindsay asked President Gerald Ford to guarantee New York's loans, the president declined. He thought his stance would force New York to become more fiscally responsible. The next morning, THE DAILY NEWS headline covering the story read, "Ford to City: Drop Dead."


 
 


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