New York: America’s MEGACITY

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Every urban center has its monuments, its history, its skyline, but great cities are more than buildings, great cities Have a pulse and few mega cities capture the complexity Chaos and vitality of a living system more vividly than New York, yet for a place So deeply embedded in American culture It’s fascinating origins often go overlooked After all no city becomes the Celebrity’s playground, this city that never sleeps, the melting pot, the mother of exiles and the American dream overnight While it is no longer the largest metropolis on Earth. It is still the most influential, but as this fast-paced Capitalist Mecca Matures its confronting a unique set of challenges Let’s take a bite out of the big Apple, America’s Mega City One of the most remarkable things about this concrete jungle is how quickly it’s rotted up Compared to the other two mega cities We’ve profiled so far New York is relatively young, less than 400 years ago the city looked like this In 1609 the Island of Manhattan was found by an expedition. Its leader Henry Hudson realized immediately that it was a Geographical gem the ideal location to build a city. A large river ran along its entire Western Shore and on its Eastern Edge was a narrow estuary connected to a large Bay Its Southern tip was flanked by two more large bays and dozens of Islands including the much larger Long Island which shields Manhattan from ocean storms and And as we saw in our previous explorations of Mexico City and Bangladesh Containing and distributing clean water to residents is often a keystone challenge for dense urban centers on this front however New York City reaps the benefits of Nature direct contact with water ensures reliable access while elevated terrain spares it from excessive flooding but back to the 17th century, after word reached Europe that Hudson had discovered what he called “As pleasant to land as one can tread upon” the mercantilist minded Dutch sent 30 families to build a settlement called New Amsterdam in Exchange for some metal kettles, axes and cloth the Native Americans who hunted throughout the area gave the Dutch the Island slaves were immediately brought in to begin building the town the Town’s population reached 700 in 1664, but it still wasn’t receiving very much support from the crown back in Holland, so English King Charles II swooped in and with four warships Captured the town without resistance. He then gave the colony to his brother the Duke of York And you can guess what they called it. By the end of the 18th century, New York had become an important Port City, then came the Revolution that changed everything In 1776, New York joined the other American Colonies and declared independence from the English After getting kicked out of Boston the British responded by sending an entire fleet of redcoats to seize and occupy New York which they held for seven years until George, Washington Led his victorious Rebel Army back into the city After the war, New York briefly served as the capital of the newly formed United States until the federal government moved to the more centrally Located district of Columbia. It’s fascinating how that came about The Decision was ultimately up to President Washington But he left it up to his two right-hand men to figure out. In a backroom deal brokered by James Madison over dinner Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton of New York agreed to allow the nation’s capital to move south to Northern Virginia the home state of secretary of state Thomas Jefferson. In Exchange Jefferson agreed to support Hamilton’s financial plan which included the creation of a powerful Central bank Soon after, the New York Stock Exchange was established laying the groundwork for lower Manhattan to become the financial capital of the world Today its home to the two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization A couple more events in the early 1800s helped accelerate the City’s growth. A grid pattern of streets was laid out Providing an organized plan of expansion to the North and the opening of the Erie canal in 1825 This increased New York’s importance as an export center of goods Agricultural products and raw materials that could now be easily transported from the resource-rich Great lakes region Around this time the city became the Gateway to America as large numbers of German and Irish immigrants arrived Between 1820 and 1850 New York’s population quadrupled Many of these newcomers had to settle in tenement houses without proper sanitation or clean water Diseases like Cholera, Typhoid and Smallpox became rampant. The construction of the Croton aqueduct One of the world’s first great modern water distribution systems helped to solve this problem and hygiene began to immediately improve In order to preserve the fast-growing city’s connection to the environment a 600 acre area of swampland and squatter shacks was set aside for preservation and eventually transformed into Central Park Today, it’s the most visited Urban park in the country Heading into the 1860s slavery was deeply dividing the Northern and Southern States New York was the epicenter of the abolition movement when the Civil War began in 1861, After Abraham Lincoln was elected president a riot broke out as angry white mobs attacked blacks Who they blamed for low wages and the war Hundreds were killed Despite the unrest the city’s economic engine roared as it became the vital source of financing and supplies for the two million soldiers strong Union war effort After the northern victory brought peace to the country New York’s industrialists were free to focus on building In 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge was completed linking New York to the third largest city in the country The 1880s also brought electricity to the city and by 1893 there were 1,500 arc lamps illuminating New York streets. In 1898 the state legislature incorporated Manhattan and the surrounding four boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island into the city of New York instantly doubling its population and quadrupling its land area After leading the earlier fight to abolish slavery, New York was now the leader of the women’s suffrage and workers rights movements This culture of inclusivity also welcomed African-Americans fleeing the destruction and segregation of the south They largely settled in an area on the upper west side that became known as Harlem the cultural capital of Black America Electricity made the city at the center of nightlife in the roaring 20s By the end of the decade the New York Metropolitan area’s population had grown to 8 million passing London to become the planets largest urban area In 1931 the City Also had the world’s tallest building as the Empire State building rose to dominate the skyline in an almost ridiculous way World war II brought another wave of immigrants fleeing the chaos and destruction in Europe When it was over, New York status as the unofficial capital of the world was cemented with the construction of the gleaming United Nations complex along the east river throughout its history New York has also been a core force behind major social movements that have focused the country’s vision while Unifying New Yorkers as a community with a common identity The city played an important role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s as leaders like Dr.Martin Luther King Rallied support through the New York-based news media the Gay Rights Movement counts Greenwich Village as its epicenter This neighborhood was also the site of a crucial battle between the powerful developer Robert Moses and residents Led by activist and author Jane Jacobs, their grassroots movement ultimately blocked Moses from carrying out a project That would have bulldozed the village and the area now known as Soho in order to cut through the heart of Manhattan with a giant expressway Paul Goldberger: “The lower Manhattan Expressway was To have connected a Holland Tunnel with the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges It would have destroyed most of Soho we would have lost One of the greatest inventories of 19th Century buildings not just in New York, but in the world” Jane Jacobs: “The highways of course destroyed the neighborhoods that they went through. Where was this going to end? The whole place was going to be laced with highways What would we have left of Manhattan?” By making it work for the automobile and as it became clear That urban highways were in fact profoundly destructive It really became a battle between opposing forces” In the 1970s and 80s economic problems and the crack cocaine epidemic Created a spike in crime, but modernized police strategies and the rebirth of Wall Street helped solve these challenges Today there are less than 400 murders a year in the city, down from a high of over 2000 in 1990 Of course New York still lives with the traumatic memory of its worst day September 11th 2001, when more than 2,500 civilians and first responders died in the tragic attack on the World Trade Center In the 16 years since One World Trade Center has risen from the ashes to become the tallest building in the western hemisphere Today the New York Metropolitan area has over 20 million residents Just to be clear, the city of New York has about 8 and a half million people But for the purposes of this mega city series, I’m using entire Metropolitan Populations because that’s a city’s labor market, its economic zone if you will. Anyway, New York no longer is the largest city or metropolitan area in the world But it’s still massive population presents tremendous challenges. For one, its subway is one of the busiest transportation systems on Earth. Its ridership nearly doubled from 1 billion annual riders in 1990s to 1.8 billion today, but the amount of track and Subway cars has stayed the same This crowding has bogged things down The system-wide average on time rate has dropped from 90% Over the last decade to just 65 percent, the silver lining is that a 17 billion dollar Second Avenue Subway line Is coming online. The first phase opened this year But the remaining three phases could take more than two decades to complete. Another issue is exorbitantly expensive housing. Costs in some high-end areas have been driven up by foreign Investors like wealthy Russians and Chinese Who like to park their fortunes in the Ultra-Secure, New York Real Estate market But the root cause of high prices is simple supply and demand Whenever new housing development is built with affordable units it gets ten times as many applicants as there are units available to rent The mega Developments, Essex Crossing Hunters point South and Pacific park that are going up throughout the city are seeing this firsthand In the near term, the high-end housing shortage will be eased, slightly By the 28 acre Hudson yards mega development, at an estimated total price tag of over 20 billion dollars This new neighborhood is the most expensive real estate project in American history Another future mega project getting people’s attention, for different reasons, is Cornell Tech on Roosevelt island in the East river The school joins the more than 120 colleges and universities in the city and will feature the world’s first High-rise residential building that meets Passive house energy-efficient principles Projects like these make it clear, New York City is cultivating the human capital needed to tackle the world’s biggest problems Thanks to climate change New York will have its fair share, as we saw firsthand after Hurricane Sandy Flooded large parts of the region, there is no bigger threat to New York City than rising Seas That storm caused nearly twenty billion dollars in damages with New York’s coastline expected to be between one and two feet higher by 2050 Now is the time to start planning for the future, whether that’s designing flood and seawall solutions that blend with existing infrastructure Or embracing a policy known as managed retreat where areas are simply abandoned in favor of higher ground With so much at stake there’s little doubt New York City will meet these challenges In many ways it represents the best of our modern world its dynamic, creative and socially tolerant, its embrace of sustainability proves that capitalism and Environmentalism are not incompatible, and it’s people which speak 400 different languages and are 37% foreign-born prove that, even in one of the most densely populated urban centers on the planet, if conditions are good there’s plenty of room for everyone to get along Thanks for watching. I want to give a shout out to the museum of New York whose video on the city’s history really helped me out I’m curious to know what you think it is about New York that most makes it what it is today And what you think will be its biggest challenge in the future, if you like this video subscribe and check back soon We’re headed to Cairo Egypt next For TDC I’m Brice Plank


  1. I've been to New York back in 2015 and I've been totally dissapointed. This city looks like a shithole, full of homeless people and a huge crime rate. Moreover, travelling with the subway makes you feel somewhere in Somalia or Congo. I couldn't believe myself when I seen rats in the subway and too much garbage.

  2. Be mindful that using the words “found” “discovered” regarding European invasion of the Americas is ignorant and most a poor choice of words.

  3. Do about Lima, the biggest city on western South America by far, with the same population size as Hungary in its urban area (and 12 million if we consider the metropolitan area), that comes with its own challenges that give an image not only from the city but also from the country.

  4. Cou,d you do a series on China's Ghost city's city's that do not have high residency rates built in the last ten years?

  5. If you add in Philadelphia to New York which they’re less than 100 miles apart New York becomes within the top 3 cities on Earth. Currently just alone it stands at 15th

  6. The English didn’t capture New York that easily. It was actually retaken twice. Once during one of the anglo-dutch wars which was won by the Dutch, after which the Dutch granted the English new York since it was quite useless at the time. And once more when a dutch commander seized the colony for a couple of months in ‘64.

  7. I live in sparse and secluded Montana. I'd much rather live here than a big city. However, I love to visit big cities as often as I possibly can because I find them immensely fascinating. Thank you for this series, it has only made me love big cities and piqued my interest even more.

  8. We should give it back to the Dutch. Maybe they would fix its crumbling infrastructure, housing crisis, filthy streets, convert it to the metric system and make it better poised to deal with climate change both in prevention & maintenance. The US is nothing but a toxic cess pool of fat, sick, and dying worker bees whose sole purpose is to fatten the pockets of our government's billionaire coffers. I hate it and hope it is conquered by a real, more sensible country.

  9. looks like Harlem used to be affluent even with Black people it just never recovered as quickly as downtown from the urban decay of the 70s.

  10. In 00:53 he says "One of the most remarkable things about this concrete jungle is how quickly it's ???" in subtitles it's "rotted up" but i cannot find the meaning of this. After listening again I realized that the subtitles could be wrong… can anyone help me?

  11. I am Rasedul islam * Professional Kindle, CreateSpace eBook Formatting Expert. I also do Fillable PDF and PDF editing. I always try 100% customer services.

  12. If you’re planing to come here to NYC, don’t. Be ready to deal with looking for parking for hours!!! Crazy traffic, crazy tourist drivers, constant fight for seats on the subway, too many homeless, too much garbage everywhere, too many rats, too many roaches, too expensive. Small apartments that pay $2500 dollars, if you could live anywhere else but here, go there. I wish I set my life elsewhere

  13. ..I went there this year. Chicago, New York, DC, Savannah Georgia, etc. There are parts that are really good. But some parts are not. In general, the people are not that great. Some are ok, but not really great. And some are really rude and rough. I didnt like the culture of tipping in restaurants. I dont mind tipping but some people feel insulted and annoyed depending on how much tip you give. And 20% is just insane. I dont mind the ghettos. I guess you have that in any country. You can avoid those places if you want, but I guess I expected more out of my trip because of what I see in movies, and felt disappointed when I saw the reality. Its not a sad country, it is lively and not ugly, it is beautiful, but not great. Maybe great in economy, great in military, etc. But I didnt see greatness. Its not visible to the eye when you go there. To be fair, Chicago had tall buildings and wide roads, and Savannah has very lovely streets and community. Some people would like the busy life in New York, but here you will see how typical America is compared to other countries. Overall, I would give it a 6 out of 10. So far, I feel Spain and France are better just judging at face value. Compared to UK? Hmmm maybe equal in terms of level – but they are very different in many ways.

  14. It's great that they are making these expensive housing buildings but that just moves the poor further away and doesnt really address the problem making affordable housing should be a priority not these multi billion dollar estates… just my take but I'm dumb

  15. "Wise up" America this is bull your country was already there Tartarian buildings you inherited them learn your real history they lie

  16. Just stayed in New York for a couple days for the first time. Wow! What a massive, diverse, breathtaking city. It's bigher and greater than you first realised. I've been before but not to where I've actually have walked around the city for hours and riding on buses. The experience was something else. I still can't get over how huge everything feels. How it would take a life time to see it all!

  17. I apologized to wholefoods, cvs, and food bazzar, and the
    Latino for the broken tree!
    I am in dire need of a job, i just got fired from EPIC SECURITY!!! Ricardo Hamilton jr ID 21361

  18. May I suggest a idea to explore on cities. I'm Canadian, live in Montreal. I have visited the USA, mostly in the Northeast and Southeast. The US and Canadian are very similar in many aspects: City development, city grids, cars and highway infrastructure. But on the ground, I noticed so many US cities with large poor inner city neighborhoods and lack of good public transportation. In the few large Canadian cities, the inner core neighborhoods are very vibrant w good transportation systems. Why is that? Why not research and do a video on this topic.

  19. Make a video on Mumbai. It is the epicenter of everything in India. It has a vibrant history and has had its fair share of trauma. Home to two of the largest stock exchanges in the world, and an epicenter of Immigration. It's much more than just some asian city.

  20. Ur country is beautiful n strong..but one day Islam will destroy u,,Islam is a very dengerous deasieas…finish dis, remove Muslims from each parts,, otherwise one day u will finished by them

  21. Это великолепно!!!!
    Very nice!!!!Thanks!!!!!?

  22. The next city in America to grow immensely and large is Denver. By 2050 itll be like New York or bigger.

  23. Actually New York is home to more than 800 spoken languages and dialects, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

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