The story of America's national unity and the Homogenized Baby is not without interest at this point. If memory serves, it was on a prewar February day that the office boy was told to run down to the big newspaper stand on the corner and bring back the current issue of half a dozen foreign-language dailies. Some one had made a speech the night before on New York as an un-American city.
The speaker offered in evidence the babel of tongues you hear on the subway and in front of the Broadway movie palaces. He was even more deeply impressed by the numerous publications he saw displayed on the Broadway newsstands in outlandish tongues and alphabets. Our foreign-language papers are a long-standing grievance. As far back as one can remember they have been deplored as an obstacle to the assimilation of the newer Americans. It is, on the face of things, a charge not to be lightly dismissed. Read more
It is frequently not realized that despite New York City's more than fortyfold growth during the nineteenth century the net contribution to the city from the American hinterland was, on balance, nil. In 1800 the area within what came to be the five boroughs of New York City contained 79,000 persons, or 1.5 percent of the national population. It may be calculated that approximately 1.6 percent of the country's white residents were then in this area. A century later the federal census classified America's heads of families as either of native or of foreign parentage.
The native parentage group consisted largely of descendants of the residents of the United States in 1800 (the early American stock), though it also included a not insubstantial number of grandchildren of immigrants who had arrived during the nineteenth century. New York City in 1900 had only 1.4 percent of the white families in the nation headed by persons of native parentage. Thus, New York's relative share of the white early American stock declined between 1800 and 1900; it follows that New York very likely was more a place of emigration of this stock elsewhere than a destination. Read more
New York : Centers
Strictly speaking, Rockefeller Center is not a center at all. People use the word in two closely related meanings, of which Rockefeller Center meets neither. With capital letters we have Medical Centers and Civic Centers, and some years ago we tried hard to get a Music Center but did not succeed.
This kind of center means a large group of buildings -- sometimes it may be one huge building as in the case of one of our Medical Centers -under one administration and dedicated to a single line of business. It may be the business of taking care of sick people or the business of governing a city, or the business of providing New York with musical recreation and education, if we had got our Music Center.
Frequently the Center is our old friend the District. We have the Garment Center which means the district in which the garment industry is concentrated, as we had or still have the financial district, the leather and dry goods district, old Newspaper Row which was the newspaper district, and the insurance district, all of them downtown. In midtown there is the shopping district and the publishing district and the theater district and the night club district.
Here are independent enterprises engaged in the same line of business. Sometimes we follow old usage and speak of the shopping district and the dry goods district. Sometimes we fall into the new usage and speak of the shopping center and the financial center. But the idea of a common pursuit is always there.
Career guidance can be a critical intervention for residents of large cities like New York.
Ultimately, a worker's question is: Can a living be made in New York City, and, if so, how?
New York : The American City
In the half century following the American Declaration of Independence New York City grew at a much faster rate (except during the Revolutionary War itself and during the period around the War of 1812) than it had during colonialism. The city, once its population had stabilized following the drastic shifts during and immediately after the Revolution, doubled and then redoubled in size within a very short span of years.
During this era its population composition more closely resembled the ethnic mix of the United States as a whole than at any other time in its history. But, ironically, as New York began to burgeon it simultaneously commenced to diverge in character from the nation since the newcomers from abroad (principally Irish Catholics) were regarded as quite different from the archetypal Americans.
The Revolutionary Period
New York became an American city in 1775 when revolutionary committees took over the municipal government. Between 1775 and 1783 political and military events brought about the most radical fluctuations in population in the city's history. The actual dimensions of the population movements, however, are subject to conjecture.
Points of Interest
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