The Modern City

In the 19th century, New York City became a great ground for urban excitement and economic opportunity, which had especially attracted blue-collar U.S.

citizens and immigrants looking for employment. As a result, the city became one of the most populated and ethnically diverse areas in the entire country, even out numbering prominent European countries. The city was also what could be called a cultural mecca, diving into en epoch of Greek-based architecture, skyscrapers, sports, museums, and recreational parks. “Architects played a key role in what is sometimes called the American Renaissance or City Beautiful movement”- Out of Many. Furthermore, the innovations in urban transportation systems, that resulted with faster speeds and extensiveness, helped to increase the rate of manufacturing in factories by also aiding large amounts employees who could travel to the city quicker and easier.

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But for as many architectural and industrial revolutions as there were, New York City was also plagued by intense air pollution (created by the coal burned in factories and railroads), overcrowded living communities, and unsanitary conditions and facilities that helped spread municipal viruses, such as tuberculosis, smallpox, and scarlet fever. So as a quote from Out of Many could efficiently summarize, “New retail and service businesses followed as the dynamism of the great city radiated outward while the bulk of industry and pollution remained behind,” meaning a city for opportunity to those who had the endurance to stay in the bustling speed and survive.