Monday, February 28, 2005

New York, New York - A Survey by the Economist

The town of the talk

The Economist has published a "survey" of New York City. They last did this in 1983. I have fond memories of adventures in the Manhattan of 1981, but it was a rough place then. It's changed. A few interesting tidbits from the series:
...The city's population has reached an all-time high of 8.1m, and a higher proportion of its people—over 36%—are foreign-born than at any time since the 1920s...the Dominican Republic provides the biggest chunk of immigrants, with a share of 13%. China comes next with 9%, then Jamaica with 6%. No other country has more than 5%...immigrants make up 43% of the city's labour force, including over a third of its workers in finance, insurance and property, over 40% in education, health and social services, more than half in restaurants and hotels, 58% in construction and nearly two-thirds in manufacturing.

... The residents of just 20 streets on the east side of Central Park donated more money to the 2004 presidential campaigns than all but five entire American states.

...One big reason why New Yorkers have been able to rescue their neighbourhoods, attract people and smarten up the city is a dramatic fall in crime, which began in the 1990s and continues apace. Once notorious for its threatening streets, graffiti-covered subways, drug-addled hobos and general air of menace, New York today—as its businessman-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, rightly never tires of saying—is the safest big city in America.

... at the end of last year, the median price of an apartment on the island was $670,000, over 15% higher than a year earlier and more than three times what it was in 1995, according to Miller-Samuel, a property consultancy. As Manhattan's established areas climb out of reach, young professionals colonise and upgrade other neighbourhoods. People are getting used to the idea of a $1m house in Harlem...
And about 9/11
... About a quarter of the office space in lower Manhattan—the country's third-largest business district—was destroyed, and 23 buildings damaged.

... About 40,000 people normally worked in the twin towers, and around 150,000 visitors passed through the World Trade Centre complex each day. At the time the first plane struck, at 8.46am, the offices were not even half full. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, between 16,200 and 18,600 people were in the towers, and around 87% of them escaped...

... Leave out the passengers and crew on the aeroplanes that were flown into the World Trade Centre, and about 2,600 people were killed in New York on September 11th 2001. Put that tragic number in perspective, and you can perhaps see how it is possible for New York to be a powerful magnet for talent, youth and energy once more. In 1990 there were 2,290 murders in the city; last year there were 566. Thus even if a September 11th were to occur every other year, the city would by one measure be quite a lot safer than it would be with crime at its 1990 level and no terrorism.

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