New York: the World's Capital City: Its Development and Contributions to Progress

New York: the World's Capital City: Its Development and Contributions to Progress

New York: the World's Capital City: Its Development and Contributions to Progress

New York: the World's Capital City: Its Development and Contributions to Progress

Excerpt

Momentous events, swift-moving and illuminating, did more than the authors to shape this book. An account of New York's development, begun before Hiroshima, took on new meanings and reached a dramatic climax when the city became the World's Capital. In retrospect the experience was much like starting a narrative about one community and shifting, halfway, to another city--in a different world. In the light of rapidly changing conditions and new concepts of New York's role in the new scheme of things, constant and drastic revisions were necessary.

One effect was to provide a historic perspective and to focus attention upon many phases of the city's evolution which seem to have a significance hitherto unrecognized, especially by New Yorkers.

Writers of fiction declare that characters of their creation often seem to take matters into their own bands, playing fast and loose with preconceived plots and theses. Something of the kind happened in writing this story of an imperturbable city that refuses to explain its motives or methods, defying analyses or contradicting their conclusions. At any rate, the project was well advanced before an unexpected, insistent and dominant theme forced its way into the manuscript. Thereafter, the problem was bow to deal with a mass of interesting but dissimilar material, seemingly unrelated to the basic thesis, which persistently demanded consideration.

A vast literature is concerned with New York. Few communities have more voluminous histories and the torrential flow of material is continuous but, like Niagara, it leaps into view momentarily only to plunge into a misty whirlpool. For half a century at least, New York has been making history faster than it could be recorded. A number of histories of old New York were written during the last decade of 1800. Many excellent historic works have since appeared, but most of them deal with special phases of the complex metropolis. So far as we . . .

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