The Empire City

Note that my research has veered towards the relationship between the elevator and the city.

Berrol, Selma. The Empire City New York and Its People, 1624-1996. Westport, CT, Praeger, 1997.

This print book is a monograph and helped me examine the idea of what makes a city a city. By using this book, I was able to focus on New York City and see how it has changed over the years. Specifically, I was looking at the effects of an increasing population density and the way that high-rise buildings can define a city. The results were astounding. As New York City began to grow upward, the large population density created numerous congestion problems that were addressed through the construction of subways, elevated highways and more. There was also mention of New York’s first major skyscraper, the Singer Building, and the author described how it was the start of a thirty year period of an explosion in the number of skyscrapers being built and designed. A mention of Stuyvesant town, a collection of 13-story apartment buildings, also caught my attention. It was mainly populated by Jewish garment workers and was commonly known as the “Coops”. The increase of housing options brought about by higher apartment buildings can be used as a springboard for further research. I’m also interested in the human rights issues that might have been breached as a result of these new housing options. More importantly, I’d like to look more deeply into what it is that gives a city its character and how the implementation of taller buildings (a direct result of the elevator) affects this character.

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