Port of New York
Review and History

The Port of New York is the biggest city in the United States and an important seaport. Located at the mouth of the Hudson River, the Port of New York is about 122 kilometers northeast of the Port of Philadelphia and some 345 kilometers southwest of the Port of Boston. Containing five boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island), the Port of New York metropolitan area covers Manhattan and Staten Islands, western Long Island, and a small part of New York State's mainland. Its boroughs are almost like different countries in this truly international city. It is North America's most-used gateway to the world. Covering almost 79 thousand hectares, the Port of New York's population was over 8.2 million in 2007, and more than 18.8 million people lived in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area.

The enormous Port of New York is a worldwide center for business and commerce and one of three centers (with London and Tokyo) for the world economy. Home to the United Nations, it has received millions of immigrants from around the world over the past centuries. The Port of New York is the largest regional economy in the United States, with a gross metropolitan product of over $1 trillion per year. The Port of New York is perhaps the United States' most influential financial, business, real estate, media, and arts center. The Port of New York is home to 43 Fortune 500 companies and has more foreign corporations than any other American City. Out of every 10 private sector jobs in the Port of New York, one is with a foreign company. The Port of New York is also the location of some of the world's most valuable and expensive real estate. Property on Park Avenue has sold for over $17 thousand per square meter. Manhattan alone contains over 3.2 thousand hectares of office space.

The Port of New York's Midtown Manhattan is the biggest central business district in the country. Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the country, and it is home to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. More than a third of the Port of New York's wages come from the financial services industry. The Port of New York has the biggest television and film industry in the United States after Hollywood, and its creative industries are a growing and vital part of the Port of New York's economy. Other growing economic sectors in the Port of New York include biotechnology, software, game design, internet services, medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities. Manufacturing is still a large part of the Port of New York economy, but it is has a shrinking share of the jobs. Products produced in the Port of New York include chemicals, metals, processed foods, and furniture. The Port of New York exports some $234 million worth of chocolate exports per year.

Port History

In 1600, seven Wappinger tribes with about eight thousand members lived in 30 villages in the Hudson River Valley and on what would become the Port of New York and the New York-Connecticut border. After Europeans arrived, that population quickly began to shrink. Smallpox arrived in the mid-1630s and again in 1692.

By 1700, their population was perhaps 10% of its original size after having one epidemic after another (including malaria) sweep over their lands. Some 1600 Wappinger were killed during the Wappinger War of 1643-1645. After 1700, only a few hundred of the indigenous people remained in the Hudson Valley. By 1758, almost all had left what would be the Port of New York. One group remains of what may be Wappinger peoples, the Ramapough Mountain People, in northern New Jersey.

The first two Europeans to see the Port of New York Harbor were Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609. When Hudson reported the protected harbor and rich farmland to the Dutch West India Company, they decided to establish a trading post on the southern shores of what was called Manna-hata Island. By 1626, the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, and the Port of New York, had been established. The future Port of New York was not the first Dutch settlement in the New World, but it was the most prized.

Peter Minuit arrived to purchase the land for the future Port of New York in 1626 for goods worth about 60 guilders from the natives that lived there. Minuit and those that followed were sent to get furs and build trade, and this mission led to the development of one of the world's greatest cities. In 1638, the Port of New York was clearly active as the Dutch governor reported that a quarter of all buildings were grog shops serving sailors.

Slowly, the Port of New York moved to the north. Farms were laid out, and trade with New England and the rest of the world despite clashes with the indigenous peoples. Peter Stuyvesant is probably the most famous Dutch governor. With a military background, Stuyvesant brought order to the unruly Port of New York. In 1653, as the Director General of New Netherland, he recognized New Amsterdam as an independent city.

Attempting to impose his country's religion on the increasingly multi-cultural area resulted in conflicts with the Quaker population that had settled Flushing in 1657. Stuyvesant was ordered to turn away from dissenters as long as they did not interfere with trade or civil society in the Port of New York. This was difficult for Stuyvesant, and he created hard feelings with his town burghers.

When the British arrived off Gravesend in 1664, he found himself alone in the fight for the Dutch Port of New York. He surrendered without a shot being fired. Stuyvesant then took an oath of allegiance to the British crown and remained in the future Port of New York for the rest of his life. The Dutch took the Port of New York briefly in the mid 1670s after it had been renamed to honor James II, the former Duke of York.

Resident Dutch and arriving English merchants worked well together, and were the Port of New York elite well into the 1800s. English governors of the Port of New York believed that its busy commerce would make their fortunes. In 1680, the Port of New York was declared the only port of entry for the colony, and its merchants happily conducted international trade. In 1686, Roman Catholic governor Thomas Dongan granted a royal charter to the Port of New York, promoting religious tolerance and representative government for the colony.

By 1700, almost five thousand people lived in the Port of New York. The Kings Bridge was built to connect the mainland Port of New York to the Bronx. Merchants, who had become aristocrats in the Port of New York, avoided imperial trade regulations, and royal governors were bribed to ignore their activities. By the early 1700s, class and ethnic conflict was becoming evident in the Port of New York.

A spirit of independence was also growing in the Port of New York. A 1735 libel suit against a local journalist on the part of Governor William Cosby ended in a finding of not guilty, signaling the coming importance of a free press and the growing boldness of colonial citizens. In 1756, assembly leaders forced the royal governor of the Port of New York to accept a set salary, a humiliating action.

In 1765, the Port of New York was the scene of the Stamp Act Congress, and the Sons of Liberty used violence to fight the imposition of excise-tax stamps. The Port of New York's merchant community forced repeal of a British non-important program in 1766, and the assembly would not deliver food to British soldiers in the Port of New York. By the early 1770s, violent conflict between the British and the Sons of Liberty were almost constant. In 1770, the first battle of the coming revolution took place on Golden Hill south of the Port of New York current City Hall.

In 1774, just months after the Boston Tea Party, the Port of New York's tea party was held in the light of day and without costumes. New York called for the Continental Congress, and the Port of New York's residents forced the governor to flee to a ship in the harbor.

Despite its bravado, the Port of New York was not "heroic" during the American Revolution. While George Washington knew the Port of New York was of vital strategic importance, he could not defend it. The Port of New York was occupied by the British for seven years. During that time, its population shrank, and two fires destroyed many buildings in the Port of New York.

In 1783, the British finally left the Port of New York, and Washington returned to the city. Quickly rebuilt, the Port of New York was both the state capital until 1797 and capital of the United States' early Confederation from 1785 until 1790. In 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as President in the Port of New York, and it was the site of the first meeting of Congress and the first sessions of the Supreme Court. In 1790, the United States capital was moved to Philadelphia when John Adams was President.

Even though it lost status as the Nation's capital, the Port of New York population boomed between 1781 and 1800 when it became the country's biggest city. Trade also boomed, and even the War of 1812 could not slow Port of New York development. When an auction system was established in 1816, the Port of New York's position as a power economy was established.

When the Erie Canal opened in 1825, the Port of New York enjoyed even greater commercial success as trade from the country's interior flowed across its piers. At the same time, legal, insurance, and manufacturing industries were growing fast in the Port of New York.

By the middle of the 19th Century, the Port of New York handled more people and cargo than all other American combined. The Port of New York contributed more soldiers to the Union than any other city during the American Civil War, and it was the scene of the Draft Riot of 1863.

The Port of New York riots lasted four days when poor immigrants rose in protest over a new draft law that would allow draftees to buy their way out of service. The Port of New York was overcome with murder, looting, and arson. Blacks were hanged from trees and streetlights. Rioters fought police, national guardsmen, and the army while warships aimed their guns at the Port of New York. Over two thousand people died during the riots, and thousands were wounded. Of course, business came to a halt.

The Port of New York benefited from steam ships, cheap rail and canal transportation, almost unlimited cheap labor, and a skilled professional base. Even with the financial crises of 1837 and 1893, the Port of New York continued to be an economic powerhouse. By the beginning of the 20th Century, it was one of the richest cities in the world.

Despite its wealth, the riches of the Port of New York's Manhattan area were not distributed evenly. The coming of the Democratic Party and Tammany Hall ended 200 years of domination by the merchant aristocrats. The party supported popular reforms that offered some protection to less fortunate Port of New York citizens. Tammany also struck against the anti-Catholic sentiments that had dominated the Port of New York in the past. With more and more poor immigrants arriving, Tammany Hall built a power base that continued for over 100 years in the Port of New York.

After the Civil War, pressure grew for the future boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens to merge. Not wanting Tammany Hall corruption, Brooklyn (a city in itself) resisted the merger. The Democratic machine held sway in the Port of New York, though. The merger was finally approved by voters in 1898, adding almost 1.5 million people to the Port of New York's population overnight. After the vote, the "machine" ruled the metropolitan area of Greater New York, and continuing waves of new immigrants maintained its popular support.

In the early 19th Century, the Port of New York machine created new and improve urban infrastructure. Subways, bridges, and a park system appeared. The Port of New York continued to grow, stimulated by the thriving garment industry, ongoing construction, and diverse manufacturing that provided jobs. The Port of New York's educational system trained millions of people for white-collar and government jobs that would become more important to the economy as the century progressed. By the 1920s and 1930s, Tammany Hall was hit with a series of scandals under the Port of New York's Mayor James Walker that brought reform.

In 1921, the Port of New York Authority was established to administer the shared harbor interests of New York and New Jersey's Port of Newark. The authority was the first inter-state agency created under the Constitutional clause allowing compacts between states. The port authority's first responsibility in the 1920s and 1930s was to build inter-state crossings including the George Washington Bridge among several others. In 1937, the authority completed the first tube of the Lincoln Tunnel.

The administration of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was a high point in the history of the Port of New York. In spite of the Great Depression and World War II, the Port of New York received huge amounts of New Deal funding for construction and other projects. Tammany Hall was brought under control, and the Port of New York government was centralized. The subway system was completed. The mayor was hard on crime. When he retired, Tammany Hall began to retake control.

After World War II, the Port of New York faced serious problems. The port lost its long-time dominance in ocean-borne commerce. Manufacturing began to decline. The Port of New York's resources shrank as demands for services grew and the municipal bureaucracy multiplied. Mayor Vincent Impellitteri started a housing program in the 1950s and allowed Port of New York workers to form unions. He broke with Tammany Hall and destroyed the power machine forever. While he made some major visible changes, he did little to address the Port of New York's growing urban problems. Impellitteri was defeated by Republican John Lindsay in 1965.

In the decades of the 1950s and 1960s, the port authority played a critical role in the Port of New York region's post-war boom by improving and expanding the trade and transportation infrastructure, creating new terminals, tunnels, bridges, airports, and seaports. The port authority further promoted trade and ports when it constructed the World Trade Center , two towers that became a hallmark for the Port of New York until the tragedy of 2001 brought them down.

While Mayor Lindsay tried to bring order to the chaos, the Port of New York continued to deteriorate over his two terms. Strikes were called, attempts to reorganize municipal government resulted in more bureaucracy, and attempts to encourage minority participation in government and schools led to ethnic conflict. While he increased taxes, he was unable to control the Port of New York's sky-rocketing budget. Winning re-election as a Liberal-Independent and then later a Democrat, Lindsay found himself isolated while the Port of New York continued to decline.

Old-time politics had its last hurrah in the Port of New York when Abraham Beame was elected in 1973. Unfortunately, his stay in office was a disaster. The Port of New York was near bankruptcy, and the State took control of the city's budget in 1975. Jealous people all over the country cheered and predicted that the "Big Apple" could not recover.

The port authority's name was changed in 1972 to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, better reflecting its bi-state role. In the 1980s, the port authority undertook industrial redevelopment in the Port of New York region, implementing several projects in both states that included the Teleport in Staten Island, a resource-recovery plant, and industrial parks and waterfront developments.

Mayor Edward Koch brought the Port of New York back from the financial brink in the late 1970s in just one term. He worked with state officials, controlled spending, and established a modern system of accounting. He was so successful that both major parties in the Port of New York nominated him for re-election in 1981. Clearly, the politics in the Port of New York had changed. However, the mayor did not continue his love-affair with the city. He was intolerant, outspoken sometimes impulsive, and arrogant. His third term was a disaster when some of his appointments and elected officials were embroiled in scandals.

He lost his bid for a fourth term as Mayor of the Port of New York to in the Democratic primary to David Dinkins, an African American. While Dinkins was the fulfillment of a dream for many, he was not a good administrator. Crime and ethnic tension in the Port of New York increased during his only term, for which he was not re-elected.

In 1993, Republican Rudolph Giuliani was elected Mayor of the Port of New York, although party affiliation was not a major factor in the election. Giuliani had a good reputation as a career prosecutor. He promised to improve city services, control crime, and reduce taxes. Successful in his campaign against crime, he quickly won a national reputation. The Port of New York's welfare caseload decreased as a workfare alternative was established. However, the mayor could not solve other Port of New York social problems. Courts did not support all of his initiatives, and some people blamed him for reported excessive Port of New York police force.

Still, the 1990s brought renewed growth in both economy and population. New immigrants continued to flood the Port of New York while Wall Street enjoyed a sustained boom that benefited the entire city. Infrastructure improvements were finished, and the Port of New York was on the road to recovery. Yet the Port of New York was still vulnerable. In 1993, a bomb exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center. A thousand people were wounded, and several were killed.

In the 1990s, the port authority of the Port of New York focused on transportation and trade projects. Among the improvements were the one-dock ship-to-rail transfer terminal at the Port of Newark Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal in New Jersey.

In September 2001, the Port of New York flashed to international attention when two terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center complex killed almost three thousand people and destroyed the twin towers and one other complex building. Despite this tragedy, the reputation and influence of the Port of New York did not diminish. The residents of the Port of New York quickly resolved to more than recover in defiance of the terrorists. As the world moved into the 21st Century, the Port of New York continued to be one of the world's most important centers and a global tourist destination.

As the 21st Century began in the Port of New York, the port authority created a plan to rebuilt the World Trade Center, built a new rail tunnel, enhance port facility security, and upgrade the seaports to handle increasing international cargo volumes.

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