Every city is unique. What distinguishes New York is the profound presence of world trade - like no other place in history, the world trades in New York City. It has led the nation and now the world in the fields of commerce, culture, finance, communications, politics.
This is owing to natural features so compelling that in the 1790s, when the city's population totaled 25,000, George Washington predicted that New York would one day dominate the hemisphere and become, in his phrase, "the seat of empire."
Resulting patterns and effects illustrate New York as both shaped by and shaper of national and international affairs. Among them:
* Wall Street;
* Federal Hall;
* Ellis Island;
* a surpassing array of tall buildings;
* the attacks of September 11th;
* this city's (and this nation's) primary ethic and values.
With a simple walk through downtown we read New York as the primary center of global activity, as capital of the world.