Lower Manhattan is a great display of various eras, a sort of outdoor museum that shows a nineteenth-century city becoming an international center.
Natural features destined New York for greatness. During the 1800s and beyond a series of innovations - for example in construction, transit, mass culture and the delivery of water - drove New York to the full-bore, high-octane place known to us today. We read the possibilities of the coming industrial age in the daring form of the Flatiron Building, the glitz of Ladies Mile, the glass of a cast-iron structure and the landing mast atop the Empire State.
The once-glamorous area around Madison Square shows how the city and then the nation took off.