History of New York City (1978–present)
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|History of New York City|
The history of New York City (1978–present) has seen a modest boom and a bust in the 1980s, followed by a major boom in the 1990s, with mixed prospects since then. This period has seen serious racial tension with more calm in very recent years, the dramatic rise and fall of crime rates and a major reinvigoration of immigration and growth taking the city population for the first time past the eight million mark. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center had a huge impact on the city.
Koch and Dinkins
Compared to the 1970s, the 1980s were a time of restrained optimism in New York. The boom on Wall Street was fueling the speculative real estate market, and unemployment numbers dropped noticeably, however, the city's reputation for crime and disorder was still very much a part of New Yorkers' daily lives.
The 1980s was a time of much racial tension in the city, including the highly publicized murders of three African Americans in "white" neighborhoods in separate incidents: Willie Turks in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn in 1982; Michael Griffith in Howard Beach, Queens in 1986; and Yusef Hawkins in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood in 1989, in addition to the much-publicized "subway vigilante" shootings by Bernhard Goetz in 1984. On April 19, 1989, a woman known as the Central Park Jogger was badly beaten and raped, and a gang of African American youths were charged for the "wilding" incident; the case was touted in the media as an example of how rampant crime had become in the city by the late 1980s. The illegal drug trade had flourished in New York, causing the murder rate to soar, and dividing the city into areas ruled by different drug lords. It became known as the crack epidemic
Homelessness became a serious problem during the 1980s, specifically in the last two of Edward Koch's three terms as mayor (1978–1990). The city outlawed discrimination against gay and lesbian people in such matters as employment and housing in 1986. In 1989, Koch was defeated by David Dinkins in the Democratic Party primary in his bid for a fourth term, and then Dinkins narrowly defeated Republican Rudolph Giuliani in the general election to become the city's first-ever black mayor. Crime began a 15-year decline in 1990 during Dinkins's administration, but a combination of continued racial strife (such as that in the Crown Heights Riot in 1991), and an extremely weak economy (in January 1993 the city's unemployment rate reached 13.4 percent, the highest level of joblessness seen there since the Great Depression) caused Dinkins' popularity to seriously decline (including a threat by residents of Staten Island to secede from the city).
On February 26, 1993, six people were killed, and thousands of others injured, in the World Trade Center bombing when a truck bomb was detonated in a basement garage of Tower One.
In late 1993, David Dinkins was defeated by Rudolph Giuliani in his bid for reelection.
The city rebounded in the mid- and late 1990s due to the steady expansion of the national economy and the Wall Street stock market boom that took place concomitantly, as well as the precipitous drop in crime, although stubbornly high unemployment remained a local problem. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, is credited by many for revitalizing Times Square and making the city more "liveable" by cracking down on crime. Changes in the worldwide economy during this time proved to be especially favorable to New York because of its highly developed transportation and communications infrastructure, as well as its massive population base. Over the course of the decade, the city's image transformed from being one of a bygone, decaying metropolis to one of the world's preeminent "global cities."
Critics argue, however, that the drop in crime came at the price of greater friction between police and some of the city's ethnic groups, and less concern for civil liberties, citing the Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo incidents. Some point out that other cities also saw major drops in crime, although during Giuliani's term crime in the city fell more rapidly than in most other major U.S. cities, such as Detroit or Los Angeles.
As for sports, 1994 saw a great chapter in the city's sports history, with the New York Rangers finally winning their first Stanley Cup since 1940 and the New York Knicks making it to the NBA Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Houston Rockets, at the same time.
The Knicks made it to the NBA Finals again in 1999, where they lost in five games to the San Antonio Spurs. The New York Yankees began a dynasty led by manager (and New Yorker) Joe Torre winning the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
The airplanes, designated for transcontinental flights and therefore fully loaded with jet fuel, crashed into the towers in the early morning hours of September 11. The crashes ripped gaping holes into the towers, and ignited fires that caused the towers to collapse. Nearly 2,900 people, including both New Yorkers and visitors to the city, perished in the attack, as well as several hundred police officers, firefighters and EMTs. The 9/11 attacks led to a temporary exodus of business from Lower Manhattan to places such as Midtown Manhattan, Jersey City, and Brooklyn, as well as elsewhere, along with the need to reposition the broadcasting antennas of several television channels. The attacks also drew attention to the works of mayor Giuliani and led to efforts to enhance security in the city itself.
On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, killing all 260 people on board and five others on the ground. Although initially feared to be another act of terrorism, the crash was eventually found to have been caused by pilot error.
On February 27, 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), after receiving input from thousands of people all over the world, revealed a design for the World Trade Center site. Designed primarily by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the plans envision a 1,776-foot-tall tower named the Freedom Tower to help restore the Manhattan skyline to its former grandeur. The site pays homage to the events by leaving intact the slurry wall (which withstood the force of the destruction and held the waters of the Hudson River back), and by keeping the footprints of the towers available as a memorial site.
New York City was affected by the 2003 North America blackout on August 14, 2003, at 4:11 PM, leaving the city without electricity for over a day. Unlike in the New York City blackout of 1977, there was no major looting.
Over the next ten years, a wave of public and private-sector building projects reshaped large sections of the city, and a residential construction boom has resulted in permits being issued for over 25,000 new residential units every year. While the 2012 Summer Olympics ultimately went to London, New York was among the finalists and the campaign resulted in a plan to replace Shea Stadium with a new stadium.
Hurricane Sandy brought a destructive storm surge to New York City on the evening of October 29, 2012, flooding numerous streets, tunnels and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts of the city and its suburbs.