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6. The future New York

The double-sided aspect of New York has existed ever since it was settled first in 1625. The momentous ups and downs in the past will certainly remain in the future, although they cannot be predicted. History has taught us, that highs and lows in economy, immigration and other sectors come spontaneously, without the slightest warning. For now, New York City is developing in a very positive way, despite the "minor" problems, characteristic of every major city.

For one thing, decaying infrastructure, unemployment and crime make up the city's gravest concerns. Although Mayor Rudy Giuliani seems to have the crime issue well in-hand, the number of murders has reached approximately 1,600 annually. In comparison to 1945, when the total of murders was about 300, the increase is stunning, especially when taking the population into consideration. In 1945, New York counted approximately 7.5 million inhabitants; the number shrank to 7.3 million in 1995. The future can on the one hand have an increase in population in store, since immigrants swell the United States. On the other hand immigration is restrained by the government.

Before and during World War II, manufacturers settled in New York, offering more than one million jobs. Now the number has shriveled to a pathetic 300,000, not enough for a 7 million populated city. In general the modernization of most industries has left bitter unemployment behind. It will most probably be even worse in the future, now that computerized technology has taken over numerous productions and has even infiltrated into everyday life. A major concern in the Information Age is the modem. Of course it is an advantage to every home and business, although it retards New York City's broadly spread messenger service. With the progress of "helpful" gadgets, like the modem, a densely populated city like New York is near petrification. That surely might sound silly and not expected in the near future, but 10 years ago, New York pulsated with business more than it does today.

New York's future undoubtedly cannot be observed from that angle, otherwise it would fall into a long lasting depression. Immigrants play a vital role in New York's future. As discussed before, the problem of increasing immigration seems to pull America's last pennies out of the Budget. One aspect of this issue, not to be forgotten, is the multinationality of the USA, that is a symbol especially for New York. It binds cultures and therefore diverse thinking and in general develops a melting pot of creativity. Numerous businesses rely on multinationality and the connections established because of it. The American Dream has become reality for some foreigners, who came to the States to avoid the oppressions in their home countries. Most of those who came have opened a wide horizon for future investments and foreign trade.

Tourism is essential for New York City's annual income. In order to pump up the already decreasing numbers, the Big Apple will have to create new attractions. Except for the usual fascinations, namely The Twins, the Statue of Liberty, the shopping malls, Fifth Avenue and museums of all kinds, new concepts are needed to save the city, like the already discussed "themed entertainment" districts and a reformed Times Square. To keep up with the expectations of tourism, several changes are necessary, not only of the city, but of its inhabitants too. It is often implied that New Yorkers need to change their attitude towards visitors. A campaign has even been launched to teach that proposed friendliness, although most New Yorkers won't change their minds that easily. Fran Lebowitz, a New York writer, looks at the issue from a very disputable standpoint.

"Nice? Nice? To tourists? I'd like to stand on one of the bridges with a machine-gun and hit them before they come over." Spotlight: Minding their Ps and Qs. Munich: Spotlight Publishing House, September 1995, p. 6.

In general New York's future cannot be forecast as the weather. It can hold positive and negative aspects in stock. One thing is certain though, whatever happens can be positively influenced, if the potential is there.