The Growth of Hotel Industries in New York

New York City became the largest concentration of hotels in the United States. Light industries, hotels, and transportation lines clustered near the shipping facilities on the waterfronts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Financial institutions and business services, which originally arose to support the industrial and accommodation operations,subsequently became important sectors in their own right and clustered downtown in the Wall Street financial district.

The volatile retail district had shifted northward some 40 blocks from City Hall Park to Madison Square and Sixth Avenue between 14th and 23d streets by the 1890s. In addition to the basic functional specialization, residential areas in the industrial city were increasingly sorted by social class and ethnic origin. Many of the working classes lived in tenements near the downtown waterfronts, and the upper and middle classes moved to fashionable uptown addresses.

Elite residential districts gravitated northward along Fifth Avenue, which was lined with grand mansions of eclectic architecture, and finally stabilized around the southeastern boundary of Central Park by the 1890s. Because of massive immigration from Europe, more than 71 percent of New Yorkers were either foreign born or of foreign-born parents by 1890. African-American migration from the South increased during the early twentieth century.

As opposed to the socially intermixed mercantile city, distinct ethnic neighborhoods proliferated: recent Jewish arrivals congregated on the lower East Side (creating a vibrant jewelry trade in diamonds), many Irish and Italians in areas on the West Side, and AfricanAmericans in Harlem. The 1898 charter of the City of Greater New York incorporated the boroughs of Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), and Staten Island (Richmond County).

The Bronx (Bronx County) became a separate borough and county in 1914. By 1900 the enlarged city of 3.4 million people entered the corporate era as the largest metropolis, the main business and financial center, and the dominant headquarters location in the United States.

In 1916 New York City enacted the first comprehensive zoning ordinance in the United States to regulate land use. With the development of the modern skyscraper, whose high-rise profile symbolized twentieth-century corporate power, office districts emerged both in midtown Manhattan and in the downtown financial district.

Subsequent decentralization of corporate functions occurred in the early twentieth century, as assembly-line production, management, and domestic consumption split into different spatial locations.

Finding a Deal For a Hotel Stay

The journalistic notion of edge cities has drawn popular attention to the post suburban metropolis where tourists can find their hotel deal. Urban geographers have long argued that the emergence of an outer city of decentralized metropolitan realms has superseded traditional notions of downtown and suburbia.

The edge city of integrated office-retail development favors corporate campuses and shopping malls that bring significant employment to the metropolitan fringe. The development of the hotel compartment and retail clusters began with the corporate relocations of the 1960s and 1970s.

The greater New York region contained four traditional downtowns, including midtown and downtown Manhattan.Since at least 1960 wealth has dispersed to the metropolitan periphery, but poverty has concentrated in central areas. One recent indicator of suburban affluence is the percentage of county households with 1990 annual incomes above $100,000. Westchester County led the nation with the 18 percent of its households enjoying such affluence.

Seventeen percent of the households earned more than $100,000 in Morris County, New Jersey; Fairfield County, Connecticut; and Nassau County, New York. The proportion for Somerset County, New Jersey, was 16 percent; for Hunterdon County, New Jersey, 15 percent; and for Rockland County, New York, 15 percent. Manhattan, where 13 percent of households earned more than $100,000, ranked eighth among the twenty-four metropolitan counties. Of the five New York City realms, Manhattan has benefited most from the postindustrial transformation.

Expansion of the office sector there has led to growing affluence south of 110th Street, where various districts have experienced gentrification and displacement. Urban revitalization has also affected districts with convenient transportation connections from adjacent realms, such as Brooklyn Heights on the east and Hoboken, New Jersey, on the west.

Yet deindustrialization has had a devastating effect on many districts in the outer boroughs and the inner suburbs. Although Manhattan retains a resilient core of wealth in the central city, outlying counties such as Westchester, New York, and Morris and Somerset, New Jersey, generally show the highest per capita incomes in the metropolitan region.