Why Is New York What It Is? (Also, Happy Birthday Mom!)

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First and foremost, I would like to wish my mom a very happy birthday! Since she let me head out on this adventure in New York this summer, I figured the least I could do is show her some love via the Elon in NYC blog on her special day.

Which brings me to this adventure in NYC, which seems to be dwindling much faster than I would like it to be. I think I’m still in shock that we’ve already started the Wall Street section of our class, which is the fourth and final leg of this eye-opening experience.

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Now I’m not going to lie—I have to admit that out of all the sections of this class, the Wall Street one made me the most apprehensive. I’m an English major, so the numbers involved in finance and economics are just not my forte. Quite, frankly I was convinced that whatever we would be talking about would go straight over my head.

Yesterday, though, as Dr. Tom Teimann started the day off with a lesson on the economics of cities, I learned that this section was going to be about a lot more than just numbers. We actually discussed what a city is and why cities even exist. It fascinated me that economics is the basis for why New York, or any city for that matter, exists.

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Our view of the Manhattan skyline from the subway in Brooklyn.

These cities exist because they are the lowest cost way of doing something. For New York City, before WWII this something was manufacturing, but now that something is knowledge based industries. Which is interesting because all of these “knowledge based industries” are the industries that my classmates and I have internships in—publishing, entertainment, advertising, public relations, high fashion, finance, education, etc.

We also learned the definition of a city: a center of population, culture, and commerce. As many times as I’ve tried to explain New York City to people, I feel like I’ve been at a loss for words, but this definition might just be the perfect way to describe New York. It is a center of population, culture, and commerce.

And that is exactly what makes New York what it is. New York is what it is because it has so many different people and so many different cultures and so many different businesses, but they somehow intertwine to make something that is uniquely and beautifully its own. Without all of these things, even if just one were missing, New York would not be the same city that I’ve fallen in love with this summer.

I love that in New York I can be walking down Fifth Avenue and run into a Hare Krishna parade one week and the next week there is a gay pride parade. I love that I can go to a hot dog eating contest one day and a ballet performance the next. I love that I can run into someone from Ireland and someone from Indiana within minutes. I love that I can walk into a Trader Joes or I can go to a specialized cheese shop. I love that I can be surrounded by dozens of tall buildings, but walk fifty feet into Central Park and feel like I’m away from it all. I just can’t help but love New York.

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And I learned yesterday that I have economics to thank for that. So thank you, economics, for making New York City the wonderful, crazy, fantastic way that it is.

2 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed your blog tremendously. I love the pictures! I feel I have been on this adventure with you and I hate for it to end. One positive thing, however, is that you are my granddaughter and that means we will be off to a new adventure soon! I m so proud of you, Madison!


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