The Literal and Figurative Immensity of New York City

While visiting New York City in 2020, travel vlogger Johnny Harris (previously) wanted to find out what was behind the incredible literal and figurative immensity of New York City.

I felt like New York had this outsized presence in our country, that everyone thought that the United States was New York. Like it had some sort of huge pull on everyone’s mind and when I say huge I don’t mean the eight and a half million people that are packed into this city I also mean the outsized cultural gravity of this city.

While pondering this question, Harris came up with the top three reasons that originally made New York City so grand. The first of the reasons is easy access to water, which the Dutch and then the English used to their advantage before the Revolutionary War.

The second is New York City’s outsized role in the expanding global industrial revolution in the city due to its ability to ship while not being a revolutionary city like Boston or Philadelphia.

The third, and perhaps most important, is immigration. The people who came through New York through Ellis Island and settled in New York City. Many filled the industrial jobs that created products to be shipped around the world. These three factors became intertwined to build the largest thriving metropolis in the country.

…Back in the 1800s a global interconnected supply chain was sort of a newish thing and New York City was uniquely placed to take advantage of this new process. …the city exploded with industry. This boom in factories and industrial production is really what built this city from the actual buildings and infrastructure to the population as workers flocked to the city for jobs. …as this city became the industrial hub for making stuff for people around the world a steady flow of immigrants started flowing into New York City, mainly from Europe, at first. Some of them were fleeing war or oppression, starvation and some were just looking for a new life to take a risk to try something new and New York was there to meet them.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.