Magnet for the ambitious, lodestone for talented and oppressed alike, mecca for business people and immigrants, New York City has stood for over 350 years as the critical center of American life. From its origins as a primitive Dutch outpost to the sprawling urban complex it is today, the defining characteristic of New York has been continual, dramatic, and rapid change. This new edition features a new preface by the author in which he discusses the impact of the events of September 11 on the city, as well as an updated final chapter on the Giuliani administration and the recent history of New York. In this classic text, Lankevich illustrates how New York has always combined principle and pragmatism in its role as a pace-setter in business, communications, education, urban policy, and cultural life. Emphasizing the cyclical nature of New York's history through tides of crisis and renewal, Lankevich offers the definitive short history of America's most important and vibrant city. By understanding the history of New York, we obtain a vital sense of what America was, is, and can become.