tv Manhattan Skyline CSPAN August 13, 2016 6:50pm-8:01pm EDT
we hear about the economic history behind the skyscrapers and lower and midtown manhattan and learn why there's a gap in the iconic sky line. the skyscraper museum of new york city hosted this event. it's about an hour. >> first i would like to thank carroll very much and the skyscraper museum for the ini have tage to talk. mr. barr: grateful for the opportunity to discuss my research and the book itself. today, going to give -- i'm going to give one slide on the book itself. very quick overview. just talk about some of the ain topics and the key themes. one thing. could you keep me on time? perfect. the majority of the time we'll focus on one specific question, which is, why does the manhattan skyline look the way
it does, why does it have a particular shape, why do we see one large cluster of skyscrapers downtown and another one several miles to he north in midtown. there's relatively few skyscrapers even to this day in the area in between. so building the skyline, just very briefly, is a book about my research and i'm an economist at rutgers newark. over last decade or so, my interests have primarily been in studying the economys of cities, the economics of real estate and skyscrapers. and much of this book discusses my findings from this research agenda over the last decade. so the book is an economic history of the manhattan skyline and from 1626 to the present, perhaps you're
wondering what 1626 has to do with the modern skyline. i'll leave that for you to read in the book. the questions that i seek to answer in the book itself are, what were the early real estate decisions that ultimately gave rise to the skyline? what have been the economic of skyscrapers since the late 19th century, and how do these economics influence the number, height, location of skyscrapers throughout manhattan? so that's the book. in a nut shell. going to talk is focus on one particular topic. i want to talk about the shape of the skyline and to try to answer the question about why there's two centers and why skyscrapers are missing from the area in between. over the years i found that
there hasn't been that much research on it and there are, however, a few conventional wisdoms. people talk about a few different items as having been influential and i hope to convince you that these two most frequently discussed items or i should t -- say the evidence doesn't support these conventional ideas. so then i'm going to talk about these conventional ideas and then talk about why the evidence doesn't support it and then i'm going to go on and give you what i have found and what the data suggests about what's going on or what went on in manhattan history. i'd also like to say that much of this research was performed -- much of the research in today's talk as well as the book was performed with my colleague and co-author, troy, who is an economist at fordham university. just wanted to give a little shoutout to him.
k. manhattan skyline is a bit different as opposed to other sky lines throughout the world. if we look at this slide, as an example,, we see what we might call as sort of the classic look, the classic skyline look. i know it's small. but it's meant to sort of illustrate what aerial shots of skylines tend to look like. here's san francisco. chicago. boston and philadelphia. they each have, generally speaking, one dense con glom ration of tall buildings. the height of these buildings tend to fall off in general rather rapidly. as one moves out of the business district. that's not to say that there are -- that's not to say that
each skyline is not unique in some way or there's little subtleties that i'm not going to discuss. chicago, for example, extends along north michigan and so forth. these skylines have a more standard pattern in the sense of having this sort of central business district and then the ower rise buildings around it. what we can say about these is they all have sort of similar histories in the sense that they're all business districts that formed near the historical ports. and they resulted from a series of positive feedback loops. early settlers, they developed the area around the port, they come and settle in philadelphia or boston and so forth. and so then there's a lot of
port activity over time, as the city grows, as the economy became more sophisticated and technology developed, businesses began to become larger and the revenues that they were generating were much greater and as a result these businesses tend to push outs remain dents -- residences who then tended to move to the outer areas of the city. as businesses grow, it attracts more businesses and different industrial clusters and it puts pressure on land values and then as a result developers aim to build more -- provide more space or build taller. and then in the late 1880's, early 1890's, when the technology and the cost efficiency for skyscrapers emerge, cities like chicago and new york got into the
kyscraper game as it were. ut manhattan has a different con figureration. you have lower -- configure ration. you have lower man -- configuration. you have lower manhattan which fits the classic mold. then you have midtown, which does not. i'm going to talk about some of the evidence on how this came to be. since i probably won't have time for everything, i'm going to give you the conclusions up front. first, if we're looking for the roots of midtown, we have to go back to the 1830's. nearly a century before the art deco giant, this is the empire state building and the chrysler building. midtown proper, or what i call
midtown 1.0 was born around madison square in the early 1880's. by 1900's, by the turn of the century, land values and office rents are high enough in that neighborhood to establish skyscrapers as profitable investments. midtown after 1900's continued to move north, due to what i call creative destruction, and transportation infrastructure. creative destruction in this case is sort of a simple way of saying, as the economy evolves, as technology evolves, there becomes a need for newer buildings and buildings that provide new services and accommodate the new forms of work that occur over time. the second set of conclusions is as follows. the creation of midtown, i would like to argue, is due to
four major phenomena. the first is that the dutch few d to settle just a blocks away, yeah, ok, so over i think that way. basically, on the lower manhattan. today we ceeloer manhattan has expanded quite a bit and in fact i'm standing on a lands fill right now. they decided to settle at the lower tip of manhattan. the implications of this is that as manhattan grew, as the city grew, much of the economic activity would take place in a northward trajectory. this is happening in the context that manhattan is long and narrow and what this is doing is it's compressing, if you will, or it's making more concentrated all of the economic activity that's taking place in the city. keep in mind that by 1900's,
1.8 million people were living on the island of manhattan. so it's a relatively small geographic area with a very high concentration of population. in what i like to call a much of the action is along this 13 mile axis. another key thing is here in this country, americans had traditionally voted with their feet by moving out to what i would call the suburbs. as i go through the talk i am not talking about the modest suburbs of quarter acre lots. i am talking about living on the , middle and upper income people living on the outer edges of the city. there is nothing inevitable about that occurring. it seems to be the basic
reference we have in this country. this all emerging during the 1850's, what i call the first inversion. there is a pattern of where verts afteriving in the introduction of the streetcar. -- in verts after the streetcar let me move on to the most commonly emerged regions. ok, conventional wisdom number one is what i call the bedrock. . -- bedrock theory. call me crazy. so the story goes something like this. imagine we have a shovel, and you started digging. maybe not here, but along wall street or something like that. you start digging, eventually hit the bedrock.
where thet the, maybe bowling green is or something like that, i don't have an exact number, maybe 15 or 20 miles below the surface. as you walk north, bedrock -- bedrock starts to extend. he keeps extending until the lower east side where it hits the lowest part 300 feet below the surface. now after skyscrapers were invented in the late 1880's, 1890's, these buildings became .ery tall and very heavy it was at that point when engineers developed how to foundation.ablish a so the building does not lean or settle, or such like that.
so the story goes something like -- this is the story. the difficulty of reaching the rocks were to anchor the rock -- too the brit buildings on the lower east side, there are no tall buildings because of the difficulty in reaching the bedrock. but a sort of the end of the story from sort of a general perspective. it is missing a lot of detail. so we did some investigation into this. conclude led me to what i call the bedrock myth. it is a nice story but it does not hold up. so a paper by myself, troy, and a graduate student as well as given in chapter seven of the ink, we detail the evidence a lot of the tells -- a lot of
details. i went to summarize what we found. from the perspective of a developer and the demand story, the consumer. supply and demand is my stock in trade. -- and trade. we don't find any evidence of technological barrier. ine of the tallest buildings lower manhattan are built over the geologically worst environment. most notably the board municipal building. if you look at the cross data, what is called the marginal cost of going back to the bedrock is not sustainable to add to the cost of construction. it even relates to the case on technologies which were very expensive. once you establish, once you created these caissons and
started digging, the cost of going deeper did not matter all that much. the cost was paid up front. the majority of the costs were paid up front. importantly, i don't have it on the slide, but you look at the land values. the land values in washington so $180, $1900 or per square foot. you just need to walk. the cost of digging foundations were not that high. they were relative to the overall cost. we did some calculations, and we showed that a rational developer was looking to save money, save money, could have gone to the withwhere the land values $1600 per square foot, purchased , and would have reduced the total cost of the project substantially. but they did not do that, and the reason is because they would not have made the kind of revenue over the north of city
hall and would have justified paying those costs. with me here, because i am going to show you a graph. that is another one of my stock and trade. it may look a little scary, but it is not. i am telling you a story. here is the story. so this is, this is the latitude of the southern point of manhattan over there. latitude ofthe central park south. so we are going down to north. and so here is, this is measuring how deep is the bedrock below these buildings. each dot is a building. if you take a random., and you go over here and say, this. has drug from 40 meters below and is located a bit north of city hall near canal street, very simple. the triangles are skyscrapers.
we took all the buildings we could find that were 80 miles were taller and make them skyscrapers for the analysis. this is as of 1916. 70 meters was considered tall. so going south to north, the bedrock, it gets deeper and deeper. here is the area that is considered bedrock valley. backdrop one, if you look at these two buildings, they are built over the deepest bedrock in the city. if you read old articles from time, you can get these amazing chronicles of all the difficulties the engineers and difficulties -- developers had trying to create a foundation, but they did it. the reason they did it was because there was demand for these buildings. fact number two, if the desire to be in lower manhattan was createdbut the bedrock
a barrier, you would see over here a number of skyscrapers. so i am making this up as an example. say 133 meters was a natural barrier. then you see an 18 story building, but you don't see that. north of canal street, you jesse lowrise buildings. i want to mention that -- you just see lowrise buildings. i want to mention that. mostly firestone. this is what i think is a great bedrockillustrating how story does not hold up. >> do you mean the bedrock is closer to the surface over here? jason: it is relative. when you get to 14th street or go to central park, there are outcroppings, so some of it is
above the street level. the bedrock here, bowling green, the buildings here have bedrock just about 10 meters and then in this sample, maybe 45, 50 meters. if you keep going north along broadway for example, once you get out north of canal street and get to 14th street, once you are at 14th street, the bedrock is just very close to the surface. moving on. twoentional wisdom number is grand central station. what i call the grand central station. theory was as natural presentation hub. excuse me here for a second. i will take a minute here to how grandscuss
central station was not the birth or not the reason for the birth but the reason for the cause. promoted expansion in 1920. just a little bit of background here. in 1902, there was a tunnel crash and a debt forced the railroad to elect or five the tracks. and it forced the railroad to electrify the tracks. the trains ran on steam before that and tracks were open and uncovered. the current station was , and at that1913 point, park avenue was created and a little terminal city was created above the track. these were new york central ,romoted high-end real estate and you can see this today at waldorf astoria or the helms worth building, which is the new york central building. these were terminals promoted in the city.
the problem with the grand central station theory is, it was of little interest before 1913. i will talk about that in a minute. depotroadly, north of the , there was pollution. trains were running on coal and steam, and it was not a good environment overall. and furthermore, all the crosstown streets north of the station were highly constricted. some were only open to pedestrians. some were, a few were open to cars. you did not have the kind of east-west access you would have real estatemote development. as i want to show you, the first skyscraper was developed around madison square. these are the buildings, all the buildings we could find, that were created between 1890 and 1900 that were 80 meters or higher. they were all built in lower manhattan.
this is in year for the fact that it is 80 meters taller. bell over madison square garden. all of the skyscrapers built between 1890 and 1900 constructed in lower manhattan. and then around the turn of the 20th century, something happened. there was a jump. these office buildings 80 meters taller completed between 1901 and 1912. and if you look more closely, what you can see is the greatest concentration of these buildings. remind you, this is before grand central station was electrified and open. most of the buildings were built between union square and madison oh, i threw away my . next slide. this was in anticipation.
there was a hotel. causes?were the if grand central station is not there and the bedrock theory evidence is not there, what was going on? i want to turn to some of the evidence that we have collected over the years, and to do this, we need to go back in time to about the year 1830. during this time, much of new was, much of new york was contained in the lower tip of the island, and residential development only went up to about 13th street. it was relatively undeveloped below that. around 1830, there were two major renovations in transportation. the first with the omnibus. saw the new york city introduction of the omnibus,
which is essentially a stagecoach outfitted for urban use. it had several horses pulling these cars, and 15 people could comfortably ride in one of these. writing on imagine cobblestone street in one of these things was not very pleasant. introductionf the of the horse-drawn streetcar. this turned out to be a very important technological information -- innovation in new york's history. so the horse-drawn streetcar was, as you can imagine, you have the car which holds maybe 20 people let's say, and is pulled by a horse. but the wheels are embedded in rail, was are embedded in the street. the efficiency of the horse-drawn streetcar was important because it now, for the first time in new york city
history allowed people to commute. they do not have to be dependent on their foot, on walking to get basically from their homes to work. ok? so the first question is, what was the -- where were people living before the introduction of this? to do this, what i did was i went back to these old directories. new york city directories have been published probably annually since the second half of the 18th century. each of these directories, if you ask a 14-year-old mother phone book, he won't know. but these were like the phonebooks without the phone. they listed the person's name, their residence, and for many of these people or most of these people, they also told you their occupation.
you also have business directories, which tell you the name of the company and its location. i have used these residencies, these directories to sort of explore and understand the demographic patterns that were taking place on the island in the 19th century. so don't be scared, i promise it will all be cleared. so what i did was i collected the residential locations of three groups of people. those identified as merchants, those who were smith's, any kind of smith, iron smith, someone who is a craftsperson, and a laborer. these to meet represent three different economic classes. the green dots are the merchants. living.e the merchants the smith's are the blue dots and the laborers are the red dots. inthe merchants are living
the very heart of the old city. they are walking to their jobs on foot. the laboring classes are on the periphery, ok? this is what this graph tells you here. it is just a way to measure going from the lower tip north, so this is miles from the southern tip. you can think of it as the relative concentration of where people were living, but that is all you need to know. the greatest concentration of merchants in 1827 was from half a mile from the lower tip. the greatest concentration of laborers and smiths were a mile or two. the reason for this is because people were dependent upon .alking those with a means to have the lowest walk will pay for the right to have that lower walk. as a result, they get, merchants will live in the heart of the city, and the outskirts of the city will. be with those who have less income. but what happens in 1849? we see what i call the first
inversion. because of the streetcar, transportation and commuting is an option for many people, not everyone. i do the merchants go? well, they jump. where do they jump to? mile two. laborers ande merchants here to make it simple. where are the laborers? they are still at mile two, they moved to the outskirts as broadway became more developed. but the merchants now are living along washington square park, living on lower fifth avenue. so this is very important in my opinion, because there are several important implications for the skyline. here we are in 1849, but there are several important things. number one, it seems represented
the first time in american history where the upper class is given the option to commute, decided to move to the suburbs. before a walking city, living in the south, the heart of the city, after the streetcar, they are moving up to the northern areas of the city. second, the working class areas working-classy areas that had been in place in the early part of the 19th century. these are the neighborhoods that are going to develop as the lower east side. , the ethnicense enclaves, the cities of new york are going to emerge out of this fax that once the streetcar is invented, the laboring classes remain where they were, and they become, they are living out in the city center as it were. you have a business layer, the tenants layer, and then you have the upper income layer.
that is the second implication. this, it is suburbanization, moving of the upper income household, that is going to give rise to midtown. this as merchant work morphed into finance. ceo'srchants morphed into . so what i did was i collected the directory data for the people in finance, insurance and real estate, and corporate leadership positions, and i looked at where they were. i looked at where they were working and where they were living. -- oh, i am going to go to that in one second. but i want to say one thing before i go to the following slide. this is a working-class neighborhood. by 1855, you can see the classic
new york pattern on the lower east side. they are irish and german and have been coming to the united states for roughly 20 years. people.some 300, 400 so remember, the upper classes are migrating northward, and the density is accruing here because as the immigrants come from abroad, they settle in historical working-class districts. here is 1861, the red dots are the location of the finance, insurance, and real estate workers, what i call corporate service, ceo's as listed in the directories. so they are all working down here by lockheed. and in 1861, most of them are betweenn the center housing street and union square. job patterns stay
roughly similar. a little bit of spreading out, but a vast northward migration of the upper, this represents upper income groups. 1892, now they are starting to filter out of the westside to the east side. , upper west side, upper east side, central park west. all of this was made possible by another transportation innovation -- not yet. we don't even need that yet. we get the pattern, but you are right, the subway came after 1904. 1879, 1892 we, see this northward pattern, and it was possible by the elevated railroad. they were basically else out in 1880's. as i demonstrated in the book, their job essentially was to donald as many people as possible to their jobs in lower manhattan -- was to funnel as
many people as possible to their jobs in lower manhattan. people can now live further and further away while maintaining something of a reasonable view time. so here we are. so where is midtown in all of this? want too this end, i look at the firms. which businesses were looking -- moving from lower manhattan to midtown? based on these graphs, and you know, whatever i got? 10 minutes, perfect, i think i can do this. this is directory data from the business directory data. don't worry too much about what these mean. i will tell you what they mean. this is a shorthand way of 1882g in the year 1866, and 1898, bankers did not leave wall street. the point is the same, and that is roughly one mile .5.
anchors were not going anywhere. they could not leave lower manhattan. it was too risky for them to move to other places which might have more light and air and less congestion he could they just had to be in the heart of the financial district. same thing with lawyers. the fine thing is the bankers were at wall street, which is mile .5, and the lawyers tend to be at mile .6. i don't know exactly why that is , but they seem to be a little bit more north of the bankers. ok. however, when we start to look at the other companies that moved, we see a very different pattern. architects. in 1866 to 1882, all of the architects -- will i will say all, but the vast majority of architects were concentrated about mile .8. 1898,en in 18, by
sometime between 1882 and 8098, there was a vast migration away milelower manhattan to three, madison square. same thing with newspaper publishers. the reason is because they wanted to be close to their customers. as you look at the history of the new york times, it moved to madison square in 1904. harold square in 1990. they want to be closer to broadway theater, the restaurants, the nightlife, society. all of these things were very important to the newspaper. to be in the thick of it meant you had to move. , so for time constraints i am just going to summarize. this is essentially a very important piece of the story. thesewill just summarize
early midtown skyscrapers. flatiron, madison square garden, the creuset building, which is a speculative building built around madison square in 1911. these are perfect illustrations of the sky scrapers emerging in the early 20th century around addison square. let me summarize what was happening. throughout the northern century, the footprint was expanding starting in the 1830's. the wealthy begin moving up the island and jumped over the tenement district. the shopping and retail, which i have not detailed, follow the northward movement up broadway, 5th avenue, to be around union square and madison square. at some point as the concentration of retail, entertainment and other businesses became dense enough, certain kindslure
of industries away from lower manhattan to madison square. this includes publishers and architects. these were companies that depended on local customers for much of their business. and so this then created this positive feedback loop. other white-collar offices, other firms that were related to these industries then began to move to midtown. and out of that a new business district forms. yeah. the last slide, very last slide. what about grand central station? you can't see. is -- here is another one of these concentration maps. here is the story. in the 1900s and 1919, this is madison square. you have a few buildings over
here later in the second half of this 22 decade period. this is the lighting 2 -- 1920's and 1930's. grand central station and penn station on the westside. and then the 1940's, after world war ii you see a further northward movement, development of 6th avenue and the rise of the modern glass towers. all you need to know from this graph is that i took the average distance of these buildings from the lower tip over time, when a building was completed down here and how far it is, and you can put a trend line there. the basic conclusion is midtown stopped moving north in the year 1991. a sickly what happens is in the 1980's, you have this big boom moving west and north.
and since the late 1980's, the really has not been all that much in the way of awesome development. i will leave it there. that is the story. thank you. [applause] >> [indiscernible] we actually have a microphone and another but ia [indiscernible] ask jasonof you will on some of his theories. data.on, totally great ,our mining of data is really you put a lot of concentration in. could you though be underselling
the influence of grand central station? is themes to my mind development around madison square, as you argue, had strongly been influenced by the early grand central, like 1880's or 1890's. you could get off that train at 32nd street, which is the smoking unpleasant mess, and then take your horse-drawn streetcar five blocks away, and then you are in a much nicer area. couldn't the early grand central terminal also influence the development of those skyscrapers ? jason: great question. i will answer it in a way that i sort of think based on the data. there may be subtle effects at work.
obviously when you are looking have thens, you forest, you might lose some of the trees. a couple things i would say is that based on the commuting data -- so we collected the directories of data. thick 1905. where peopled was worked and where people lived. some example, the finance sector between brooklyn and manhattan -- the thing was, you really only included if you worked in manhattan or the bronx, because they were not going to go out and canvas your address if you lived in connecticut for example. these are people we know who works in new york city -- who work in new york city and live anywhere. one thing i identified is either knocking on your door or knowing where you live in new york city.
does that make sense? we know that these people were definitely working in new york city and living in new york city. there is a whole bunch of data points that i don't have here that are people living outside and working in the city. when you look at the traction, it only turned out to be less than 10%. 85% to 95% of the people who work in manhattan even as late as 1900 or coming either from manhattan, brooklyn, jersey city and the bronx, and then you are at 100%. so to your question, there is no real evidence linked from the point of commuting that rail commuting, like metro-north type in theuting, was present early part of the 20th century. so in that sense, it does nothing there was a type of hub yet to develop where workers, in during the day, they want to their offices, and then they get
the rails back home. that is one thing. the other thing i would just say is based on the -- let me just jump -- oh yeah, based on this supportse evidence that they were too far away. you know, you can talk about the flatiron building. a classic example of the first building to go up in midtown 1902, or the tallest building. the tallest building in 1909 was the metlife tower on madison square. so if grand central station was important, you would see some kind of building creep as it were, a tall building creep. you have banks, but i just don't see that evidence there. there might be a more subtle story i am not picking up, but that is my reading of the data. >> i am shocked that this
building has it entered into your discussion because i thought for sure you know the lower end of manhattan was already developed, and you just could not get the owners and residents to allow taller buildings. but the midtown was sort of undeveloped and more open to larger buildings. so is there some zoning factors? great question. i would argue the short answer is no. and justg in our data to overstate the case, long before 1916 when zoning goes into effect. so the patterns were already established. the pattern of midtown and being midtown was established from an office point of view in the 1880's and from a skyscape or
point of view around the 20th century. and this predates zoning by about 15 years. i hope that answers your question. zoning is obviously influential. .fter that, and of course today but it doesn't affect the patterns that were emerging, you know, in the earlier part of the 20th century. >> so you made a comment with regard to the cessation of the northward movement of skyscrapers, did you say 1990? jason: yeah. >> what is going on? what about 57th street? they are not commercial skyscrapers, but boom, boom, all of these buildings going up. are they in the next book? [laughter] jason: i know kyle has
exhibitions about the superslim buildings. so in terms of the northward movement, it is sort of a .ifferent trend in some sense most of these buildings here represent office buildings, commercial. so the super tall buildings that we are seeing now at least from the residential side of the , you know, maybe in a residential sense it is moving midtown north, but not in a commercial sense. that is the short answer. >> question about the blueprint. the lawyers and the architects -- jason: bankers, lawyers. that inxpress understanding the proximity of the customer and proximity to
each other. fromhere demand effects the bank from rent at all? these are a percentage of the workforce, right? are there more bankers, if there are more bankers, wouldn't that raise rent and drive other things as well? little bitought the about this. there could be a pushing out effect. but if you are pushed out, where you going to go? bronx,le went to the that would have been the most inexpensive place to go. aremember reading about company moving to tell him to get great light, and that he regretted that tremendously because they could not get anyone to come up in the early 1900s. tell him is different now. i am with you on that. it could have been a push out story. the place they decided to move to is what compels me to draw his conclusions.
jason. let's go like 100 years before the question about zoning. what do you think the influence about the grid was in establishing -- i missed the very beginning of your talk. the creation of the grid pattern of manhattan, and how did that affect the development or concentration or movement of the skyline? jason: good question. i want -- i don't want to go too much into detail. i differ to the expert on this. i don't have a great answer other than to say, i think it just allowed for the northward, this northward movement to sort of gradually. people just cap moving north. as block after block was brought into the grid, there just became
this sort of natural succession of developers to the upper west side, townhouses that were attracting upper middle and income families around the turn-of-the-century and so forth. my short response would be, i think the grid plan just sort of allows for these to take place. if the shape had been different, maybe it would have encouraged a different outcome. time ando back in encourage the commissioners to try a plan b, and then we could jump forward. but that is the way i would think about it. >> having read a good portion of your book, people may not know that you begin with 1609 and the
argument, eric sanderson, the wonderful explanation of what was the natural topography of manhattan island. and you make the point, which i algae ish, that john not geography -- geology is not geography. -- in some determine pages you are you that it does .ot determine the bedrock depth it does not. so geography is spatial flows rather than rocks on which people plant their buildings. those things are completely different. dography would have more to with economics. i wonder if you could comment on something in the book is you did not talk about tonight, and that was the jump change. district --nt tenant districts don't change.
so it heightens the use of that land because it is profitable to develop tenements and rent them out. you link the geology to those lower lying areas. it is the central trajectory of development of the island, is broadway and fifth avenue for the rich. you want to comment more on what was the reason that the edges for tenements don't change for 100 years? jason: ok, the big argument is the economic story. of -- howg to think telling. there is an economist with this hotel in -- hotelling model. but it is easy to demonstrate in his model that the central point is always going to be sort of the most desirable.
you have the lowest net sorry,ration --i'm it is the most desirable universally because it will always have the lowest net total cost to get to the center. you see what i am saying? so naturally if the center is most desirable, who is going to pay for the most right to be there? so in essence, i think this is answering your question, but is not really related to the geology. i can speak to that in a minute. in essence what is happening in the free market is a sort of real estate market, the central spine becomes the most desirable . so much of the recount and the commercial and gilded age mansions and so forth are happening in the center simply because it is easier for these folks to shop and go to their clubs and participate in
society. andhe result in the land values become greater over time, it causes there to be population density for the lower income along the fringes. so what is happening actually in 1865, you start to see the mason held kitchen and the irish enclave over here. so the immigrants are funneling in here. and then they retain a sort of economic mobility, they start to move upward. i have a great quote from, i think the author's name is cleghorn, but correct me if i am wrong. she says it is said the lower east side -- it is said among the jewish immigrants, it is 10 years from hector street to lexington avenue. but in terms of the lower east book, idescribe in my
look at soil fertility. that is the real geological story. down here was relatively, had relatively fertile soil. --enwich village overseer over here and along the upper east side as well and definitely in harlem, the harlem flat. the upper west side was iraqi and had bedrock very close to the cert -- was rocky and had bedrock very close to the surface. what happened in the 17th century, early development over here based on the creation of we during the dutch period. >> you look at the grid, you make the argument that is the least desirable land that is in the center of the island. >> originally. jason: up here, the common land.
it is expensive once the richer people move higher. that is the jason: -- ok, because to your point, geology essentially, i don't want to overstate, but geology seems irrelevant. distance to convenience became the deciding factor. those who enjoyed the luxury, the luxuries provided by shopkeepers in the -- and the hotelliers would pay for that right to do so. .> i want to say one thing in the 1800s it had to do with [indiscernible] and the only way you access the island was by water. there were no bridges. you had the brooklyn bridge, but it was just getting started. the exterior was mostly commercial. that is a you entered the island. so as the 19th century developed
, the interior of the island became the more exclusive place to be away from the commercial exterior. jason: essentially the pattern is if you look at land values and land-use and land type, port use, with the exception of the low down seventh district, port, , and then factories high-end retail. it is sort of layered in this way. is more or less the island until central park. a parenthetical note, a blocking point for midtown, what i would call midtown 5.0. this northward trajectory -- anyway, midtown, central park and zoning combined create a sort of dam from developing further north. that is my argument.
period withshort the turn-of-the-century, you -- within a short time. doesn't that clustering along the timeline suggest that some so numb -- phenomenon at play here, progression comes to mind, world wars which convert attention from certain industries? have you factor in that? jason: iva couple of responses. i will try to be quick. construction goes part in parcel with economic growth and economic decline. and the heights of buildings over time and the numbers of
buildings over time, they just track, they track fairly well not necessarily in the business cycle per se, but the ad and and flow of new york city over time. so the buildings that you see by arelarge i am not claiming born with some important economic justifications. there are plenty of examples whether it is in fire state the chrysler for example or the world building just trying to be a little bit -- whether it is the empire state building or the chrysler for example or the world building just trying to be a little bit tolerant than the next guy. -- little bit taller than the next guy. idea younother false can somehow predict financial panic by looking at the topping out.
i don't know if that answers the question directly, but -- does this mean we can build high as much as we want in terms of the population, how much can the new york city can build, like in the like a so it becomes disaster? [laughter] jason: that is a book unto itself. i will just say -- so you are just saying, eliminate zoning, rent stabilization. >> [indiscernible] jason: as hypothetical. is myay's day and age, it strong belief that the real estate market in new york city is highly constrained, highly
constricted. the ability of the real estate community to survive or the demand is restricted. way all of thea constraints. -- rep away all of the constraints. there is essentially no limits. you could build like they do in china and the middle east, you could build 80, 90, 100 story buildings. people will get up and down, the buildings will be safe in general. there are no technological barriers. is all thearrier things that must accompany these buildings. there is no short answer to that other than if a city like new york decided, we are going to build more subways or have plans to add more skills as the population -- schools as the population grows and at a much larger framework, the city could
hold more people. but this is a much bigger we aren than a prepared to have and b that could be dusk asked now. -- discussed now. [laughter] >> we can continue the discussion around the corner. there are books available in the bookstore. there are some there, so if you would like to have the author inscribed a copy, you have the opportunity. and we have the opportunity now to think jason. [laughter] [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
you are watching weekend history tv, all every weekend on c-span three. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. touringyear c-span is across the country. we go back to our visit in port huron, michigan. we are filming on the fourth floor of what is called the municipal federal reserve city hall. it's right on the crow river. probably the most eastern point of michigan. the city of port huron actually our population is around 30,000 people of which is a decrease. at one time back in many years
ago, probably back 1950's, 1960's, about summer in the 1940's. as economic changes and industry changes, it has decreased over the years. and demographically, you know, we probably have an assortment of all different types of people, but i would collect a little bit on the distressed side. we do have, because we are the county seat rentals and social , we do have a lot of the services and things like that. so we don't have maybe the most stable population. it kind of comes and it goes. that kind of thing. and economically, probably not the highest income. so it kind of is a broad spectrum of lower to upper incomes, but it is a very nice community to live in and a nice place to raise your family in. we have a whole lot of different things going on.
rate inployment michigan is higher than the rest of the country. it has gone up. we are always a little bit higher than the rest of the, probably the rest of the county let alone the state. michigan is traditionally -- it has. we have had a lot of improvements over the last couple of years. everybody suffered in 2008 when the economy tanked. we are all kind of crawling out of that. but i think it just takes a little longer for us to crawl out of it. we have some wonderful things that are happening right now here, so i'm very proud of that. right now, there has been a really big interest in our downtown area. everyone has been got to malls and that type of thing, our downtown has really revitalized. we have a lot of new businesses downtown, a lot of new restaurants and bars and little quaint stores.
certainly no big department store or anything like that, but the other thing that is interesting is we are getting more loft apartments, something i would not have said years ago would go. surge ofs been a those. we have so many that they have waiting lists, and there are two separate contract is right now building some more lofts downtown. that is good because in his last, it's mostly the younger professionals, and that is what you obviously are looking for student younger people to come back here and the jobs to come back here. that is what we really have been working on and has been successful in that manner. we also have, which would be right behind on the river a where i am standing right now on the river a piece of property which used to hold our ymca. it was sold to the city just a few years ago and demolished and , the property was made development ready. we have actually sold that piece of property to a developer, they
are going to put high-rise condos on their. -- there. they haven't decided on the exact plan yet, they're still the stages, but they should be started by probably the first of the year at the latest. it will probably be at least four to five stories high. this will really bring a lot of people into town to. that is what we are looking for. kind of redeveloping ourselves are reinventing ourselves as more of a place to come to not only if you're younger, but for retirement, and you know getting , people to live in the downtown area has been very, very much a part of that. i think one of the key parts of our history of course is, we are celebrating, we have celebrated in 2000 hour sesquicentennial. there is a lot to our story, but we are a very proud of the lighthouse and the fact that people can visit and walk up to the top of it and look at lake
huron certainly it was back in the day that you had shipping around this area and logging and obviously not today, but as john part of our strong heritage. the bridge connects with a city in canada. 1938.as built in that was to be able to -- before that, you had to take a ferry if you were going across. that is certainly a cumbersome way to travel back and forth. the commerce, the amount of commerce that we get from canada to the united states is astronomical in fact, a lot of . in fact, a lot of it goes through port huron, but a lot people come from canada to port to shop. it's a big part of the success of the businesses in this area, not just the city of port huron, but the surrounding area too. it important for commerce that they had the bridge. of course that lasted us until 1997, they opened
the second span of the bridge. both sides are packed back-and-forth. truck traffic sometimes is all the way across the bridge. it is still very much during its job for the commerce between -- well i think in the future that , port huron is only going to get better. i really do see a lot of interest. we've had a lot of interest from investors. the other side of the state, that is one of the reasons why we ended up with the refurbishment of what used to be known as the old thomas edison inn. it is a hotel that's going downtown and investor from the west side of the state. i think we are getting more notice from other places. a lot of times people did not know -- well, they knew where it was, but it is just that small town by the bridge, one to drive through. so now there is more, it is worth coming here, it is worth
seeing our parks and our bridges and what history we have, and the people are friendly. it is a nice place to go. i think were going to have a resurgence even more than we have now of our downtown and other businesses coming in and investments in the community. i am looking forward to good things happening. announcer: this weekend we are featuring the history of port huron, michigan. learn more about port huron and at -- and other cities. you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. and now the contenders. people that ran for president and lost but nevertheless changed political history. tonight we feature a former u.s. senator from north dakota. he was a presidential nominee in
1972. this was recorded at the legacy museum in mitchell, south dakota. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. >> in 1968, many americans thought they were voting to bring our sons home from vietnam in peace. and since then, 20,000 of our sons have come home in coffins. i have no secret plan for peace. i have a public plan, and as one whose heart has eight for the past eight years over the agony of vietnam, i will halt the senseless bombing of indochina on inaugural day. >> it was 1972, 2:30 in the morning when george mcgovern delivered his acceptance speech. delivered his acceptance speech. a few months later, he would