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Old 12-09-2014, 10:40 AM
 
Location: USA
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Me and a few co-workers had an interesting conversation yesterday about New York City. This might sound like an odd question that you may not have heard of before. What if Dutch settlers never explored or founded New York? That's right. What if New York City was never developed and it was still swampland and forest today? What do you think the state of New York, the region, and the rest of the country would be like today? What's your opinion? I felt like this was an interesting and yet odd question to ask because i havent seen any thread related to this. Feel free to share.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:27 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanExplorer View Post
Me and a few co-workers had an interesting conversation yesterday about New York City. This might sound like an odd question that you may not have heard of before. What if Dutch settlers never explored or founded New York? That's right. What if New York City was never developed and it was still swampland and forest today? What do you think the state of New York, the region, and the rest of the country would be like today? What's your opinion? I felt like this was an interesting and yet odd question to ask because i havent seen any thread related to this. Feel free to share.
Its hard to believe that there would not be at least some city would not be located when a major river enters the ocean.

Still for the purpose of argument, if New York City did not exist (or perhaps more likely just be smaller) then....

1. Philadelphia would be larger. Probably Baltimore also, however Baltimore might be negatively effected by a larger Philadelphia. Not sure about that.

2. The Philadelphia and Baltimore suburbs would cover much of SE Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and much of Delaware. Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC would be even more connected then they are today.

3. Boston might be larger too but not as much difference as Philadelphia. However, without NYC Boston would be even more of a outlier of the Bos-Wash corridor then it is today.

4. Norfolk, VA which has one of the best East Coast ports would be larger. The surrounding area would be much more built up.

5. Long Island would be thought as a offshore resort island, a extra larger version of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, with beaches, seaside farms and old seaports.

6. Northern New Jersey would be far less built up and with its hills, farms and colonial era towns would have a reputation as a beautiful area. However, central and southern New Jersey would still be heavily suburbanized because of a larger Philadelphia.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:39 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by LINative View Post

1. Philadelphia would be larger. Probably Baltimore also, however Baltimore might be negatively effected by a larger Philadelphia. Not sure about that.
My guess is Philadelphia would be about twice the size.

Quote:
3. Boston might be larger too but not as much difference as Philadelphia. However, without NYC Boston would be even more of a outlier of the Bos-Wash corridor then it is today.
What do you mean by more of an outlier?
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:46 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
My guess is Philadelphia would be about twice the size.



What do you mean by more of an outlier?
I mean outer. Even today, Boston is more on the outer edge of the Northeast corridor while the Mid-Atlantic cites are closer. Boston would be even more separate if NYC did not exist or was smaller.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:10 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by LINative View Post
I mean outer. Even today, Boston is more on the outer edge of the Northeast corridor while the Mid-Atlantic cites are closer. Boston would be even more separate if NYC did not exist or was smaller.
Makes sense. Though probably people wouldn't speak of a Northeastern Corridor, but a Mid-Atlantic one. And Boston would just be the big New England city and not considered connected to anything outside of New England.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:00 PM
 
Location: USA
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I can imagine that Boston, Providence, Hartford, and Albany would be MUCH larger than today. Plus many of the immigrants that went to New York would probably have gone through Boston instead. Southern New Jersey would be more densely populated than today and North Jersey would be like South Jersey's pine barrens. If New York City never existed our culture and history would be extremely different. Boston would have most likely been the global hub of international business and I can only imagine what it would be like without the NYSE.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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The Dutch might not settle there, but as others have noted, it's pretty much impossible due to geography you won't get a city more or less where New York sits.

First, it's a great natural harbor. Second, the Hudson is one of the largest river systems in the eastern United States. In the pre-Railroad era, water was the only cost-effective way to transport bulk goods, meaning a city at the mouth of the Hudson would act as a catchment of all of the trade which took place upriver.

New York City really boomed, however, due to the construction of the Erie Canal in 1825. This was absolutely needed in order for mass migration from New England to settle the Great Lakes littoral. More importantly, it was needed to get goods from the Midwest traded in the wider world. Going through Canada wasn't even an option really yet, because the first Saint Lawrence canal wasn't built until 1871.

Without the Dutch, you might see the British found a settlement say on the Bergen Neck in New Jersey, or even perhaps Brooklyn or the Bronx. But something is going to be built there. The only way to avoid it being a major city is if the political boundaries in North America are quite different, and much of what is now the northern U.S. is split between hostile European powers. Say, for example, if the French retained control of everything in the Midwest, and decided to work on an early canal of the Saint Lawrence.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
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My guess is that it would have been Philly instead. There probably would have been development on that gargantuan level somewhere on the Eastern seaboard. If not Philly, then perhaps Baltimore, Boston, or maybe even somewhere further South.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Outside of the United States
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I was going to write something similar to eschaton. The world's largest natural harbor, one of the world's biggest estuary? It has been predestinated unto success. It has to be there. No other option, not like D.C. (only reason center of a nation's territory, beetwen North and South) or Atlanta (railroads hub, prior to this nothing), more like New Orleans or Francisco Bay area.

But if. Which city would be the capital of the world? Center of finance, politics, hub of culture, and one of world's most important economical spots? Still London? Greater importance of Europe from the biginning of U.S. up to today?

And all of this might N.Y.C. posses should pour itself to other cities. Philadelphia and Baltimore? Probably. Probably great (all this twenty-something milion people and thier waleth and businesses) transition from southern New York and northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut to antoher metropolis fro Hampton Roads, Richmond, Washington, Baltimore up to Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. All the Chasepeake Bay.

And yes, probably far greater importance of New Orleans, and less Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Duluth, all related to Erie Canal.

But this is just to extensive period and all economic, geographical, political and social factors and history to redraw. I will not spare my time to his giant task. Too little knowledge, too many different outcomes.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:23 PM
 
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Maybe Boston would've become the size of NYC, but the policies around Boston and its surrounding communities has really hampered growth and driven up the cost of living there. Maybe if they let Somerville become part of Boston, for instance. Philly is another possibility, I suppose.
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