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View Poll Results: Most influential city of the 20th century?
Los Angeles 18 11.61%
San Francisco 7 4.52%
Dallas 2 1.29%
Boston 2 1.29%
New york city 65 41.94%
Philadelphia 3 1.94%
Washington D.C. 14 9.03%
Chicago 8 5.16%
Detroit 8 5.16%
Cleveland 1 0.65%
Houston 10 6.45%
Seattle 5 3.23%
Memphis 0 0%
Baltimore 2 1.29%
Pittsburgh 3 1.94%
Nashville 1 0.65%
Birmingham 2 1.29%
Memphis 0 0%
St. louis 4 2.58%
Voters: 155. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:39 AM
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 1,431,625 times
Reputation: 277


I don't think there is any dowbt about this: New York City. I would even put it over London, Berlin, Moscow, etc, in an international poll.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:55 AM
Location: In the heights
28,636 posts, read 27,847,003 times
Reputation: 15320
Voting for Houston is putting a lot of emphasis on the latter parts of the 20th century--and even then it's a longshot. Houston is where mission control was but the r&d groups (most notably JPL), the engineers and manufacturers, the launch sites, and NASA itself was and is elsewhere. The oil argument doesn't work too well because the industry consolidated itself (but not all of itself as there are still major players outside of Houston) much later in the 20th century while the oil reserves, platforms, r&d, ports, and refineries have never been primarily in Houston (and even now, the supermajors only control about 5% of the world's oil and gas resources with the vast majority in the control of nations).

NYC is probably the best answer--even above that of DC since for much of the century DC was a locus of the federal government but little else (small metro, weak metro economy, often strongly susceptible to the media, corporate, and financial pressures of NYC but things have be) though DC's been getting larger and more vital over the years.

Some of the highlights:

The early US film industry was based in NYC and its metro and the industry has stayed influential even after the shift towards Hollywood.

Yellow journalism (with Hearst and Pulitzer) played a massive role in determining the course of politics and history and NYC has stayed the media capital of the US (and often the world) throughout the century.

The Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, and the Great Depression that followed had NYC as its nexus with NYC high society shaping politics for much of the century.

The naval yards (in Brooklyn especially) were a massive part of several war efforts, especially in the more important European theater.

America's nuclear research had much of its start in NYC (the Manhattan project). Columbia University, which was involved in the Manhattan project, had shaped every sector of society with NYU joining its ranks later on. The CUNY system and the New School (which served as a haven for many of the greatest thinkers fleeing from war-torn Europe) were both incredible opportunities for the working and middle class to attain a solid education and had produced some of the most influential people of the era before taking a dive in quality in the last few decades of the century.

The ports and docks of NYC had been the busiest for much of the 20th century. The manufacturing sector was also one of the world's largest for much of the 20th century. NYC has had an incredible role in shaping unions.

The United Nations and many consulates and international organizations have their headquarters in NYC.

The population has been and continues to be absolutely huge and to this day still serves as a major immigration hub that brings in new peoples and cultures that are later dispersed to the rest of the US--in a pattern greatly affected by the Levitts who played a large role in the move towards suburbia in the latter half of the century. At the very end of the century NYC became a leader in the rebound of urban living.

Various cultural movements such as the Harlem Renaissance, the gay rights movement (with the Stonewall riots being a milestone), and the Nuyorican movement have found their start in NYC. The city also played a large role in musical and artistic styles of the century such as jazz, disco, punk, noise, salsa, hip hop, American folk distilled through Copland, minimalist, musicals, aleatoric/chance music, pop per the major record companies, pop per Warhol, abstract expressionism, process art, and many more.

Wall Street has taken the US and the world for a ride throughout this century.

Detroit (more than just automobiles, but unions, the rise of the blue collar middle class, and "fordism" assembly line efficiency), LA (more than just Hollywood but aerospace, commerce, education, and development patterns for much of the latter half of the century and a huge population), and DC (government, research, increasingly large metro and more influential media) are up there as well. San Francisco (social and cultural movements, finance, immigration, education, and technology), Boston (education and politics) and Chicago (commerce, infrastructure, and education especially in regards to architecture and economics; formerly media) are also notable but I'd put them a bit further down when taking the 20th century as a whole. Of course, this century is up for grabs.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:02 AM
306 posts, read 264,203 times
Reputation: 57
Definately, NYC.

From fashion to fianancial and everything in between.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:56 AM
Location: New England & The Maritimes
2,116 posts, read 4,429,858 times
Reputation: 1114
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:41 PM
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
8,091 posts, read 8,600,882 times
Reputation: 13403
I voted for a city I usually am very down on, Detroit Mich. It may be a cess pool now, but its historical impact on the last century is indisputable. The mass production of the automobile changed America more than any technology developed in the last 200 years. It changed our standard of living, our culture and of course our mobility. I doubt anyone can imagine life without the car. Also, Detroits auto industry became the "arsenol of democracy" in the 2nd world war. No other place produced the amounts of war material that Detroit did. Without it we may have lost the war, and I dont think I need to go into how much that would have impacted this nation. It is sad to see what that city has become, and I believe it will never recover, but it should be given credit it earned back then.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:50 PM
1,810 posts, read 3,256,678 times
Reputation: 2010
come on, obviously the most influential American city was and is New York, although the "Sarajevo" reply is actually quite lucid
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:15 AM
Location: Chicago
938 posts, read 800,568 times
Reputation: 531
Why isn't Atlanta on that list? COCA COLA, CNN, and Waffle House are very important in many American's daily lives :P
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