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New York--A City With a Core

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 11, 2005

In 1991, journalist and author Joel Garreau wrote a book entitled “Edge City: Life on the New Frontier.” It explained the emergence of new pockets of development on the outskirts of metro areas, close to highway interchanges but far from traditional downtowns, which he said were gradually emptying out. One implication: Shorter commutes, because people were working in the suburbs where they live instead of commuting to central cities.

But it turns out that there’s one metro area where the “edge city” concept doesn’t entirely apply, and that’s New York. According to new research by Jason Bram and Alisdair McKay of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York remains an old-fashioned city in which people commute from the suburbs and exurbs to jobs in the center, namely Manhattan.

Sure, even New York has its thriving edge cities, like White Plains, N.Y., Stamford, Conn., and Hoboken, N.J. But Bram and McKay say that nearly 1.6 million people commute into Manhattan regularly. That’s even more than did so in 1980 (1.4 million). And while reverse commutes are more common than they were a generation ago, the dominant commuting flow is still inward toward the still-vital center.

One downside of this commuting pattern: The time it takes to get to work and to get home has soared.



BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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