Part 7 - Modern Era

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Part 7 of New York City's Mundane Historical Timeline.

Continued from: Part 6 - Post-War

Modern Period 1978 to Present

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  • 1978 to Present New York City saw boom and bust periods in the 1980s with a major boom in the 1990s. Since then economic prospects have been mixed. This period has seen serious racial tension with more calm in very recent years, the dramatic rise and fall of crime rates and a major reinvigoration of immigration and growth taking the city population for the first time past the eight million mark.
  • 1980s Optimism returns to the city. The boom on Wall Street was fueling the speculative real estate market, and unemployment numbers dropped noticeably, however, the city's reputation for crime and disorder was still very much a part of New Yorkers' daily lives. Also racial tensions were high during the decade due to highly publicized murders of African Americans in "white" neighborhoods.
  • 1981-1989 Homelessness became a serious problem especially during Edward Koch's last two terms as mayor.
  • 1982 African American Willie Turks murdered in the Gravesend, a “white” section of Brooklyn.
  • 1984 "Subway vigilante" shootings by Bernhard Goetz.
  • 1986 Michael Griffith murdered in Howard Beach, Queens.
  • 1986 The city outlaws discrimination against gay and lesbian people in such matters as employment and housing.
  • 1989 Yusef Hawkins murdered in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood.
  • April 19, 1989 a woman known as the Central Park Jogger was badly beaten and raped, and a gang of African American youths were charged for the "wilding" incident; the case was touted in the media as an example of how rampant crime had become in the city by the late 1980s.
  • November 1989 Koch was defeated by David Dinkins in the Democratic Party primary in his bid for a fourth term, and then Dinkins narrowly defeated Republican Rudolph Giuliani in the general election to become the city's first-ever black mayor.
  • 1990 Crime began a 15-year decline during Dinkins's administration. However racial tensions, economic decline, and a threat from Staten Island to secede from the city caused his popularity to wane.
  • 1991 Racial strife in the city continues with the Crown Heights Riot.
  • 1993 The city's unemployment rate reached 13.4 percent, the highest level of joblessness seen there since the Great Depression.
  • February 26, 1993 Six people were killed, and thousands of others injured, in the World Trade Center bombing when a truck bomb was detonated in a basement garage of Tower One.
  • November 1993 David Dinkins is defeated by Rudolph Giuliani in his bid for reelection.
  • 1994 to Present Changes in the worldwide economy during this time proved to be especially favorable to New York City because of its highly developed transportation and communications infrastructure, as well as its massive population base. Over the course of the decade, the city's image transformed from being one of a bygone, decaying metropolis to one of the world's preeminent "global cities."

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  • 1994 Rudolph Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, is credited by many for revitalizing Times Square and making the city more "liveable" by cracking down on crime. Times Square today is a vibrant city center and tourist attraction. Local radio personalities dub him "Benito Giuliani" comparing him to fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for his harsh and unscrupulous methods.
  • 1994 Sports had a good year. The New York Rangers finally won their Stanley Cup since 1940 and the New York Knicks made it to the NBA Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Houston Rockets.
  • 1995-1999 The city experiences a rebound due to the steady expansion of the national economy and the Wall Street stock market boom that took place concomitantly, as well as the precipitous drop in crime, although stubbornly high unemployment remained a local problem.
  • 1996-2000 The New York Yankees began a dynasty led by manager (and New Yorker) Joe Torre winning the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
  • 1999 The Knicks made it to the NBA Finals again, where they lost in five games to the San Antonio Spurs.
  • 1999 The city benefits from the success of the business sectors, such as Silicon Alley, during the dot com boom, one of the factors in a decade of booming real estate values which then led to the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
  • August 2001 Sustainable South Bronx is founded.
  • September 11, 2001 The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • November 12, 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, killing all 260 people on board and five others on the ground. Although initially feared to be another act of terrorism, the crash was eventually found to have been caused by pilot error.
  • February 27, 2003 The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), after receiving input from thousands of people all over the world, revealed a design for the World Trade Center site. Designed primarily by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the plans envision a 1,776-foot-tall tower named the Freedom Tower to help restore the Manhattan skyline to its former grandeur. The site pays homage to the events by leaving intact the slurry wall (which withstood the force of the destruction and held the waters of the Hudson River back), and by keeping the footprints of the towers available as a memorial site.
  • August 14, 2003 New York City was affected by the 2003 North America blackout for over a day. There was no looting.
  • 2001 to Present New York City is currently experiencing a boom in construction projects that began in the mid 1990s due to speculative real estate interests. The controversial process is known as gentrification. The current trend is to take low income neighborhoods that were rife with decay from the 1970s and revitalize them by refurbishing existing architecture. The pattern is to follow the trends of artists looking for cheap studio space and then to revitalize the blocks they occupy with trendy retail spaces and other businesses and services to accommodate them. These “boutique” blocks then become attractive to insatiable New Yorkers who are always on the look-out for the latest trends and hot spots. An unfortunate side effect is that it displaces low income families who are often minorities or immigrants in favor of more affluent white families, causing controversy and stoking racial tensions.
  • 2007 to Present 2007 Great Recession hits New York and the city’s building projects seemed to be in peril. However with federal funding, investment in green industries, and enough interest in its ability to compete on a global scale, New York City is weathering the economic downturn and appears to be on the verge of a strong recovery.
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