The Decline Of New York

A surge of brutal killings has shaken the Big Apple to its core. Frightened residents now wonder if Gotham's treasures are worth the hassle -- and the risk.

If, as Lewis Mumford wrote, cities were created as "a means of bringing heaven down to earth" and "a symbol of the possible," New York is the epitome of those dreams. No other city's skyline thrusts so aggressively toward the heavens, pulling down the clouds like a monarch shrugging into a cloak. No other city's history so embodies the idea of innovation and achievement in such a dazzling range of human endeavors. "There is no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride and exultancy," novelist Thomas Wolfe rhapsodized in 1935. "It lays its hand upon a...

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