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Which American cities have been most influential?

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Posted: 6/10/2014 10:31 PM

Which American cities have been most influential? 


Which American cities (or metro areas if you prefer) have had the largest influence on America over the course of our history. I am thinking of the collective cultural, economic, political & overall historic importance. A purely subjective exercise.

My top five:
1. New York City - has been the economic heart of the country for centuries
2. Detroit - where would we be without mass produced automobiles
3. Los Angeles - hard to argue any other city has had a greater cultural impact
4. San Francisco/Silicon Valley - where would we be without mass produced computing devices
5. Tie: Pittsburgh & Texas: steel & oil. 'Nuff said.

Honorable mention: Washington DC - for generally allowing the citizenry to advance the country and kicking *** when it was most needed. (Let's not make this openly political).

I am sure I am overlooking other major cities and even some smaller ones that have played outsized roles in the story of America. What say you Five?
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Posted: 6/10/2014 11:13 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


Hard to argue with your top five, pretty much matches what I was thinking. Though in #5 I might put Chicago because of railroads, or Boston because of the revolution.
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Posted: 6/10/2014 11:26 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


My crack at a top 5

1) New York
2) Chicago
3) San Francisco
4) Los Angeles
5) Boston
"philosophy is important to the man who is weak of self and purpose"
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Posted: 6/10/2014 11:52 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


It's tough to do 5.  I think I'd go this way:

1. New York City
2. Pittsburgh (Steel, also PA started the oil boom)
3. Chicago (railway network)
4. Los Angeles (culture)
5. San Francisco (computing)

The tough one to leave out is Detroit, but I see that as a result of #2.
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Posted: 6/11/2014 7:51 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


I've always thought that one of the big differences in America and the rest of the world is that our progress was never centered around a principal city. Any list you make would leave off cities that have made significant contributions.
_____________________________________________________
The validity of my position does not depend upon my skill in defending it.

Last edited 6/11/2014 7:57 AM by BhamBee

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Posted: 6/11/2014 10:05 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



BhamBee wrote: I've always thought that one of the big differences in America and the rest of the world is that our progress was never centered around a principal city. Any list you make would leave off cities that have made significant contributions.
Yep,  I was torn on Pittsburgh and Detroit in my list.  They would have been the next 2. 

Atlanta would probably make my top 10 for regional city and the effect it has on the south. It is a huge economic engine.
"philosophy is important to the man who is weak of self and purpose"
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Posted: 6/11/2014 10:25 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



jrecatiu wrote: Which American cities (or metro areas if you prefer) have had the largest influence on America over the course of our history. I am thinking of the collective cultural, economic, political & overall historic importance. A purely subjective exercise.

My top five:
1. New York City - has been the economic heart of the country for centuries
2. Detroit - where would we be without mass produced automobiles
3. Los Angeles - hard to argue any other city has had a greater cultural impact
4. San Francisco/Silicon Valley - where would we be without mass produced computing devices
5. Tie: Pittsburgh & Texas: steel & oil. 'Nuff said.

Honorable mention: Washington DC - for generally allowing the citizenry to advance the country and kicking *** when it was most needed. (Let's not make this openly political).

I am sure I am overlooking other major cities and even some smaller ones that have played outsized roles in the story of America. What say you Five?
The city of Texas woudl probably be more influentilal if it didn't have such a sprawl problem. biggrin

I don't know how DC could be kept out of any top 5. Like it or not, you can easily make a case for DC as number 1 (I'd still put NYC as 1). That said, it's hard to compare the political impacts of DC with the cultural impacts of LA with economic and technological impacts of Detroit/SF/Pittsburgh.
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Posted: 6/11/2014 3:32 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


I'd add Washington to the list -- it's where our government has been centered for the past few hundred years.

Last edited 6/11/2014 3:35 PM by TpaJacket

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Posted: 6/11/2014 4:04 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


A top 10 would be something like this

0) New York
1) Chicago
2) San Francisco
3) Los Angeles
4) Boston
5) Washington
7) Detroit
8) Pittsburgh
9) Miami
10) Atlanta
"philosophy is important to the man who is weak of self and purpose"
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Posted: 6/11/2014 4:59 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


Yes, Washington DC would certainly be in the Top 5. You can't leave out the capitol of the country.

1. NYC
2. LA
3. Chicago
4. Washington DC
5. I'm gonna go...Atlanta...driver of the entire south since the Civil War.
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Posted: 6/11/2014 5:02 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


Surprised no one has mentioned Philadelphia.  I'd say it had a pretty big political and historic impact.

Last edited 6/11/2014 5:04 PM by CCjkt

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Posted: 6/11/2014 7:59 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


1. Gray, GA
2. Washington, D.C.
3. The Northeast Megalopolis
4. L.A.
5. S.F.
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Posted: 6/11/2014 8:48 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



jrecatiu wrote:

Honorable mention: Washington DC - for generally allowing the citizenry to advance the country and kicking *** when it was most needed. (Let's not make this openly political).


Too too late!  You just made it openly political when you expressed appreciation for Washington DC kicking our citizens around.
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Posted: 6/11/2014 8:57 PM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



ctmoore8 wrote:
jrecatiu wrote:

Honorable mention: Washington DC - for generally allowing the citizenry to advance the country and kicking *** when it was most needed. (Let's not make this openly political).


Too too late!  You just made it openly political when you expressed appreciation for Washington DC kicking our citizens around.
Yes, considering some of the pointless wars that we've been involved in, I would have to agree with you about the political aspect.
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Posted: 6/12/2014 10:16 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


1. Washington, DC - the nerve center of the US and most influential seat of power in the world
2. NYC - the economic capital of the US
3. Los Angeles - the media and entertainment capital
4. Boston - probably our most historical and culturally influential city
5. San Francisco area - technology capital
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Posted: 6/12/2014 11:28 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



MountainBuzzMan wrote: A top 10 would be something like this

0) New York
1) Chicago
2) San Francisco
3) Los Angeles
4) Boston
5) Washington
7) Detroit
8) Pittsburgh
9) Miami
10) Atlanta
9) Miami surprises me.  Other than the Cuban migration during the mid to late 20th century, I am struggling to come up with anything really significant on a national scale.  What am I missing?
"Hatred is the curse of man"
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Posted: 6/12/2014 11:37 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 


I would think that New York is a clear #1.

With LA as a clear #2 (assuming it includes Hollywood). 

There is a huge gap after that. 

Not sure if DC deserves credit for things that happen because of people that are there representing other states?????  I'll leave it at that without getting political.
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Posted: 6/12/2014 11:39 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



mgdGT wrote: 1. Gray, GA
2. Washington, D.C.
3. The Northeast Megalopolis
4. L.A.
5. S.F.

I laughed.
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Posted: 6/12/2014 11:43 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



65rat wrote:
MountainBuzzMan wrote: A top 10 would be something like this

0) New York
1) Chicago
2) San Francisco
3) Los Angeles
4) Boston
5) Washington
7) Detroit
8) Pittsburgh
9) Miami
10) Atlanta
9) Miami surprises me.  Other than the Cuban migration during the mid to late 20th century, I am struggling to come up with anything really significant on a national scale.  What am I missing?
It's value is in being a single place for northerners to vacation and retire so they don't ruin other parts of the country. winktongue
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Posted: 6/12/2014 11:47 AM

Re: Which American cities have been most influential? 



65rat wrote:
MountainBuzzMan wrote: A top 10 would be something like this

0) New York
1) Chicago
2) San Francisco
3) Los Angeles
4) Boston
5) Washington
7) Detroit
8) Pittsburgh
9) Miami
10) Atlanta
9) Miami surprises me.  Other than the Cuban migration during the mid to late 20th century, I am struggling to come up with anything really significant on a national scale.  What am I missing?
I concur.  I'd put Atlanta ahead of Miami, and I'm not sure Atlanta should be in the top 10. There's kind of a group of big cities that it's hard to really differentiate their influence - in addition to Atlanta and Miami, I'd put Seattle, Houston, and Dallas in that group. I'd probably put Miami last of those. And Philadelphia is a tough one - obviously tremendously influential for a long time in our early history, but not particularly influential for quite a while now.
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