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What Is NYC the Capital of Now?

That was the question posed by the very first single-topic issue of the New York Times Magazine, which I had the privilege of editing, more than 10 years ago. (Now there are a panoply of single-topic issues each year, including the wonderful Ideas Issue of this past Sunday.) The thought back then was that New York City was in full recovery but its strengths and assets bore little resemblance to the strengths and assets the city possessed 50 or 100 years earlier.

All this came to mind this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to announce plans today for “massive infrastructure investment, land-use reform, and a heavy emphasis on doing it all in an environmentally sustainable way.”

These plans are spurred on by the fact that New York City is more populous today than it has ever been (8.2 million people) and is predicted to grow by perhaps another 1.3 million people in the next 25 years. As Alex Frangos writes in the Journal, “New York is dealing with a phenomenon that was almost inconceivable for big American cities just a decade ago: success.”

Which brings me back to the original question: What’s New York City the capital of now? There are a few obvious answers, but I’d love to hear how all of you answer the question.