THE CITY HAS CHANGED, of course; the numbers collected by economists and the census tell you that. From 1950 to 1969, New York remained stable in jobs and population, the unrivaled metropolis of the nation. In ’69 came the break. National trends caught up with the city: the shift to the suburbs and the Sunbelt, gains in communications and transportation that made a central location less important, the decline of central cities.
In the past dozen years New York lost 500,000 jobs, mainly in manufacturing, and 825,000 people. Financial crisis followed. The present city administration does not expect to regain that lost population or most of those jobs. It has cut its suit for a smaller city.
The city work force has been chopped by 60,000; services have been curtailed, schools and libraries judged redundant closed. For two years the city budget, now carefully audited, has been in balance. And this year, for the first time since 1975, the city sold some long-term bonds on its own—without using the special system set up with state and federal help.
“There will be problems down the road,” one banker told me, “but we’ve turned around. We’re back from the precipice.”
AMONG THE INDUSTRIES affected by these changes are the proud designer shops and dress manufacturers of Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue. They looked for consolidation programs to deal with their debts. Learn more how to consolidate payday loan. The survived companies still dominate the nation’s styles and sales, but regional markets and imports now challenge them, and they have lost a third of their labor force. They constantly search for new hands.
I boarded the freight elevator at 41 Elizabeth Street in Chinatown and rode up to Eddie Leung’s shop on the fourth floor. Eddie was in his office, a small man with a high voice, a garment contractor for 22 years. When Eddie had started out, there were 15 shops in Chinatown; now there were 475, employing 15,000 people.
Eddie explained: “China has begun to let people out; many come here, a new source of labor. So manufacturers uptown may bankroll bright young men here who can set up and run shops.”
We walked out into the sewing room. “All immigrants,” Eddie said above the hammering of the machines. “Most are from south China, Canton. Maybe a girl here says she wants to bring her family over. I promise jobs. When they come, the girl and I teach them together. They send a lot of money back to the homeland.”
The increased immigration has brought problems as well as payrolls to Chinatown, others told me. Youth gangs, protection rackets, shootings, drugs, charges of sweatshops. Some Chinese are moving away to avoid these. Still, Chinatown grows, spreading into Little Italy, which is declining as its younger people move out