At the end of the 1990s, while much of New York State  languished, New York City  was riding the crest of the bull stock market. Dozens of new businesses, restaurants, bars, and shops were opening up daily, on even the most depressed of blocks. Rents were skyrocketing, while the streets teemed with well-dressed twentysomethings earning salaries their grandparents never even dreamed of.
In addition, New York was—and is—benefiting from the energy and spirit of yet another enormous influx of immigrants. Many had been steadily arriving since the easing of immigration quotas in 1965; others have come since the end of the Cold War, or following political upheaval in their home countries. Some 90,000 documented immigrants enter the city each year; one out of every three New Yorkers is foreign born.
Then came the recession, and the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that killed about 2,700 innocent people in a morning that will be forever seared into New York’s sense of itself. In a few short moments, the city was plunged into death, devastation, and unspeakable horror.
But even as New Yorkers reeled with grief and fear, they also rose to meet the crisis. In one of the city’s finest hours, thousands of citizens quickly pulled themselves together to volunteer their time, donate their money, and keep each others’ spirits up, while Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a hero nationwide for his strong leadership. The attacks unified the city—rich and poor, black and white—in a way never before seen in modern times.
Giuliani was unable to run for mayor again in 2001 due to term-limits law and the new Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg was elected. A billionaire businessman, who many accused of winning the election because of his seemingly limitless coffers, Bloomberg quickly set about dealing with the aftermath of the attacks and reaching out to some of the minority groups that Giuliani shunned. Today, despite painful memories and a still-struggling upstate, New York City  is thriving once again.