New York: A Documentary Film

New York: A Documentary Film

1999, History  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 7.23/10 from 44 users.

New York: A Documentary FilmThis seven part television event explores New York City's rich history as a premier laboratory of modern life. A sweeping narrative covering nearly 400 years and 400 square miles, it reveals a complex and dynamic city that has played and unparalleled role in shaping the nation and reflecting its ideals.

The Country and the City. Beginning in 1609, episode one chronicles the arrival of the Dutch, the impact of the English, the horrors of colonial slavery, and New York's critical role in the American Revolution.

Order and Disorder. Episode two looks at New York's rise as a burgeoning cultural center and multi-ethnic port, concluding with the Civil War Draft Riots -- America's bloodiest civil disturbance.

Sunshine and Shadow. Episode three turns the spotlight on the period when greed and wealth fueled an expanding metropolis, even as politics and poverty defined it.

The Power and the People. Episode four follows New York into a new century, examining the interplay of capitalism, democracy, and transformation, in the wake of an extraordinary wave of immigration and the birth of the skyscraper.

Cosmopolis. In episode five, the post-war economic boom, the rise of consumer culture, and the birth of new mass-media industries fuel the convergence of an incredible array of human and cultural energies, ending with the Crash of 1929 and the construction of the Empire State Building.

The City of Tomorrow. The sixth episode chronicles the dramatic events that followed the Crash of '29, as the greatest depression in American history plunged the city and the nation into economic gloom.

The City and the World. Episode seven charts the turbulent and often harrowing years from 1945 to the present. Emerging from the Depression and the Second World War as the most powerful metropolis on earth.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. zazen

    overall, a good 8+ star documentary with a few "dingettes" like the really sedate musical score and the tendency to get bogged down with too much detail for not-so-important subjects.. i didn't think they would ever get past the part about young walt whitman (not my favorite poet) or how the grid-patterned development of 1800's manhattan was just sooo magnificant.. at that point i thought they were going to rename the city "new eden." regardless, worth watching just to learn where the sports team name of nickerbockers originated. (dg 2-6-14)

  2. Watcher

    This is quite possibly one of the best documentaries I've seen. It uses primary and secondary sources, and interviews from experts. It's entertaining, poetic, informative, and complete. At times it reads a little too much like New York is a tragic paradise, but I can say the 14 hours were a good use of time. I recommend it highly to anyone interested.

  3. Florian Pereira

    It was called "New Amstedam" by the Dutch... And "Manna-hatta", wich means “Island of Many Hills”, by the indians !

  4. Brian Finstad

    It was a fascinating documentary. If there is one thing I missed that I wish would have been included, it would have been the Stonewall riots. In fact, there was not any acknowledgement of LGBT people at all.

  5. Theresa Austin

    This history does not include the years between 1911 and 1919, or, ALL of the WW1 time-frame. It goes in depth about the Triangle Factory fire and all the changes that came from that tragedy in 1911 to a parade of the Dough-boys returning home in 1919. The creators of this documentary do not even do us the courtesy of MENTIONING a war that encompassed the entire civilized world, and considering the city of New York is a financial center, it should have at least been mentioned how much MONEY was made by the U.S. from both sides of that conflict.

    1. Donald Edward Goodman FOR "Corporate" PROFIT. Not....for "Religious" Prophet!

  6. Abjective

    Watched the whole thing and i found it quite interesting. Overall a well put together doc even though it drags on a bit. New York is the modern capital of the world. Amazing to see how it grew from a few thousand immigrants to a few million population now in a little over a century. The poor old natives.

  7. MaRio Verde

    "The Lost Science of Money" (Stephen Zarlenga; may fill out the picture of A.Hamilton a bit and highlight how, living on Wallstreet, he lay the seed for what Wallstreet and the banking system has become today.

  8. faraz uddin

    My most favorite documentary on the greatest city/capital of the modern world. New York is the city which every other major city has tried to emulate. The history of NY is a microcosm of the history of the USA. NY has set the trend for all of America and the entire modern world. I have not even visited NY and live in the suburbs of Virginia and still understand how much of an impact NY has had on the USA/ the entire world.

    1. Donald Edward Goodman

      They once said the same thing of ROME!

  9. Kosta Starostin

    Absolutely brilliant documentary from start to finish. To the one who says it focuses too much on politics in the second half, I only say that you cannot fully understand the transformation that New York underwent and the reasons for it, without understanding the political landscape on which the city was built.

    1. Donald Edward Goodman

      "Political landscape" SHOULD READ, for POLITICAL PFOFIT!

    2. Donald Edward Goodman

      oops Profit

  10. Jason Singer

    Umm...for those of you who think there should be a chapter on 9/11, there is. It's called "Center of the Universe." The original Part 8 was pulled because of 9/11 and Ric Burns took several months to put this new chapter together. I watch it on the anniversary of 9/11 every year as it is the most compelling and concise eulogy to that part of NYC. It's about the Trade Center from it's inception in 1948 through the days after 9/11. In fact, Part 8 was the basis for the doc "Man On Wire". It's available everywhere, and is incredible.

  11. Winston Smith

    Fantastic massive doc!! ** but they need to update the end with regard to the destruction of the Twin Towers. Anyone who has seriously looked at the facts knows WTC 1,2, & 7 were brought down with explosives. As kooky as that sounds (if you get your information from mainstream news sources alone) that is what the facts overwhelmingly bear out.

    1. shane van Ireland

      It think its fitting for documentary to end where it has pre 9/11.. its quite symbolic I guess of the 'Old New Wolrd' or age of innocense for america. 9/11 changed everything, attitudes, behaviour, believes and even the once positive glory that the American public were reknowned for.

      From creative and pioneering to paranod and domineering. America truly is a fall from grace.

  12. El_Criticón

    Is there a way one can watch the documentaries by parts? I don't have the time, nor the stamina to watch this straight away. It would be very nice to be able to stop and come back some other time where you left it.

    1. Winston Smith

      the icon to the left of 'CC' on the menus along the bottom of the player..lets you choose which segment you want to watch

  13. wheelnut53

    If Europe vomited Mexico is taking a c**p a nice long c**p

  14. Domus Canus.

    Splendid documentary. Thank you so much.

  15. Yavanna

    I have tried watching the entire doc three times now. The first "half" of the doc is sublime. The second half seems to tail off into modern petty political American BS.

    It's definitely a doc of two halves. The first half is everything I want in a doc of this sort and I was enthralled by the quality and detail in so far as it almost comes up to scratch to a BBC nature doc. I was entranced by the old photos and drawings of "ancient" NY and the story doesn't miss a beat, but then it gets boring.

    Imagine the Godfather then Godfather 2 then OMFG what the f*ck is this......

  16. djc200

    Watch it. Appreciate the art of a Burns production. I've always loved anything by them. As expected, it's a gripping and emotional series on one of the most famous port cities on Earth. This was a great watch.

    It needs a new chapter though... on the machinations of Wall St in the 21st Century. ;)

  17. Crab_Nebula

    Everyone knows Rochester is really the coolest city in the state. Wegmans, Brother Wease, garbage plates from Nick's.. And the only other river besides the Nile to flow North in the Northern Hemisphere.. The REAL NY is West of interstate 81. 1/2 hour around town anywhere, rarely any gridlock! Just as much culture too..

    1. rundownthestreet202

      Lol just as much culture? No way. An alpha++ global city vs... Rochester NY? I think I know where I'd rather spend my time.

    2. dekay49

      You obviously have not done your homework...... I have no love at all for New York, it is the anal cavity of the east coast, it took me less than an hour to have everything i owned stolen from my locked vehicle.......some culture.....oh yeah, you might want to look up the St. Johns, and the Ocklawaha rivers, both in Florida, and both flow north......the last time i checked, Florida was still in the northern hemisphere..... just sayin

    3. Donald Edward Goodman

      I "relied late" because I just saw this....You are almost correct. New York (once called "New Manhattan ") is the NEW Rome.'s replacement.

    4. Jack1952

      There are lots of rivers in the northern hemisphere flowing north. Check out the coast of the Arctic Ocean in Canada, Russia and Alaska.

    5. Mantis03

      The New River in North Carolina and Virginia. It is the oldest river in North America