The American City and American Identity

When you see the phrase, the American city, what do you visualize? Martin Scorsese, a director, says ‘When I was growing up, I don’t remember being told that America was created so that everyone could get rich. I remember being told it was about opportunity and the pursuit of happiness. Not happiness itself, but the pursuit’ (‘Pursuit of Happiness Quotes’). His idea is shown in the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, which takes place in San Francisco.

Like him, most may envision about American cities which are full of hopeful possibilities, and they create this representation because of TV dramas and movies. Conversely, are their images the true characters of American cities? In this paper, I will describe the detail of the American city and two American cities, New York City and San Francisco, and how the American city is significant to American identity. Let’s think about what the American city is. In general, it refers to places where there are a huge number of population and’a popular contemporary perception,’ but, actually, it is very complex to explain. It is one way to explain about the American city, but contrary to our image, the American city also can be described by many aspects historically and culturally because each city has dissimilar characteristics (Campbell and Kean 200). In the United States, there are a lot of American cities. I would like to describe the background of New York City and San Francisco to explain about the American city more specifically. First of all, I mention about New York City.

It is located on the east coast in the United States and known as the location of the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. The New York City has original colors that many people are attracted to. The art is a great example to show its characteristic. Some come to New York to seek glittering scenes of buildings in the city, and others who are from inside and outside countries visit there to make their dreams come true such as getting jobs at Broadway. In New York City, there is the main street, Broadway, and it is well known as a center street where main theaters are gathered. New York City’s Broadway theater is one of man big business in New York, New York City is also familiar as a central city of business because ‘New York was the headquarters for more than two third of the top 100 American corporations.’ Additionally, industries of software and computer are developing in New York City (‘New York City’). On the other hand, San Francisco is an American city just like the city of New York, but both cities are not alike. Unlike the city of New York, it is located on the west coast in the United States. It also has indigenous characteristics.

For example, unlike New York City, San Francisco is surrounded by ocean and beautiful nature. Thus, a lot of sightseeing spots exist in the city, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf taking advantage of a great environment. Furthermore, the city is specialized in terms of education and the IT industry. Stanford University and the University of San Francisco are good examples for education. (‘San Francisco’). Only from two cities, we can see that how each city are culturally and environmental different compared to other cities, and how tough it is to determine the definition of the American cities. Nevertheless, all cities are necessary to create the United States. However, how is the American City notable to American Identity? I think that the American city is extremely important to American Identity because each state becomes an element of the American identity. Let’s think about how the American city works in American identity using New York City and San Francisco as the examples. Both cities are related to the idea of immigration in American identity.

Since the time when first European settlers arrived in the United States, huge numbers of immigrants became to come from different countries, and they gave great impact on the United States. In consequence of accepting the greatest number of immigrants from outside, the United States become ethnic diversity. Especially, New York City and San Francisco have a higher ratio of immigrants than other cities (). In New York City, end of the 19 century, immigrants especially, Hispanic, African American, and Asian people came in New York City, and in the 20th century, Dominicans who followed Chinese and Russians who hold admiration for ‘make it.’ Finally, I mention what my research question is for my final presentation. My research question is how the movies, and The Pursuit of Happiness, show the features of the cities, New York City and San Francisco. In conclusion,

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The American City and American Identity. (2021, Feb 26). Retrieved April 19, 2024 , from

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