Tracing Development Of Manhattan Block Manhattan bears little resemblance to its pre-colonial past, and a New York University economics professor has been tracing that history through a single city block. William Easterly gives host Guy Raz a walking tour of that block and talks about how it evolved from swampland to Apple store.
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Tracing Development Of Manhattan Block

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Tracing Development Of Manhattan Block

Tracing Development Of Manhattan Block

Tracing Development Of Manhattan Block

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The Apple Store in New York City stands at the corner of Prince and Greene Streets in Soho.

Big glass windows, blonde wood tables, clean lines — all showcasing the indispensable accoutrements of modern life. But if you walk outside the front door of this Apple store, and look at the building, it becomes instantly clear that this was not purpose-built as an Apple store. It's an old building. Right at the top, it says United States Post Office.

A few weeks ago, Bill Easterly, an economics professor at New York University, wrote about the history of this single block in Soho.

Easterley calls the building "one of the ugliest buildings in Soho."

"It was built in the early 20th century, in the middle of what was then a pretty decrepit neighborhood. But part of the story of this block is how it became a very non-decrepit neighborhood, and the whole peak of the evolution of the neighborhood is the arrival of the Apple store, the peak of civilization!" he says laughing.