Y ¿cuál es la ciudad de los rascacielos? Pues sí, Nueva York. Pero ¿se inventaron allí los rascacielos? Pues no. Al menos eso nos dice el libro de Elizabeth Laird, Faces of the U.S.A., New York, Longman, 1987.
“In 1871, Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern and set fire to Chicago. Eighteen thousand buildings burned down, and three hundred people died. It was the end of the old Chicago, but it was also a new beginning. Out of the ashes grew a whole new style of building. The architects who rebuilt Chicago used steel to make strong frames that climbed so high they "scraped the sky." The skyscraper was invented.
The idea soon spread to other cities. Manhattan, in New York, became a forest of skyscrapers. All over the country, city skylines changed, as banks, big companies, and hotels pushed concrete, glass, and steel higher and higher. In "downtown" areas, where the stores and offices were found, earlier buildings disappeared to make way for the new style.
But while the downtown areas of many American cities become more modern, other parts are falling into ruin. In the inner-city areas, poorer people are crowded into old, badly cared-for buildings. There are too few jobs, and there is too much crime, and too little hope.”