I suggest in this chapter that the uneasy fit of cities in the American political system (something that has persisted despite the fact that both cities and the American political system, and their relationships to one another, have changed dramatically over the past two centuries) might tell us something interesting about American political development. My suggestion fits into the strain of historical institutionalist research that sees institutional ‘friction’ or ‘intercurrence’ as key to explaining significant change over time. It diverges, however, from the dominant traditions within the study of American urban politics. I provide an overview of these dominant traditions, and I then suggest how viewing cities as ill-fitting elements within American political development might open up new avenues for researching the relationships between cities and American political thought, federalism, and the construction of political roles and identities.
Bruce F. Berg
This article investigates the range of state-city relations in order to evaluate the state's impact on the city as well as the city's ability to influence state governance. New York City is a unit of local government in New York State. New York City needed state legislature to approve parkland alienation for the building of the new Yankee Stadium. A major part of what makes New York State–New York City relations unique is the degree of influence that New York City has at the state level. Despite the natural rivalry between the two offices, mayors and governors from different parties, or positions on the political spectrum, do not necessarily experience heightened conflict. Relations between a specific mayor and governor can also change over time. New York City remains one of many New York State local governments and must function within this framework.