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New York City (SC2013)

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About this City Journal

An initial attempt at creating the city of New York

Entries in this City Journal


Downtown Manhattan is shaping up nice. Perhaps it's time to take a quick trip into the city...


Driving up the BQE gives a great view of downtown and the Statue of Liberty in the distance


(Real life view from the BQE)


Taking a very reddish Brooklyn Bridge into the city (I guess the city's trying out some new paint!)


Real life view from the Brooklyn Bridge, though angled more towards the southern tip of Manhattan


1 Broadway, right in front of Battery Park


Real life view of Battery Park and 1 Broadway from State Street


Aerial view of downtown Manhattan


Aerial view of Downtown Manhattan


A rainy night back along the Brooklyn Bridge


Instead of having the World Trade Center site develop naturally with commercial high-rises, I decided to plop down the various trade buildings which work as a nice substitute, especially given their height. The tower used for 2 WTC looks more like Trump Tower or the Woolworth Building, but there's not really any other buildings as tall that I can use. Sadly, 1 WTC would run just north of the city limit which leaves it out of my city.


View of Downtown Manhattan from Brooklyn with the World Trade Center complex up


View from Liberty Island


Look towards Manhattan Island from the southeast


The World Trade Center complex park area, near the memorial, facing the new towers


Daytime aerial shot of Lower Manhattan


Looking up near the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance, with Greenwich Street to the right and WTC in the distance


Pics from a different city in a different region on a different server...

One of my earlier cities was based off of north Midtown and the Central Park area. It's pretty much a grid city with high density avenues and high density streets to see how close I could get to a Midtown Manhattan. The city isn't really a street for street representation of Midtown but does capture the essence of the city. The blocks aren't as long, but given how small cities are in SimCity, only a few blocks would fit if I kept it to scale. Also, unlike my Lower Manhattan city, this one was not built on sandbox mode and is dealing with the full woes of a regular game.


View from Midtown looking north. Everything under 59th Street btw 5th and 8th Ave is zoned commercial.


View looking down south on 5th Avenue by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (City Hall building used)


Bird's-Eye View of Central Park (Midtown on top, UES to the left)


Downtown Skyscrapers

Buildings are finally starting to take shape. Technically the police precincts in New York are further up north. Precinct 1 that covers the Financial District is actually further up in Tribeca, by the Holland Tunnel exit on 16 Ericsson Place by Varick Street. The NYPD Headquarters is located north of the Brooklyn Bridge at One Police Plaza. Still, I did my best to sneak in some police, fire, and health coverage to prevent further building abandonment.


More skyscrapers fill downtown


First skyscrapers arrive


View from Brooklyn

I also placed the Statue of Liberty on the island on the southwest corner of the map. It's a bit too close to Manhattan, but it wouldn't be downtown without it. While I was able to link a ferry station, the sliver of land is too small to stick in a power plant so no power can get to the island (and I'm not about to build a random road bridge).


View from Liberty Island

Traffic has gotten bad on the BQE all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately without the ability to place the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, this will be the only way to get into the city. Then again, the traffic situation isn't really that off from real life...


Heavy traffic on the BQE getting into Manhattan


Starting to feel like a real view from Brooklyn


Lower Manhattan Develops

I started using the other cities in the region to source more utilities and industrial zones to keep Lower Manhattan balanced. Just for kicks, I named the dedicated garbage/industrial city "Newark" and the hilly residential area (for more shoppers) "Forest Hills".

The additional support seems to be helping my main city develop. Several more mid and high rises have begun to spring up throughout the city. Roads haven't clogged yet so the extra utility cars (garbage, police, fire, recycling) have been able to make it in without much issue, although the northbound lane of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is starting to see some traffic (as everyone tries to connect up into the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan).


More buildings are spring up downtown. Traffic is starting to build up on the northbound lanes on the BQE


Close up of South Ferry with the "Brooklyn Bridge" in the distance along the East River


Zoning Downtown

Unfortunately SimCity doesn't allow for mixed zoning either. Nowadays a good chunk of buildings in New York are a mix of residential and commercial. Even for smaller apartment buildings including brownstones, the ground floor can be a shop or store while the rest of the floors are dedicated for residential.

Additionally, several older commercial buildings downtown have been converted into residential. For the most part, I kept the blocks closest to the East River commercial while the middle portion of map has been turned residential. Battery Park City was zoned residential as well and the area to the northwest by the World Trade Center site is commercial.


After a few "days," mid-rise buildings are starting to take shape.

For those hoping to see something special, there really weren't any buildings that could represent the New York Stock Exchange and Trinity Church, so there's nothing in the map to represent those areas. However, I squeezed in City Hall towards the exit of the Brooklyn Bridge at the very north edge of the map. I also kept the World Trade Center park site empty, except for the commercial zones where WTC 2, 3 and 4 are located.


Laying Initial Roadwork

Since I'm limited to the preset map with no option to change the terrain, I still had to make some creative "workarounds" while trying to keep as true to form to the city.

I started with laying the ferry in the southern tip of the island, mirroring South Ferry. I was planning to place more ferries to reflect the numerous piers and ferries alongside the east side (Pier 11/IKEA ferry/Water Taxi) but the ferry bulidings in the game take up too much space, especially with the included parking lot. Instead, I used a high density avenue to represent the FDR Drive. To the west of the ferry, I started laying in Battery Park. The WTC sculpture is represented by the Plumbob Park.

After that, it was just a matter of trying to replicate the various streets of Lower Manhattan on the map, although some of the smaller streets had to be removed, as the space in between was too small to allow for any actual building. As I moved further north towards Maiden Lane and John Street, I had to amalgamate a few streets to allow for the Brooklyn Bridge. By the way, the Brooklyn Bridge-like bridge shown in earlier art never made the cut. Instead, we're stuck with either a flat bridge or a Golden Gate-inspired suspension bridge. I opted for the latter.


Real world map for comparison


Roadwork with initial zoning

I used high density avenues for both the FDR Drive and West Street. I used a low density avenue for what would be the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Too bad I can't lay tunnels under water either.

With the large streets down, I started putting down Water Street and William Street to the east, Broadway and Trinity Place up the middle, and Battery Place to the west.


Setting Up New York

Recreating real world cities is much easier in SimCity 4 in pretty much every facet. Not only are buildings, streets, and transportation extremely limited, all maps are currently preset, making it impossible to accurately recreate any city.

After scouring the various regions, Mesquite (of Titan Gorge) has a form that is somewhat close to the shape of lower Manhattan, although given the small city sizes, we're still not talking about a large chunk of Manhattan.


Mesquite, city 1 in Titan Gorge




Area for re-creation

As it works out, the region-highway entrance/exit is located across the river in what would be the Brooklyn analogue. Since tunnels aren't available, the only connection into the city will be the "Brooklyn Bridge," positioned as far north as possible.


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