• Regional Consolidation

last modified May 22, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

The Internet changed New York City's "competition" from New Jersey and Connecticut to Paris, London, Singapore, and Shanghai. This page looks at  reserving a set of geographic and other domain names that might facilitate regional social, economic, and governance consolidation.

Regional Evolution


From a tiny colony...


to a county...


to 5 counties (called boroughs)...


to 75 nodes?

The Seal


The seal of New Amsterdam c. 1654


The seal of the city of New York in 1865


The seal of the city of New York 2010


The seal of the .nyc Consolidated Regional Zone 2020

(first draft)






When the Duke of York (later to be King James II) granted the land west of the Hudson to two loyal friends, he established the Hudson River as the boundary between the New York and New Jersey provinces. This legacy from the colonial era continues to plague our region the states competing for jobs and in general a myopic "state" view of infrastructure, environmental, and business planning. The most recent instance of this, according to the New York Times, arose when New Jersey officials tried to lure the Fresh Direct from Queens to Jersey City with a $100 million package of tax breaks, land, and other subsidies.

Today, the Port Authority of New York and new Jersey administers many common harbor and development interests – bridges, tunnels, rail, water, air, and teleports. But strategic planners declare that if the region is to grow and maintain its role in an increasingly globalized market, and compete with regionalizing urban areas, it must solve regional integration problems like those caused by King Charles' myopia. (Ain't hindsight great.)

Some suggest a second regional consolidation is required - the first, in 1898, combined 5 county governments into today's NYC. Minimally, transportation and land use plans must be coordinated, with broader advantages arising through service delivery consolidation and regional economic planning, development, and marketing.

The .nyc TLD might serve as a linchpin for addressing these needs, with residents and businesses operating within the region eligible for .nyc domain names when they or their geographic host (city, town, village, etc.) joins a regional .nyc governance / economic / marketing enterprise.

Step One

Within the city there is general agreement that domain names representing neighborhoods should be reserved for use by local residents. But what of existing geographic units outside the city's border but within its economic shadow? Prudence says domain names of cities, towns, and villages in surrounding areas should be set aside to protect them from speculators and, perhaps, for that future day when the likes of Hoboken might choose to join the .nyc enterprise.

Reserved Geographic Names

 New Jersey
 New York
 Fairfield County Hudson County
Nassau County
BergenCounty Suffolk County
     FortLee.nyc     Montauk.nyc
   PassaicCounty  Westchester County

Step Two

So imagine it's 2015 and the .nyc TLD has been active for a couple of years. The City is humming on the global front. Immigrants continue to flow in from around the world. Employment is up. The city's budget is balanced. The schools are educating. Tourism is up.

Across the river, at a Hoboken Merchants Association meeting, some of the members wonder what it will take to benefit from the NYC juggernaut. Rudy the operator of a tony retail store asks, "How can we get some of those tourists that are flooding the city over here?"  Alfred, the operator of Hoboken Global Media, says "A lot of the tourists stay on the city's digital grid, following activities and places using those .nyc domain names." Alfred explains that he looked into getting the Hoboken.nyc domain name but found that it was reserved. Rudy asks, "Why is it reserved? What does that mean? If we got it people would think of us as a part of NYC, right. That's the way to get international tourists over here."  Johann Opengrowth, the Association's manager said he'd looked into getting the domain name but it required that Hoboken agree to the New York's consumer affairs regulations, and there might be tax implications. Alfred says, "Johann, how about looking into it and get back to us at next month's meeting." And so begins Node 6 (or perhaps The Sixth Borough).

Staten Island Secession vs. Regionalization

From a post submitted by Connecting.nyc Inc.'s director, Thomas Lowenhaupt, to the SIlive.com website after the Christmas 2010 blizzard, and the "Secede from New York City" call that arose from many on Staten Island.

As a Queens resident I know the frustration of being a stepchild of city hall. And as a member of my local community board for 14 years, I've experienced the pervasiveness and impact of Manhattan rules.

But even though the indignity and inefficiency of the current structure is nearly intolerable, secession is the wrong reaction. I suggest taking a step toward regional consolidation, inextricably tied with the decentralization of power. Over the past 10-20 years London, Montreal, Paris, Toronto, and Vancouver have expanded their cities in size while giving additional authority to local entities.

Consolidation would reflect a global reality - New York City today competes with London, Paris, Shanghai, and Singapore. And every time we fail to cooperate with our neighbors across the Hudson, Westchester, or Nassau borders, we strengthen the competition.

The last official regional consolidation occurred in 1898 when the city grew from Manhattan to the 5 boroughs. Mid-20th Century saw another consolidation of sorts, when the antenna rose on the Empire State Building and we became a single communication region living under the 90 mile broadcast umbrella.

Given the political will, there's something new on the horizon that will facilitate this consolidation, the .nyc TLD. A 2001 resolution by my community board called for the acquisition of the .nyc Top Level Domain – like .com and .org but just for New York City. While its arrival (hopefully in 2012) is important for small businesses and something called universal tagging, to me its role in providing civic infrastructure is the most anticipated aspect. The most obvious feature of this civic infrastructure will be transforming quaint neighborhood names into powerful web resources. For example, I live in Jackson Heights and believe the availability of the JacksonHeights.nyc domain name provide the basis for a powerful communication and organizing tool.

The 62 Staten Island neighborhoods are included in a collaboration we've joined with Wikimedia-NY (the local branch of the organization that brought us Wikipedia), and the Internet Society-NY that's taking a first step toward these more powerful local neighborhoods a reality. See the NYCwiki.org for the early results.

I dwell on the neighborhood names because they highlight the opportunity local names might play in regional consolidation. So think about the Hoboken.nyc domain name. What home-rule powers might make an association in some new regional economic entity acceptable to Hoboken? What would Hoboken gain and loose through an social, economic, and ecological affiliation with a global region identified by its .nyc domain name? What home-rule powers do Annadale.nyc, BayTerrace.nyc, Concord.nyc, etc. need to make more powerful neighborhoods within a city that can effectively compete globally? Bottom Line – consolidation not secession.

Other Regionalizing Names

If we're going to consider reserving geographic names to foster a broader economic zone, what other names should be reserved for out-of-core entities: business and civic names, streets, train stations... perhaps the entire panoply represented by the Internet of Things.

Related Research

Key .nyc Pages