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The story has been told often. The sustained economic success
that thrust New York into international preeminence has been
closely linked to the development and maintenance of superior
systems of transportation. Whether in the leading role or a
supporting position, transportation underwent critical improvements
as one economic era evolved into the next. In the 19th Century the
Erie Canal made New York City the gateway to the frontier. Later
in the same century outstanding port facilities attracted the
commerce and immigrant talent that would thrust the region into a
role of manufacturing leadership. An outstanding system of ferries
were sufficient to overcome the barriers to commerce and labor
movement presented by the rivers and bays.

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