New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are all major metropolitan centers of commerce and culture. New York City was first settled by the Dutch. It became a trade center early in its development. Dutch fur traders depended on the traffic of the eastern seaboard. Later, during the industrial revolution, New York was home to many innovative changes in water transportation, including the first steamboat line.
Chicago was settled by westward-moving Americans in the early 1800's. It was an industrial center from early on, manufacturing steel, industrial paints, and construction equipment. Chicago's railroad lines provided the first easy means of transporting boats from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Traders who traveled by water came to depend on this industrial railway to move their ships from dock to dock.
Los Angeles was settled by the Spanish in the 1700s when Spanish governor Felipe de Neve saw the need for a settlement along the River Los Angeles. In the 1850s, Los Angeles built its work force in mines and railroad construction on the labor of Chinese immigrants. In the 20th century, the 1900s, the movie industry boomed. By 1930, Hollywood movies were already bringing in so much money that the industry provided a buffer from the Great Depression.