Population > 18.8 million
Leading indicator > Nation's highest per capita income in the urban core
Fast companies > Viacom; JetBlue Airways; Goldman Sachs
Love it or not, New York is sui generis. It has among the highest proportions in the nation of college-educated foreign residents, of ethnic restaurants, and of small businesses, according to CityVitals. It also has 42 million tourists, a reinvigorated stock market, and a plan from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make the city more eco-friendly.