Created By: Pichu-kun on September 15, 2015 Last Edited By: rmctagg09 on January 13, 2017
Troped

New York Is Only Manhattan

Manhattan is the only relevant portion of NYC.

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Trope
New York City is made of five boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Of them however Manhattan is the one that gets the most attention in fiction. New York State has it even worse. "New York City" is only a relatively small part of New York as a whole. In videogames, this is often due to New York City's sheer size making it hard to fit everything in.

If a character comes from New York they'll usually come from some portion of Manhattan, unless they come from a troubled background because then Brooklyn and the Bronx are fair game.

Sub-trope of Big Applesauce. Related to Britain Is Only London, which is a similar situation in a different country. Compare Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe. Fulton Street Folly deals with concentrating on Lower Manhattan in particular.


Examples:

Advertising
  • There are NY state vacation advertisements with the slogan "There's more to New York than New York" meant to put emphasis on places besides Manhattan.
  • A New York City advertisement for Seamless boasts about how everything is "big" in NYC, except for the kitchens, by using clips of Manhattan. Small kitchens are also usually associated with Manhattan more than the other boroughs.

Comic Books
  • The Marvel Universe has this as a Zig Zagged Trope: While the majority of events that occur on New York visibly occur only on Manhattan, there are many heroes who live in other boroughs and thus occasionally had to deal with situations closer to home (example: Spider-Man being a Queens native).
  • Deadpool: The main stories in the comic of Deadpool all take place not only on Manhattan, but within a 5 or 10 block Midtown area.

Film - Animation
  • The Disney feature Oliver & Company transpires almost entirely in Manhattan; the climax occurs on the Manhattan Bridge. Further, the opening scene is a slow pan of western Manhattan, and the closing scene is a zoom-out on Times Square.

Film - Live Action
  • Subverted in The Snake Pit. When the mentally ill protagonist is tested on whether she's well enough to leave the mental institution:
    Man: Where were you living when you became ill?
    Virginia: New York.
    Man: Where in New York?
    Virginia: New York City.
    Man: I mean, where in New York City?
    Virginia: Manhattan.
  • Averted in Saturday Night Fever, which focuses on Brooklyn.

Live-Action TV

Literature
  • Averted in the Young Wizards series. The protagonists live in Nassau County, on Long Island, and the series consequently spends quite a bit of time there. The entire second book is set in The Hamptons. (That said, the main action of the first book does take place on a day trip to Manhattan.)

Video Games
  • The region of Unova from Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is based off of NYC, especially Manhattan.
  • The first Midnight Club starts off in New York, but is limited to Manhattan. The only evidence that the other boroughs exist is that one of your rivals, Larry Muller, proudly states he's from Queens.
  • True Crime: New York City takes place in New York City (as you can tell from the title). Once again, the city seems to be relegated to Manhattan. Debug mode reveals other areas of New York. They have named streets, vehicles and pedestrians, but no buildings. It's possible they were Dummied Out due to NYC being too large.
  • Averted by Driver and Driver: Parallel Lines. Driver takes place in New York in the last part of the game and part of the map includes Brooklyn. Parallel Lines, on the other hand, includes not only Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx (but not Staten Island), but a portion of New Jersey as well.
  • Averted in Grand Theft Auto IV, where every borough except Staten Island and even part of New Jersey (In the form of Alderney), is represented in its Liberty City.
  • In Assassin's Creed III Connor and Desmond only visit Manhattan, though in the former's case it's justified because during the 18th Century New York City was comprised solely of what would later be called Lower Manhattan.
  • The Division starts out in Brooklyn but the rest is in Manhattan.
  • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes the island of Manhattan is used as a conveniently well-defined location for everything to happen on. For this to work, the game's designers have moved some things to Manhattan that are normally situated in greater New York (such is the X-Mansion, which in the comics is upstate in Salem Center).

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • September 15, 2015
    lakingsif
  • September 15, 2015
    TonyG
  • September 15, 2015
    BKelly95
    Video Games
    • The first Midnight Club starts off in New York, but is limited to Manhattan. The only evidence that the other boroughs exist is that one of your rivals, Larry Muller, proudly states he's from Queens.
    • True Crime: New York City takes place in New York City (as you can tell from the title). Once again, the city seems to be relegated to Manhattan.
    • Averted by Driver and Driver: Parallel Lines. Driver takes place in New York in the last part of the game and part of the map includes Brooklyn. Parallel Lines, on the other hand, includes not only Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx (but not Staten Island), but a portion of New Jersey as well.
  • September 16, 2015
    TonyG
    Invoked on News Radio when Bill gives an editorial.
    Bill: Wake up, Manhattan! Wake up, Brooklyn! Wake up... the other three boroughs!
  • September 16, 2015
    Pichu-kun
    It's Staten Island? Huh.. I always mix up the two. I was gonna check but decided against it.
  • September 16, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ did you change the spelling of "boroughs" back? It's spelled with an 'o' even if it's pronounced 'u'.
  • September 16, 2015
    Pichu-kun
    No. The only thing I edited was adding the London part.
  • September 16, 2015
    marcoasalazarm
    Comic Books example: The Marvel Universe has this as a Zig Zagged Trope: While the majority of events that occur on New York visibly occur only on Manhattan, there are many heroes who live on other boroughs and thus occasionally had to deal with situations closer to home (example: Spider Man being a Queens native).
  • September 17, 2015
    Arivne
    Changed both examples of "buroughs" to "boroughs".
  • September 17, 2015
    lakingsif
    Changed Long back to Staten.
  • September 18, 2015
    Prfnoff
    Before 1873, New York City was only Manhattan. When the Brooklyn Bridge opened, Brooklyn was still a separate city. Even today, New York County is Manhattan.
  • October 11, 2015
    AgProv
  • October 11, 2015
    shadebug
  • October 11, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ Yes. Wow, I'm ashamed to admit that I genuinely thought that was a police trope. Maybe we could give it a redirect?
  • October 11, 2015
    TonyG
    Fulton Street Folly is specifically about lower Manhattan. I'd say it's a subtrope.
  • October 12, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^Long Island isn't part of New York City.

    Perhaps the trope name could be changed to New York City Is Manhattan, since there can be some confusion between New York [implied City] and New York [implied State].
  • October 12, 2015
    lakingsif
  • October 12, 2015
    GiorgioDaneri
  • October 13, 2015
    StarSword
    One possible reason for this trope is the fact that the iconic NYC skyscraper skyline and monuments such as the Statue of Liberty are all located in or around Manhattan, as is the financial district on Wall Street.
  • March 13, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    ^^^^ I didn't use "NYC" on purpose. People ignore NY state even more than non-Manhattan NYC.
  • March 13, 2016
    Tallens
    • Zig-Zagged in the Rick Riordan mythological universe. Percy Jackson And The Olympians has Mount Olympus on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, which results in the final drive for the Titans to capture Olympus taking place in and around Manhattan, while the demigods main base, Camp Half-Blood, is located on Long Island. Then it's completely averted in The Kane Chronicles, who are based in Brooklyn, and specifically told to avoid Manhattan if they can, since it has "other problems, other gods."
  • March 13, 2016
    rmctagg09
    This is a trope I've wanted to see for a long time because since I live in Brooklyn its prevalence tends to annoy me. Also, using Unova as a straight example is incorrect since the only NYC boroughs that don't have an analogue of some sort are the Bronx and Staten Island, and all of western Unova is based on New Jersey.

    Also, should we make a separate section for aversions?

    • Spider Man 2 takes place entirely within Manhattan, with even the level based on the final battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock in Long Island City, Queens taking place there instead.
  • March 13, 2016
    DAN004
  • March 18, 2016
    rmctagg09
    • Averted in Grand Theft Auto IV, where every borough except Staten Island and even part of New Jersey (In the form of Alderney), is represented in its Liberty City.
  • March 22, 2016
    rmctagg09
    • In Assassins Creed III Connor and Desmond only visit Manhattan, though in the former's case it's justified because during the 18th Century New York City was comprised solely of what would later be called Lower Manhattan.
  • May 4, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Someone changed the name?
  • May 4, 2016
    rmctagg09
    Appears so. Voting to change it back since the new title is far too vague.
  • May 4, 2016
    iNfiniTeSe7eNz
    Not to mention the fact that "alway's" isn't even a word.
  • May 4, 2016
    PaulA
    Seconding. Calling it "Always Gotta Be Manhattan" leaves the question: What has always gotta be Manhattan? Calling it "New York City Is Only Manhattan" would be clearer. Or "New York Is Only Manhattan" if it's supposed to be about the whole state, though in that case the description needs rewriting too.

    Anyway, an example:

    • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes the island of Manhattan is used as a conveniently well-defined location for everything to happen on. For this to work, the game's designers have moved some things to Manhattan that are normally situated in greater New York (such is the X-Mansion, which in the comics is upstate in Salem Center).
  • May 5, 2016
    PaulA
    Literature

    • Averted in the Young Wizards series. The protagonists live in Nassau County, on Long Island, and the series consequently spends quite a bit of time there. The entire second book is set in The Hamptons. (That said, the main action of the first book does take place on a day trip to Manhattan.)
  • May 5, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • The Disney feature Oliver And Company transpires almost entirely in Manhattan; the climax occurs on the Manhattan Bridge. Further, the opening scene is a slow pan of western Manhattan, and the closing scene is a zoom-out on Times Square.
  • July 18, 2016
    lakingsif
    The only trope I can think of for having events there because there are famous landmarks to see/protect is Eiffel Tower Effect, but I'm sure there's another one. (Though it should be noted that the Statue Of Liberty is technically on Liberty Island, out in Manhattan Bay.)
    • Deadpool: The main stories in the comic of Deadpool all take place not only on Manhattan, but within a 5 or 10 block Midtown area.
  • July 23, 2016
    ANTMuddle
    All you need now is a good snapshot. Also:

    • Manhattan is the only relevant portion of NYC.
      • Or NYS.
  • July 20, 2016
    MisterTimor
    Actually there are other boroughs in True Crime, accessible through the debug mode. They have named streets, vehicles and pedestrians, but no buildings. Maybe they couldn't finish them in time and had to stuff it all in Manhattan.
  • July 20, 2016
    klausbaudelaire
    In the case of video games this is more often than not due to technical limitations given New York City's size and all.
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