Brian Doherty from Reason has an interesting article on NY's place as a libertarian mecca:
New York City is the celebrated center for many vital aspects of American culture: publishing, finance, and the arts. It rarely has been credited, however, as a cutting-edge leader in political ideologies.
But New York also is the breeding ground for a unique and growing American political tendency -- the modern American libertarian movement. It might seem ironic that a city that has been, at various times, one of the most overly governed and poorly governed of American cities should be a launching point for the political philosophy of strictly -- sometimes totally -- limited government. But it is, because of virtues that no amount of poor, local government can kill.
Three of the five central figures in American libertarianism were, for much of their lives, New Yorkers: Ayn Rand, the Russian emigre novelist and philosopher who inspired more people toward a combined emotional/intellectual commitment to individual liberty than any other figure in the 20th century; Ludwig Von Mises, the Austrian refugee economist whose free-market theories taught or inspired nearly every other libertarian figure; and Murray Rothbard, the Bronx-born gadfly economist, historian, and journalist who took libertarianism all the way into anarchism and whose comprehensive philosophy of liberty and activism energized nearly every major libertarian institution.
Living in New York was no accident, for any of them. Even for Rothbard, a native, life in New York was a conscious choice, one for which any alternative was barely imaginable.
Read the whole thing.
I just finished the Fountainhead, and one part of NY that quite visibly influenced Rand is modernist architecture. In fact, you would have to be blind not to see all the contempt with which she holds buildings in NY with mixed architectural styles. I'm curious which ones she liked the best and if there is some real historical analog to the "Cortlandt Homes project" described in the book.