Civil Society

From Dark City

Arts, Media & Society

New York City has been characterized as the cultural capital of the world. A hub of multi-culturism, the diverse ethnic influence can be seen in the art, music, stage performances, fashion and food of the great city. For more than a century the city has been a world renown destination for the arts. Home to cultural institutions, such as, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The New York City Ballet, and of course Broadway.

The arts aren’t just confined to institutions, buskers pepper the city, and studios, galleries and fashion designers set up in the nooks and crannies they can afford to rent. It is a city of treasures to be discovered by those on the hunt for the ‘next great find’.

The Societies of New York City are many. From the High Society of the gala throwing, wealthy, elite and connected, to those that grow organically around the subcultures of underground music, fashion, art scenes. It is a city where you can find anything, if you know where to look.


New York is home to the headquarters of several billion dollar and Fortune 100 companies; countless others have a substantial regional presence in the five boroughs, and the area also boasts several prestigious business schools, including Columbia University and NYU.

The economy of New York City has diversified only a little in the past few decades, with shuffling emphasis between tourism, finance, trade, real estate, technology, and media. Some of the behemoths of the Big Apple include IBM, Deloitte, Pepsi, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Verizon, and Pfizer, to name only a few.

And like any such hub, it has a dark underbelly where the ambitious, the cunning, and the unscrupulous can take advantage, with deep roots that sprawl outwards and upturn other parts of the city.


The seedy underbelly of New York City teems with opportunity for a wide variety of criminals, ranging from the lowliest and most obvious misfits to the equally meticulous and unlikely of overlords. Although the glory days of organized crime are decades in the rearview mirror, the bold bravado and open-air nature of some of the the Big Apple's most notorious criminal organizations has not decayed one bit.

But it's not just the underworld that seethes with criminal enterprise; it's everywhere. In handshakes between the moneyed and the connected, behind closed doors at city halls. Where there are people in New York, you can bet that something criminal is happening, including but not limited to broad daylight muggings, narcotics and cash changing hands on the street corner, shipments of grey and black market weapons, bookies lousy with 'the best odds in town', thieves, scam artists, and would-be kingpins galore.


New York City is home to the largest public school system in the United States, with 32 community schooling districts and over one million students enrolled across 1,500 schools. By law, any child between the age of 5 and 21 is entitled to a free public education. Despite years of chronic underfunding, its public education system is considered one of the very best in the country.

In 2017, New York also declared that any families or individuals making less than $125,000 per year would be qualified to attend any of the community or state (CUNY and SUNY) colleges tuition-free, adding to the already 594,000 college and university students that attend any of the City's 110 institutions of higher education.

Law & Government

New York City employs over 325,000 people to assist with the conducting of its civil affairs, of which over 36,000 are cops. Its annual budget for 2021 is $88.2 billion, that's billion with a b -- and it spends every red cent. With some of the highest costs in the world, the City doesn't get cut a lot of slack in its own resource and labor procurement, but with big spending comes big taxation, and frequently there's a lot of noise about exactly how all of that money is spent.

With the eyes of the world frequently leveled on New York, everything that it does comes under a magnifying glass, ranging from court decisions to adopted legislation to the frequent instances of police brutality. Whether it's the business sector, or education, medicine, transportation, finance, and more, there are very few things that the artifice of New York's expansive city government don't touch.


New York stands apart in its healthcare ecosystem in that it’s also home to nineteen medical schools and one of the country's largest concentration of medical and research facilities, including the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and The College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

As one of the most populous megacities in the world, New York has ample hospitals, research institutes, clinics and government offices, and is a powerful needle-mover in the growing biotechnology and medical research industry.


  • All Storytellers participate in Civil Society plots. Any might be relevant to one, but if you're unsure, just open up a venue ticket for your character.