Conclusion. "The City and the World" begins in 1945, with New York "at the pinnacle," says historian David McCullough. By 1975 it was: "Ford to City: Drop Dead," as a Daily News headline put it. The program charts the city's decline as it follows what narrator David Ogden Stiers calls "a maelstrom of destruction in the name of urban renewal." Part and parcel of it were the highways Robert Moses built, many through vibrant neighborhoods. The city rebounded in the '80s.