I'm going to start up a series of blog posts on an alternate Earth's Manhattan. It should be readily usable for supers or urban fantasy. You will see references to popular comics characters. I will change the Mayor and other people, so that I can make them corrupt as needed, without a real-life lawyer suing me. (It should be obvious, but I am in no way claiming ownership of any DC, Marvel, etc. properties).
Many things are the same, yet there are a number of changes. The year is 2012. The Towers still fell. However, the city has not gone through gentrification and many neighborhoods are similar to how they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The nice areas are very nice, but the bad areas are still bad. The rich whites have not pushed the locals out of most of southern Manhattan.
Another big difference is that camera phones have not caught on. Some people have them, but most don’t. This prevents vigilantes and criminals from getting caught as easily as they might. In addition, New York has not installed thousands of street cameras. They tried, but the idea was shot down in court as an invasion of privacy.
RICO was shot down by Congress, so organized crime is much stronger than it would be, otherwise. A lot of the big Dons are pretty much untouchable by the police. Kingpin runs all of New York City, as well as the surrounding cities. The various Families work for him.
There are still a lot of mom-and-pop shops, and the big chain stores have not taken over the shopping and restaurant businesses.