The race is on to preserve town halls, fire engine company buildings, sidewalk clocks, terra cotta factories, police stations and a host of historically significant places that are a testament to New York City’s biography. Today more than 35,000 buildings throughout New York City are protected landmarks, interior landmarks, scenic landmarks or part of 139 historic districts in all five boroughs. Never mind the startling plain-faced-glass-luxury apartment buildings that are piercing New York City’s skyline with their needles and severe right angles, don’t miss the brick and mortar action below with a cast of citizens working to also preserve the flesh and blood stories behind the buildings. Communities recognize the need to pass on the tales of yesterday to future generations and are transforming local efforts into preeminent museums such as the Museum of Chinese in America, or the decades of fundraising it took to rebuild the Eldridge St. Synagogue with a Museum inside it. Or, those institutions that developed because one individual had a dream to create what grew into the Smithsonian Institute with jewels like the lively National Museum of the American Indian. Museum Mile is home to the Museum of the City of New York that is experiencing a rebirth as is the New-York Historical Society, while the place-based Lower East Side Tenement Museum adopts more former tenements from complete ruin. So catch a big wide, breath of air, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, hop the ferry to pay homage to the green lady with the torch and Ellis Island where you can track your own history by viewing decades of ship manifests right there where so much of our families first set foot in America.