Tracking New York City's Beginnings Through its People

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.



Overlooking the western rim of Central Park, this neoclassical structure guards some of the oldest artifacts associated with the city of New York. It was founded in 1804 as New York's first museum and has been at its present location since 1908....  Read More



The historic gateway to America, Manhattan's Lower East Side is home to the place-based Lower East Side Tenement Museum. In the 19th century, millions of European immigrants poured into New York Harbor. A tour of the Tenement at 97 Orchard...  Read More



Museum of Chinese in America or MOCA started off in 1980 as the New York Chinatown History Project by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and community resident/activist Charles Lai. Housed in what Architectural Digest says is among Maya Lin's most...  Read More



Spanning the East River from City Hall to DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, the Brooklyn Bridge has welcomedNew Yorkers since 1883. Until 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. A must-see and must-do for any visitor is to take the...  Read More



The Museum is housed inside the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first great house of worship built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. With its soaring 50-foot ceiling, decorative painted finishes, and luminous stained glass, the...  Read More



Even if going to a library isn't on your list of "must-see" attractions back home, be sure to make an exception for the awe-inspiring Beaux-Art landmark known as the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd St. NYPL's mascots, the lions...  Read More



As the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1971, the Empire State Building is the ancestor of all super tall skyscrapers and makes a lasting impression in the minds of all who have stood beneath, or atop, this international icon or inside...  Read More



The three-gallery permanent exhibition presents all you ever wanted to know about the dramatic 400-year history of NYC from a striving Dutch village to today's "Capital of the World." The exhibition features more than 400 objects from New York...  Read More



The Statue of Liberty is among New York City's—and America's—most familiar landmarks: a massive copper-and-steel cast of a green lady raising a torch, clutching a tablet and donning a seven-point crown. The monument welcomed generations of...  Read More



The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York is located inside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House on the south side of Bowling Green, in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park, just about...  Read More


Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

Maria writes...  More About Maria