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400 Years of NYC History

  • 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St., Open Daily 10am–6pm

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    What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World,” and consider its future in our changing world.

    Framed around the key themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, New York City’s history and future come alive in this first-of-its-kind exhibition, through the stories of innovation, energy, struggle, and the vision of generations of immigrants, politicians, tycoons, dreamers, master builders, and ordinary New Yorkers.

    New York at Its Core captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other, featuring the city’s “big personalities” – among them, Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, and Jay Z. The stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Lower East Side denizen Susie Rocco, also figure prominently in the exhibition, as do some of the furred and shelled residents who shaped the city’s economic and daily life – among them, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster. And the final gallery, the Future City Lab invites visitors to delve into the issues facing the city over the coming years an in immersive, hands-on space.

    Through almost 450 historic objects and images, many from the Museum’s rich collection, as well as contemporary video, photography, and interactive digital experiences, we welcome you to dive deep into the city’s past and create your own visions for its future.

    Image credit: Manhattan, looking north-east, 1932 Photograph by Samuel H. Gottscho Museum of the City of New York, 39.20.2
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