NYC for a history geek

Old Apr 8th, 2007, 02:05 AM
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The Frick musuem is a good museum to spend a couple of hours at if you like art.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - leads to Brooklyn Heights and wonderful 19th century Brownstone neighborhood. Also can, from there, walk towards the river on the Brooklyn side and be in an old warehouse section that is now getting turned into a real neighborhood (factories into apartments, restaurants, etc.) and has one of the best chocolatiers in the world - Jaques Torres's chocolate shop. To die for hot chocolate and goodies. Also a lovely park that is like a rock beach right on the East River with incredible Manhattan views.

The Met - They have a "suggested" price to get in. However, you may pay what you want. (Yes, even a quarter).
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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The Lower East Side Tenement museum is fascinating and a trip to the lower east side on Sunday is also very interesting.

I agree with Ellis Island over the Statue of Liberty for a history geek.

The Brooklyn Heights area of Brooklyn right across the bridge is very interesting and provides great views of Manhattan. So if you do walk across the bridge, consider spending a little time there. The Fulton Ferry Landing is a good historic spot complete with Walt whitman quotes. Henry Ward Beecher preached at Pilgrim Church of the Pilgrims. Etc., etc.

I would suggest having different itineraries in mind so you can adjust depending on the weather. All the walking suggestions will be less than charming if it is raining -- but you can always do the museums.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Just wanted to second the "downtown--Fraunces Tavern--Trinity Church" (Alexander Hamilton is buried there)advice, for anyone interested in history. Plus, there's the nearby "history to be" at Ground Zero. I also got a thrill out of the Gutenberg Bible display at the Fifth Ave Public Library (& the reading room is quite the sight on its own).
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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While visiting Park Slope, take a ramble through Prospect Park. Designed by Frederick Olmstead (same lanscape artist who designed Central Park). It's been awhile since I've been out there, but it was the site of a battle in the revolutionary war. Better info than I can give you at the link below...
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 02:46 AM
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Thanks again.

Anything else that has not been mentioned.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 03:35 AM
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I'm sure there's loads that hasn't been mentioned but I think you've already got your hands full here.

I don't know if anyone ever answered your question about how long for Ellis Island. If you plan on going yourself (w/o the Tom Bernardin tour) I think you need to allow a total of 3-4 hrs. including security and waiting times. Forgive me if I'm repeating info already here (didn't reread everything) but the ferry from Manhattan stops first at Liberty Island for the statue and then goes on to Ellis Island. You can chose not to get off. From the NJ side, the ferry stops at Ellis Island first. I've heard Mr. Bernardin takes his tour group over to NJ and starts from there.

I don't think anyone answered your question about the theater for your wife. is a website that provides discount codes for some shows. If you buy them online or over the phone (better since you can talk to a live person) you pay some transaction fees. If you print the discounts from your computer and wait til you arrive to go to the box office, you save those fees (but maybe don't get the show you want). You could also try using one of the TKTS booths which are a bit cheaper but require cash and usually standing in line. Info on locations, hours etc. at

As to which shows, there are lots of good ones right now. Journey's End has gotten excellent reviews (a drama). Drowsy Chaperone and the just opened Curtains are fun musicals about Broadway. You can read about them on, and there are NY TImes reviews on their website. has a calendar of events. Putting in your dates I notice there are some tours on the day you arrive (that's as far as I got) that might interest you.
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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I'm with Doug Stallings. If I were a history Geek, probably my #1 spot would be Ellis Island, and you'll get the bonus of a close-up look at the Statue of Liberty.

And I think the tenement museum and tour mentioned above is a great historic thing to do.

Fascinating history of New York exhibits at the Museum of New York City way up Fifth Avenue.
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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For a historian-

Columbus Park in chinatown-Once the 5 points and one of the most dangerous areas of NY as depicted in Gangs of NY

Lower Broadway-Once the site of scores of ticker tape parades and a tribal war path. Also see Old Customs House now Native American Museum, the famed bull of Wall Street, Wall Street itself and Federal Hall.

World Trade Center

Trinity Church as noted by others

Castle Clinton-once the protector of NY harbor

Brooklyn Bridge-a beautiful and significant structure

IRT line-the first subway in NYC. If you stay on the downtown local train after Brooklyn Brdge you will see the defunct City Hall stop, quite beautiful. (You are supposed to exit the train at BB).

NY County courthouse steps-site of countless TV programs and movies.

Woolworth building-extraordianry art deco lobby

The Old NYC Police Headquarters-in the manner of French Town Hall, where Teddy Roosevelt was commuisioner on Centre Street

Washington Mews-a cobblestone street that once had carriage houses

Flatiron Building-first skyscraper

Borrow or buy a copy of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Guide to NYC, It will be invaluable.

Also read the Moynihan (yes the senator but written when he taught at Harvard) and Glazer, Beyond the Melting Pot.

I would just pass the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island, right side out. left side back.

Brooklyn Diner as as much Brooklyn as Dsineyland is to fact.

Places to eat or drink with a historical background.

Yonah Schimmel Knishes-They make them the old fashioned way.

Veniero's-an excellent but low price Italian Pastry shop from 1894 or so

Katz'e Deli- great pastrami and they give you ticket like in the old cafeterias.

White Horse Tavern where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death

Chumley's-an old speakeasy with no sign on the street

Don't eat just visit or pass Fraunces Tavern and One if By Land (Aaron Burr's Carriage House)
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 04:47 PM
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It's nice for people to add to a thread about historic sites in NYC, but please note that the original poster's trip was 3 months ago, and this thread was topped by somebody who was 'Bookmarking".
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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I take it all back.
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Old Aug 30th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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book mark
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Old Aug 30th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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I take it all back.

LOL! I'll be in New York in a few months and am saving this thread!
Old Aug 31st, 2007, 02:59 PM
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I've been to New York many times, but never really as a tourist, always visiting friends/family. This November I am taking a bona fide tourist trip to the city, and as a big-time history geek, this thread has been invaluable. Thanks to all who have posted. And many thanks to Nagel for asking these questions.
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 06:43 PM
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A bit belated, but if you ever return to NYC, the Tenement Museum in the Bowery area is terrific!
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 08:37 PM
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A minor correction. The Tenement Museum is located in the Lower East Side. The Lower East Side has long had been associated with immigration in NYC and the United States.

The Bowery evokes images of honky tonks and derelicts. In fact there is a still a flop house on the Bowery along with restaurant supply houses and lighting stores. Only recently has the complexion of the Bowery begun to change. If you move a block west to Elizabeth Street, until five to seven years ago, was either part of Little Italy or Chinatown. Today the Little Italy portion is mostly gone except near Grand Street due to the expansion of Chinatown from the south and the tragically hip from the north.
One street to the west, Chrystie, has very different personality than the Bowery with an pedestrian island, once the turf of drug dealers and wholesale businesses. Chrystie, could be one the last north/south corridors in the Lower East Side to chane for the better.
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