There are many ways to look at a city. One can get a view of it while walking down its avenues, flying through its airspace, or gazing from afar at its distinctive skyline, an unmistakable fingerprint. The curators of The Skyscraper Museum, however, view New York through its history, exploring the personalities that shaped the skyline along with the stories of the buildings themselves. Their exhibits delve deep into these stories, examining, for instance, the economic circumstances and technological advances which allowed the Woolworth Building—sometimes called the "Cathedral of Commerce"—to sprout from New York's fertile pavement.
Even the very bones of the museum support its subject, with displays set into stacked cases that rise from floor to ceiling. The stainless steel ceiling and floor extend the verticality, making guests feel as if they're striding through the skyline of a city as giants, caught between the perspective of man and skyscraper. The narrow passageways of the museum feature long strips of lighting, the stacked panels along the walls and streaks of light creating the sensation of driving down a bustling boulevard at night.
Housed in a former speakeasy, the Museum of the American Gangster isn’t obvious on a casual stroll down St. Mark’s Place. If visitors know to look for number 80, though, they pass through a black gate and up a flight of stairs, where a plethora of artifacts and exhibits awaits. The museum focuses on American organized crime through the decades, which includes profiling mob bosses, Prohibition-era gangsters, serial bank robbers, and dastardly Scooby-Doo villains. The New York Times praised co-owner and tour guide Lorcan Otway as "so encyclopedic that touring the rooms takes an hour," as he expounds upon America's unique relationship with hedonism and straight-laced morality. In the Wall Street Journal, correspondent Alexandra Cheney mentions noteworthy finds including the museum's genuine Tommy guns, vintage whiskey bottles, and old copper stills.
In its second year, The New Amsterdam Bicycle Show continues to draw inspiration from one of the globe’s most bike-friendly cities, showcasing thousands of road bikes, dutch bikes, and other styles while promoting safe urban cycling. The bike display sprawls across three stories and more than 33,000 square feet, and bike giveaways throughout the weekend arm patrons for stylish riding or perfecting their slow-motion Lance Armstrong impressions. In Bikelandia, the show's seminar portion, authors and experts present on cyclist issues such as New York’s bike lanes, and a fashion show flaunts the trendiest bike outfits and accessories. As they tour the festivities, patrons can sip complimentary pints at the Grolsch Lager beer garden and nosh on mouth-watering eats. The show also benefits Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for stronger biking, walking, and public-transit infrastructure.
NYSee Tours explores renowned sights in New York City with combination bus-and-walking tours, each led by effusive guides who flavor the sights with history, anecdotes, and their distinct personalities. Under the direction of owner and lifelong New Yorker Fred Pflantzer, they lead tours to prominent destinations including Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg and Red Hook. The Across Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour shepherds tour-goers across the eponymous span and through nearby Brooklyn areas including Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Williamsburg, returning to Manhattan via the subway. On the From The Battery to Central Park tour, passengers take up the history of the famous Broadway from it's southern Manhattan up to Central Park with stops at Washington Square Park, Chinatown, Time Square, and Little Italy.
After organizing the colonies' debts in 1792, the United States’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, conceived of the idea of assuming the state debts into the first federal bond issue. Among that issue—a bond made out to George Washington for $182.95. It wasn't the amount that lent the bond historic importance, or even the fact that it was signed by Washington, but that its value was expressed with a dollar sign, the symbol's first appearance on federal documents. At the Museum of American Finance, this bond is displayed alongside other artifacts from similarly historic moments throughout the history of American finance, giving visitors a unique perspective on the country's financial foundation. Juxtaposing this historical perspective are the museum's rotating exhibits, which offer insight on more recent financial affairs such as the credit crisis and the campaign to put Snoopy's face on the dollar bill.
Travel back to experience New York’s past as a home for dinosaurs, Native Americans, and eventually art critics at the Staten Island Museum. Founded in 1881, the museum encapsulates the area’s geological and cultural history with more than two million artifacts. Exhibits showcase relics from prehistoric Staten Island residents; fossil, geological, and wildlife taxidermy samples; and the spark that lit the Statue of Liberty’s torch. Art collections from historical painters and contemporary artists provide a workout for right brains and scan-happy eyes. As part of an ongoing dream to make the exhibits bigger and better, the museum is expanding into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a 19th century dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”