400 Years of NYC History

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What made New York New York?

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. 

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.

Take a whirlwind journey through the history of the five boroughs with the new New York at Its Core catalog!  


New York at Its Core is made possible by:

James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller; Pierre DeMenasce; The Thompson Family Foundation; Jerome L. Greene Foundation in honor of Susan Henshaw Jones; Heather and Bill Vrattos; Charina Endowment Fund; National Endowment for the Humanities; Citi; Zegar Family Foundation; Tracey and Kenneth A. Pontarelli; Hilary Ballon and Orin Kramer; Jill and John Chalsty; Dyson Foundation; Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Foundation; Valerie and Jack Rowe; Mary Ann and Bruno A. Quinson; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Booth Ferris Foundation; Institute of Museum and Library Services; The David Berg Foundation; The Joelson Foundation; The Hearst Foundations; Stephen and Stephanie Hessler; William and Elizabeth Kahane; James A. Lebenthal; John P. Strang Trust; An Anonymous Donor; Newton P. S. Merrill and Polly Merrill; Laura Lofaro Freeman and James L. Freeman; Cynthia Foster Curry; Stephen and Cynthia Ketchum; Robert and Carola Jain; Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Todd DeGarmo/STUDIOS Architecture; Jim and Diane Quinn; Mitchell S. Steir/Savills Studley; Netherland-America Foundation; American Express Foundation; The Barker Welfare Foundation; Con Edison; Dutch Culture USA/Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York;

Jerome L Greene Logo
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Leslie and Mark Godridge; Lorna and Edwin Goodman; Kathy and Othon Prounis; Daryl Brown Uber/William E. Weiss Foundation; Ann and Adam Spence; The Ambrose Monell Foundation; Atran Foundation; Nancy and James Druckman; Tom and Deban Flexner; Budd and Jane Goldman; Jim Hanley/Taconic Builders Inc.; Sylvia Hemingway; Susan Jang and Kenneth E. Lee; Gurudatta and Margaret Nadkarni; Nixon Peabody LLP; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott; Elizabeth Farran and W. James Tozer Jr.; John and Barbara Vogelstein Foundation; Greater Hudson Heritage Network; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, New York City Council; EvensonBest; Daniel R. Garodnick, New York City Council; Elizabeth Graziolo; David Guin and Kym McClain; Stanford and Sandra Ladner; Lucius N. Littauer Foundation; Mary Ann and Martin J. McLaughlin; Museum Association of New York; New Netherland Institute; Jane B. and Ralph A. O’Connell; Constance and Arthur Rosner; Sandy and Larry Simon; Taconic Charitable Foundation; New York Council for the Humanities; Benjamin J. Kallos, New York City Council; Longhill Charitable Foundation; Vidda Foundation; Kathleen S. Brooks Family Foundation; Whitney and Peter Donhauser; Ferris Foundation/Susan Henshaw Jones; Jeffrey Tabak/Miller Tabak + Co. LLC; The Trafelet Foundation; and Mark Forrest Gilbertson.

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