On what makes New York New York
Thursday, January 19, 2017
One of the signature elements of New York at Its Core is a series of interactive portraits of 72 New Yorkers whose lives helped define the city over the course of more than four centuries. Characters range from the famous (Alexander Hamilton, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Machito, Jane Jacobs, Patti Smith, Jay Z) to the influential but often overlooked (Penhawitz, Emily Roebling, Wong Chin Foo, J. Clarence Davies, Antonia Pantoja) to more ordinary people whose lives are captured in and illuminate the historic record (Maria Van Angola, Richard Barry, Susie Rocco), and even to animals (the beaver, the oyster, the horse, and the pig).
We were honored that several of the living legends captured in these portraits have come by the Museum to visit the exhibition and explore their interactive stories – Stephen Burrows, Joanna Chan, and Felix Rohatyn among them. On a cold day in December, one of the most influential figures in late 20th century New York, the feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, joined Chief Curator Sarah Henry for a walk through the exhibition, a chance to see the digital exploration of her life in New York, and a conversation afterwards about what makes New York New York.