History is in this city’s DNA. How could it not be? In the late-18th century, New York was chosen as the first capital of the newly formed United States of America. And in the years that have followed, NYC has maintained its place as a major player in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation. Visit these sites and attractions, and you will not only witness the past but also experience how the past informs the present and points to the future. In New York, history is made very day.
This landmark structure, a former customs house, is on the site of the nation’s first capitol, where the Bill of Rights was adopted and George Washington took his presidential oath in 1789. Today, it contains artifacts from Colonial and early Federal New York. Hours: M-F 9 am-5 pm Admission: Free
A marsh. A cemetery. A parade ground. A gathering spot for avant-garde artists. A battleground for chess enthusiasts. A playground for canines and children. Washington Square Park has served various roles for its community throughout the years, adapting to meet its needs.
The imposing, granite-and-marble neoclassical mausoleum in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the victorious Union army in the Civil War and 18th president of the United States. Grant, who is entombed beside his wife, Julia, is the only U.S.
The memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his namesake island in the East River was realized by architect Louis I. Kahn and inspired by Roosevelt’s famous 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech, which impacted the nation and continues to resonate. In that speech, FDR defined " four essential human freedoms.
The Federal-style home of Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804)—a Founding Father of the United States, first Secretary of the Treasury, founder of the New York Post newspaper (which still publishes a daily edition today) and organizer of The Bank of New York—is in Harlem’s Saint Nicholas Park.
New York City’s most famous cemetery, located in Brooklyn, is the bucolic, final resting place of thousands of famous New Yorkers, including Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley, “Boss” Tweed and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Gates open daily at 8 am. Closing time varies by season. Free
Within the original footprints of the Twin Towers are two massive pools consisting of 30-foot cascading waterfalls and parapets, on which are inscribed the names of nearly 3,000 victims from the 9/11 attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, as well as the Feb. 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing.
Permanent galleries and several special-focus temporary exhibitions in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York chronicle the creation of the nation’s financial structure and encourage visitors to learn more about their own financial lives. Hours: Tu-Sa 10 am-4 pm
This cultural institution features more than 60,000 objects and works of art focused on the history of New York. Hours: Tu-Th, Sa 10 am-6 pm, F 10 am-8 pm, Su 11 am-5 pm Admission: $21 adults, $16 seniors and educators, $13 students, $6 children 5-13, age 4 and under free, pay what you wish F 6-8 pm