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Best Historic Locations in New York

By: Cityseeker
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African Burial Ground National Monument

This national monument in Lower Manhattan is the excavation site of over 400 African-Americans buried in the 17th and 18th Centuries during the era of slavery in the settlement of New Amsterdam. The bodies were discovered in 1991 during construction of a federal office building at 290 Broadway, which is now home to the monument's visitor center. There are an estimated 200 bodies still buried under the monument. The African Burial Ground Monument also functions as a memorial site, which was built in 2007. The memorial itself is located at the burial ground on the corner of Duane and Elk Streets.

New York, NY, United States
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Federal Hall National Memorial

A bronze statue of George Washington welcomes visitors to historic Federal Hall Memorial. It is located on the site of the original city hall where George gave the country's first inauguration as the President of the United States. The original building was demolished in 1812 and the present building was erected between 1834-1842 as the United States Customs House and in 2004 the edifice received an extensive renovation. It is one of the finest examples of classical architecture that survives in the city. Inside visitors will find historical exhibits and a copy of the Bill of Rights is also on display. Admission is free.

New York, NY, United States
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Trinity Church

Trinity Church, a distinctive Gothic-revival church at the end of Wall Street, is one of the earliest churches established in New York. The church itself has undergone many incarnations since its original charter in 1697; the original parish was destroyed in a fire during revolutionary times and the second one was demolished in 1838 after structural damage. The church which now stands was built in 1846 and it is considered a National Historic Landmark. In the cemetery, many well-known city denizens are buried, such as Alexander Hamilton, Robert Fulton and James Lawrence. The church was also the original location of King's College, now the venerable Columbia University. Check the schedule for services, noonday concerts and tours.

New York, NY, United States
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South Street Seaport

The South Street Seaport is an architectural excerpt from the city's long and eventful history, its cobblestone streets flanked on either side by some of downtown Manhattan's oldest commercial buildings. The Historic District is centered around the point where Fulton Street ends at the East River, an enchanting collection of 19th-century buildings and warehouses that stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers of the adjacent Financial District. The neighborhood's history as a bustling port resonates in its distinctive, nautical character, lending the restaurants and cafes that cluster here a jovial vibe. A bevy of shops and quaint boutiques also make this a top-notch shopping destination, with the mall at Pier 17 as the epicenter of the South Street Seaport's offer. Sweeping views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge await at Pier 15, while antique ships bob at the port by the museum. Also of interest are the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and the old Fulton Fish Market.

New York, NY, United States
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Irish Hunger Memorial

This memorial is dedicated to the devastating Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845 - 1852. The Famine resulted in nearly one million deaths in Ireland and forced countless others to emigrate to America, many of whom came to New York. The memorial is made of stones from all 32 counties of Ireland. It also uses native soil and vegetation straight from Ireland, as well as slabs of text separated by layers of Irish limestone from over 300 million years ago. The memorial also features an authentic 19th century Irish cottage.

New York, NY, United States
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Eldridge Street Synagogue

Eldridge Street Synagogue is preserved as a historical site by the Eldridge Street Project. Since it's inception in 1887, the synagogue has been a symbol of architectural and historical preservation, and also of the way of life, customs and religious beliefs of the Judaism. The building itself is a beauty, with a Victorian touch to the interiors highlighted by painted murals and stained glass windows. It was the first religious site built by Ashkenazi, and today this famous place welcomes people from all backgrounds.

New York, NY, United States
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Brooklyn Bridge

Stretching across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge is an architectural wonder. Connecting the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn, the suspension bridge with its Gothic towers and steel cables adds a unique silhouette to the city's iconic skyline. Completed in 1883, the bridge was the longest of its kind, measuring almost 1600 feet (487.68 meters). One of the city's most enduringly popular attractions, Brooklyn Bridge offers visitors some of the best views of the cityscape above the river's shimmering waters.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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Castle Clinton

In 1807, the city constructed this red circular castle offshore from Battery Park as a fortress designed to hold defense cannons. Workers gradually filled in the land, so it now appears as if it was always a part of Manhattan and the surrounding park. Later, it would serve as the immigration center for New York before Ellis Island took over that job. Today, it serves as a museum of New York City history.

New York, NY, United States
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Washington Square Park

This cozy Greenwich Village park is always filled with students, residents and tourists alike. It is one of the few green spots in the area and has undergone many incarnations since it was the site of Minetta Creek in the 1600's. In that century it was farmland, then a burial ground in the next one, thereafter the city acquired the land and created the park in 1826. At the northern end stands the famous arch, built in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington's inauguration when New York was the nation's first capital under the constitution. The arch was designed by the iconic Stanford White and throughout the park you can find many interesting historical features and facets, some are hidden and others are in plain sight. The area was also the neighborhood for many famous artists and writers, including Henry James, Edith Wharton and Edward Hopper; many lived in the Greek Revival style row houses at the northern end of the park. Today, most of the buildings in the neighborhood are owned by New York University.

New York, NY, United States
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Governor's Island

A short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan takes visitors to the serene and verdant Governors Island, where the city seems as if it is a world away. The island showcases its picturesque self during summers; in fact, it only opened to the public after 200 years of restricted military usage. The island affords some incredible views of it surrounding waterscape, Red Hook, Brooklyn, the Verrazano Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. The island is also home to some stirring historical sites like Castle Williams, Liggett Hall and the Admiral House, which are an escape into the island's past. Having played an integral role in the American Revolution, this island is a coastal paradise par excellence.

New York, NY, United States
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Ellis Island

Thousands sailed past the Statue of Liberty, weary from the long and arduous journey across the ocean, to Ellis Island where their fate would be decided by the guardians of the gateway to the land of opportunity. From 1892 to 1954 Ellis Island was the nation's busiest point of entry for the thousands of immigrants making their way to America in search of a better life than the one they had left behind. Over the 60 plus years as an immigration inspection point, over 2 million hopefuls passed through the gates of Ellis Island while many others were denied their dreams. It is said that nearly half of the nation's citizens can trace their ancestry back to at least one person who passed through Ellis Island, and many come here in search of documentation of this precious link. Today, Ellis Island is best known as the site of the Ellis Island Museum where visitors are taken through the site's long and eventful history. Individual stories are showcased while the echoes of countless others reverberate through the halls. Those who visit cannot help but be touched by this monument to the resilience of the human spirit and stories of the extraordinary lengths people are willing to go to for the ones they love.

New York, NY, United States
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Fort Greene Park

Rich in history, Fort Greene Park’s beginnings emerged in the form of Fort Putnam, which is today located within the park. In 1812, the fort was christened in the name of Major General Nathanael Greene and since there was not any actual worry of conflict or a war at the time, the fort was used by the locals as a recreational space. In the park, there is also a famous memorial, the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, which honors the lives of thousands of Americans who died as a result of imprisonment aboard a ship by the British. A visit to this park gives all its visitors a broader perspective of the history of the city and its residents. The hugely-popular Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays is right across the park.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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