"I strive to link your ordinary experience of New York - what you can see, hear and feel - with the history and culture of New York."

Peter Laskowich: Historian, Teacher & Guide
The Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan
Downtown before 9/11, with the Hudson River to the left and the East River to the right - Why doesn't the East River freeze, and how does it matter?
Ebbets Field in the spring of 1955 - Gil Hodges at bat
The Polo Grounds in 1950 - Jim Hearn warming up for the Giants
To convey the power, beauty and cause of this great city.
New York City
My Focus

I concentrate on drawing connections between your experience of New York and this city's history and culture. In this way we go beyond the who-what-where-when in favor of the "why" and "how"

Here is information and context you won't get anywhere else. Note that several of these offerings also involve baseball.
What's Happening


Grand Central Terminal is considered one of the great buildings of the world. Every Friday we point out why. 

A walk through Grand Central brings to view its spectacular transformation via recent renovation, the discriminating use of color and shade to provoke emotional response, and cues that encourage patrons to move (e.g. - slow down or speed up, gather here but not there) according to the intentions of its designers a century ago. 

Then there is the genius behind the weather functions (!) of the great windows, the Terminal's secondary function as a mall (per square foot, the most profitable in the nation), and the viaduct that speeds midtown traffic while allowing the Terminal to otherwise complete dominate (and block) the avenue - itself a stunning display of the former stature of American railroads.

Grand Central's sister project is Park Ave., which opened as the nation's attempt to construct a European-style boulevard. It is also part of an enormous metal platform clapped over a vast trainyard - essential to the enterprise that made the name "Park Avenue" synonymous with elegance and distinction. 

Together, Grand Central and Park Ave. transformed the area from a shabby region far from the city's core to the focus of a massive shift that created midtown Manhattan - the largest and most powerful business district in the world. 

COST: Free    TIME: 12:30 - 2:15 pm    PLACE: Inside 120 Park Ave. (across 42nd Street from Grand Central's main entrance and to the right of the viaduct)



Capital of the World         Early New York         Dutch New York         New York During the Revolution         The Great Seaport         Gateway: The Immigrants

The High Line        Features of Grand Central        History Through Grand Central        History Through Street Names        History Through Midtown Manhattan

Deciphering Manhattan              The Emerging (Late 1800s) City              Upper Fifth Avenue              Harlem              A Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Baseball Creation and Evolution              Jackie Robinson's Brooklyn              Brooklyn and the Dodgers              The Baseball Dynasties (Giants and Yankees)    



Five brief videos of yours truly offering essential NYC background appear on Youtube and on this website (in the Home, Bio, New York and Baseball pages). People ask, "what is this place? What goes on here, and why?" These chats'll get you started.  



The fun of any class, lecture or tour is in the discovery, in the why and the how. Why, for example, is wealth concentrated along Fifth Ave. while gas stations and factories are close to the water? How does Central Park make economic sense on an island whose real estate is the world's most valuable? Why does the world trade in Manhattan more than anywhere else?

Our purpose is not to fill the bucket but to light the fire, not to load you with information but to get a few inches of air between your feet and the ground. Maybe that happens now and then.