Deciphering Manhattan

Peter Laskowich

“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

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Deciphering Manhattan

Patterns of behavior and development explain New York

New York does make sense! Well, sometimes. Any town, village or city offers clues that enable us to make sense of that place. The bend in a road, shape of a building or site of a church can say something of what we once were, and have become.

Why are the luxury apartment houses and fancy department stores along the middle of the island, while buildings generally get older as you head south? What makes some districts (Chelsea is a good example) so relaxed and quiet when others are chaotic and vital? And if land in New York is so valuable (witness the skyscrapers jammed in all over), then what explains the presence of that big park above 59th Street?

In Manhattan, habits of behavior and development go a long way in explaining New York’s place in the U.S. and the world. This simple walk through midtown tells what is where and why.

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