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Travel Tips for New York City History: 7 Places to Visit for History Buffs on Vacation

By    |   Monday, 12 January 2015 09:14 PM

History buffs who vacation in New York City will discover more than enough sights to see and things to do to feed their passion for the past.

Even so, here are seven travel tips to help make your trip more enjoyable:

1. Before you leave, check out History.com to learn about the city's history, which may give you a better idea of places and things you'd like to see and do while you're in the Big Apple.

For example, did you know New York City was the capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790? Or that the first Europeans began exploring the area in the 16th century, and that the Dutch West India Company sent 30 families to settle there in 1624 on what was then Nutten Island (today Governor’s Island)?

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2. After learning about the city’s history, it will be easy to seek out what NYC Go calls "the oldest stuff" in the area. Such as: Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan is the city's oldest restaurant, established in 1762, and is the place where George Washington wished his officers farewell.

3. The oldest home in New York City is now the Wyckhoff House Museum in Brooklyn. Built in 1652 as a one-room house by Pieter and Grietje Claesen, settlers from an area in what is now Germany, the home has been added to over the years. But it stills boasts the open hearth that was in the original building, according to the Wyckhoff website. Visitors can see the house only by guided tours, which take place on Fridays and Saturdays.

4. New York City Hall, located on Park Row in lower Manhattan's Financial District, is the oldest still-functioning city hall in the United States, according to NYC Go. Planning for the building began in 1802 and construction was finished in 1812.

A fun fact on NYC Go's website said it was completely covered in marble except for the north-facing back of the building. Apparently no one expected the city to grow past Chambers Street, so city leaders didn't want to spend the dollars to make the unseen rear of the building out of marble, too.

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5. The New-York Historical Society Museum and Librarywill enthuse history lovers with exhibitions that explore different time periods, complete with talks about everything from how Annie Leibovitz captured history to the cultural history of Chinese-Americans, to the Luce Center that includes art and artifacts spanning four centuries (now closed for renovations), according to the museum’s website.

6. Visit The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to delve into the world of medieval art and architecture. Located in northern Manhattan, the four-acre site overlooks the Hudson River.

The building features elements from medieval cloisters and other medieval European sites, according to its website. The gardens include plants talked about in medieval treatises.

7. Green-Wood Cemeteryis 478 acres of once-rural grounds in Brooklyn that trace the history of New Yorkers back to 1838, according to the cemetery's website. By the 1860s, this area began to attract 500,000 people every year because of the beauty on the grounds, a large collection of outdoor sculptures, and more than 560,000 graves, including Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Horace Greeley.

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History buffs who vacation in New York City will discover more than enough sights to see and things to do to feed their passion for the past. Even so, here are seven travel tips to help make your trip more enjoyable.
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Monday, 12 January 2015 09:14 PM
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