New York is a diverse community with a complex history.
We pride ourselves in our tolerance and an openness to immigrants, exemplified by this moment in history when a small boatload of refugees from persecution were given permission by the Dutch West India Company to settle in New Amsterdam:
“A Jewish Thanksgiving: The Story of Asser Levy and the First Jews of New Amsterdam,” by Steve Brodner. Thanks to Tablet Magazine!
To learn more about immigration on your visit to New York, The Tenement Museum and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum are “must sees.” The Tenement Museum also publishes a guide to the Lower East Side neighborhood, featuring some tasty eating stops.
Before enjoying your dinner in New York’s legendary Chinatown, consider a visit to The Museum of Chinese in America at Centre Street, between Howard and Grand. They host neighborhood walking tours.
But New York was also a colony in which slavery was practiced well into the early 19th century. Several sites in Lower Manhattan identify and memorialize our early African American community. Please consider including them in your visit to the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, and other more well-known sightseeing destinations:
The African Burial Ground National Monument * is an emotionally compelling outdoor memorial, with a very interesting indoor museum next door. It is well-worth a visit, for education and a few moments of quiet contemplation. New York City’s slave market came into existence in 1656, and its location at Wall Street between Pearl and Water Streets was recently marked with a plaque.
To learn more, The New York Historical Society has developed a compelling virtual exhibit entitled “Slavery in New York.” and another called New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War, which includes a walking tour.
* Note that the outdoor memorial closes each winter from November to March, because of potential hazards from snow and ice. The museum is open all year round.