Recommended for 2nd-6th grades
Created as a response to teachers’ requests for more in-depth landmarks information, this program offers a detailed study of landmarks, the six Upper East Side historic districts, and the history of preservation in New York City.  Why are landmarks important? What does it mean to be a building in an historic district? To bring the concepts to life, the program includes a mock proposal to alter a neighborhood building, a mock Landmarks Preservation Commission Hearing, and a walking tour to view landmarks and historic districts.

This lively classroom session begins with the story of the destruction of the original Penn Station  in 1963, which sparked outrage among New Yorkers and encouraged the adoption of a Landmarks Law in 1965.  The lesson culminates with a hypothetical application to alter a landmarked neighborhood building, resulting in a mock Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing and debate. Along the way we discuss how buildings make our city unique, and how students might feel if their favorite New York City buildings were torn down.  If your school building is a landmark, we will explore what makes it unique, as well as study photographs and maps to learn how Landmarks are protected today through historic districts, local laws, and neighborhood preservation groups like FRIENDS!

We embark on a walking tour in your school neighborhood to discover local landmarks and historic districts, paying close attention to what makes particular buildings or areas feel different and special. Are there any differences between the buildings that are in an historic district vs. those that are not? What color are the street signs in an historic district? Do we spot any plaques or clues that can help tell the story of the landmark? Can we see any construction projects or renovations taking place? We will discover answers to these questions and more as we act as landmark detectives.

*This program is wonderful in conjunction with our Building Fun or Yorkville Immigration programs and can provide students with an in depth look at landmarks, preservation, and historic districts, which are briefly touched on in Building Fun.  Lesson One of this unit can also be added as a bonus session to any of our other programs.