6 Ways to Explore NYC's History

New York City is known for focusing on what's new. The city and its people are constantly under construction in one way or another with all kinds of make-overs: new buildings, new fashions, new trends, new things of all kinds. Everyone seems focused on what's hot right now. But every now and then, it's fun to remember that the Big Apple has a long, storied history. Here are 6 ways to learn more about NYC's past:

1. See George Washington's Revolutionary War Headquarters
The Morris-Jumel Mansion is Manhattan's oldest existing residential building and once served as George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Aaron Burr (who famously dueled with Alexander Hamilton) also lived here for a while.

2. Learn about the influx of immigrants to NYC
While the Statue of Liberty gets all the attention as the icon of NY's immigrants, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is definitely the place to go if you want to learn what it was like for the immigrants who flocked to the city from 1892 to 1924 or to trace your own ancestry.

3. Read Time and Again by Jack Finney
Detailed descriptions make 19th century New York come alive in this time-travel adventure beloved by Stephen King, Alice Hoffman and many others.

4. Experience the Immigrant Life
A visit to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is almost like stepping back in time yourself, as costumed tour guides provide a vivid picture of what different families who lived in this building experienced.

5. Explore NY's Seafaring History
New York City was founded as a major trading port; you can explore the remnants of this history at the South Street Seaport.

6. Pick Up One (or both) of These History Books
These are not the dull textbooks you had to deal with in school, but instead provide a more fun, engaging reading experience. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace is an epic look at New York that starts with the Native Americans and ends with the consolidation of the five boroughs into the city we know today. The Encyclopedia of New York City edited by Kenneth T. Jackson is great to page through—just read the entries that grab your attention the most.

Victoria Otto Franzese is a proud New Yorker who owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See where she'll be going next at @VOFranzese.