Open to the Public – Making Our Story Heard! Conference Tours

HDC will host five walking tours of a diverse range of neighborhoods and sites on weekends in April

Conference Program

More Information about the 2017 Conference

Sunday, April 2, 3:00PM                Behind-the-Scenes Tour of King Manor

Join us for a tour of the home of Rufus King, signer of the United States Constitution and early voice in the anti-slavery movement. Originally constructed in the 1750s, King lived here from 1805 until his death in 1827. Located in Jamaica, the Colonial-era structure now functions as a house museum, and is the only such museum in southeastern Queens. Executive Director of the King Manor Museum (and former HDC staff member!) Nadezhda Williams will give us a behind-the-scenes peak on this extended tour, which will encompass the entire house from the basement to the attic and from the servants’ quarters to the King family’s parlor. Explore how the house, a designated New York City Individual and Interior Landmark, tells its history of three major phases of construction (c1750, c1790 and 1810) and still holds a few mysteries.


Saturday, April 8 at 10:30AM      Sunset Park: History and Advocacy

Join tour guide Joe Svehlak on this tour of Sunset Park, whose built environment has shaped what is today a quintessential Brooklyn neighborhood: from the massive Bush Terminal and its associated workers’ housing to the construction of the 4th Avenue Subway, and from the establishment of the country’s first cooperative apartment buildings in the early 1900s to the Section 8 housing of the 1970s, which helped the neighborhood transition out of blight. For the past four years, advocates and residents have led a grassroots effort to push for the designation of a historic district in Sunset Park to pay homage to these developments and allow the neighborhood’s storied past to inform its future. While the effort stalls at the City level, many lessons can be learned in this case study about the power of community organizing and public participation?

Sunday, April 23 at 11:00AM       In Search of the Tenderloin and Tin Pan Alley

From the 1870s to about 1910, the Tenderloin was Manhattan’s most famous red-light district, a cradle of elegant vice that developed north of 23rd Street west of Fifth Avenue, in the shadow of luxurious hotels such as Gilsey House. High-stakes gambling parlors, brothels, saloons, dance halls: the Tenderloin reveled in its own illegality, until pressure from civic authorities and corporate development led to its demise. Since the 1990s, zoning changes have altered the landscape of the old Tenderloin’s main stem – Sixth Avenue – and have led to the destruction of many buildings. But a few reminders survive. On this tour, author and historian David Freeland will guide visitors to sites associated with still-visible Tenderloin businesses, including the block of 28th Street once known as Tin Pan Alley, birthplace of the pop music industry.


Sunday, April 30 at 1:00PM          Greenwich Village’s Legacy of Activism

From class warfare in Astor Place to garment workers and beatnik musicians in and around Washington Square to anarchists on the Gold Coast to gay men outside a bar, Greenwich Village has witnessed and been host to some of America’s most important and impactful activism. The impressive roster of protests on all manner of issues that have taken place on its streets throughout its history has changed the world for the better. Join us for a tour led by Philip Desiere of Walk About New York, as he highlights some of Greenwich Village’s seminal protest locations that mark how New Yorkers and, more broadly, United States citizens have made their voices heard to help make America a more just place to live.

Support is provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by City Council Members Ben Kallos, Rosie Mendez, Mark Levine, Inez Dickens, Vincent Gentile, Corey Johnson, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin, Daniel Garodnick and Rafael Salamanca, and by New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Daniel O’Donnell.

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

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