New York City: From "Mannahatta" Through the Gilded Age

Register for this Spring 2023 course on the new NYU SPS Academy of Lifelong Learning website.
In this interdisciplinary course we will explore the transformations marking the cultural history of New York City from its beginnings through the Gilded Age. Starting out as "Mannahatta," a bountiful Native American hunting, fishing, and camping ground, the island at the mouth of the Hudson River has gone from the small commercial venture of Dutch New Amsterdam to the rough and tumble politics of British colonial New York, to a brief stint as Federal capital of the United States, to its more enduring role as cultural and economic engine of "The Empire State" and “the capital of capitalism.” We trace NYC's cultural history through a look at the great public and private projects that helped to define its character: the grid plan of the city streets, the Erie Canal and Croton Reservoir, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, and Ellis Island. We'll encounter the notorious Five Points, site of "The Gangs of New York," and reflect on the tensions and contradictions of the Civil War Draft Riots. We'll spend time with New York's most iconic monuments of the period: Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, concluding with an overview of the splendid arts of New York's "Gilded Age"––the New York of Henry James and Edith Wharton––and a look at "How the Other Half Lived"––the New York of Stephen Crane, Abraham Cahan, and Jacob Riis.  Spring 2023 tuition is $549.

More details

You'll Walk Away with

  • The history of New York City, from its earliest days to the Gilded Age
  • A view of New York City through the works of famous authors, architects, and artists

Ideal for

  • Anyone interested in New York City history
  • The curious and creative
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.