Author Archives: Peter Feinman

Peter Feinman

About Peter Feinman

Peter Feinman is founder and president of the Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education, a non-profit organization which provides enrichment programs for schools, professional development program for teachers, public programs including leading Historyhostels and Teacherhostels to the historic sites in the state, promotes county history conferences, the development of Paths through History, and a Common Core Curriculum that includes local and state history.

REDC Awards Nurture Infrastructure, Ignore History


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REDC RegionsThis post is part of a continuing series on discerning the actual policies of New York State regarding promoting history by following the money it awards through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) process.

The focus in this post is on where the State awards money in support of cooperation and collaboration. In other words, the awards here aren’t for a specific event or site but are more sweeping in scope. They seek to support multiple organizations and entities working together on behalf of a larger goal than any one group could achieve on its own. There are lessons to be learned here for the history community which is not the recipient of any of these awards. Continue reading

The REDC’s Art Tourism Funding


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REDC RegionsThis is the seventh in a series of posts on the awards granted by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). The Path through History received short shrift in the awards process, but there were history-related awards nonetheless.

These awards tended to be issued by the New York States Council on the Arts and the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) in accordance with policies created before Path through History was launched. In this post, we focus on the awards for another type of tourism: Art Tourism. Continue reading

REDC’s Recreation Tourism Funding


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REDC RegionsThis post is the sixth in a series on the awards granted by the Regional Economic Development Councils. The series is intended to document what actually is being done, by following the money.

Empire State Development – Market New York (ESD MNY) is part of a new process applicants for state funding negotiate. ESD MNY has funded Path through History media projects, support for booze-related tourism, and some projects with “path” potential (although they weren’t identified as such). In this post, I’ll focus on another type of tourism touted by Governor Andrew Cuomo: recreation tourism. Continue reading

REDC Tourism Awards Support Booze Destinations


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REDC RegionsEmpire State Development under the leadership of Ken Adams is the organization which includes ILoveNY (under Gavin Landry), which is responsible for the Path through History, but which has no full time staff. The mission of Empire State Development Market New York (ESD MNY) is:

The Market New York Grant program supports regionally-themed New York-focused projects that promote tourism destinations, attractions, special events and other travel related activities that help achieve the Regional Councils’ long term strategic goals for economic growth, which include attracting more visitors to New York State. Continue reading

State Parks, Historic Preservation REDC Awards


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REDC RegionsThis posts is the fourth in a series of posts examining the awards approved by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) from the perspective of the Path through History. In this post, we turn to the awards by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as part of the Heritage Areas System (HAS).

This is for projects to acquire, preserve, rehabilitate or restore lands, waters or structures, identified in the approved management plans for Heritage Areas designated under sections 33.03 and 33.05 of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law, and for structural assessments or planning for such projects. Some of the funding is substantial. Continue reading

The REDCs, History and the NYS Council on the Arts


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REDC RegionsThis posts is the third in a series of posts examining the awards approved by the Regional
Economic Development Councils (REDC) from the perspective of the Path through History.

Below is a list of projects which were found based on the term “history” for the search criteria. Although there are not many grants with a specifically historical-focus, the ones that do tend to be funded by New York State Council on the Arts as part of its Culture & Heritage Project Grant. Below are the awards for 2014 by the Council of Arts that are relevant to the history community. Continue reading

NY History And Economic Development Councils


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REDC RegionsThis posts is the second in a series of posts examining the awards approved by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) from the perspective of the Path through History.

In the first post we saw that in 2013 and 2014 there were only two grants directly connected to the Path through History and both were media-based awards. There also was a glimpse of hope in an award that could potentially generate a Route 28 Path through History. This awards hints at the unrealized potential of the Path through History project. Continue reading

Economic Development Councils And Path Through History


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REDC RegionsThe Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) awards for 2014 were recently announced. These councils were created by Governor Andrew Cuomo as a conduit for the disbursement of state funds among 10 designated regions. Each region holds meetings to discuss the economic development proposals which have been submitted for their region. The approved proposals are then submitted for statewide consideration and the results were announced in December. Now that the 2014 awards have been announced, it’s time to consider what it all means for the history community. Continue reading

Heritage Tourism Lessons from the Tappan Zee Bridge


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designOnce upon a time America was known for its building projects, for its infrastructure, for its vision of a better tomorrow. New York was in the forefront of such optimism and achievement. Think of the Erie Canal which helped make us the Empire State, the Croton Aqueduct, the Brooklyn Bridge, the skyscrapers from the Woolworth Building to the Empire State Building to the Twin Towers, and, of course, Robert Moses. Now the new Tappan Zee Bridge bids to join this pantheon of larger than life achievements made in New York.

Besides all the other concerns related to the bridge, there is the issue of tourism. Back in June, Mary Kay Vrba, tourism director for Dutchess County and leader of the Hudson Valley Path region, spoke to 50 people at “Destination Rockland: Blazing New Trails in Tourism.” Visions of jingling cash registers filled the heads of the participants who envisioned tourists by foot, bike, and later a revitalized bus system bringing people from the east side of the river to Rockland County. Alden Wolfe, chairman of the Rockland County Legislature convened the conference as a “launching point” for future discussion on this subject. Continue reading

Memories of the Way We Were and Are


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Dont ForgetLong time readers of my posts may recall the importance of Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.” Her explanation of how she originated the idea for the corporate merger is a classic expression of the serendipity of the unexpected juxtaposition leading to thinking.

The eureka moment occurs not when one expects it but when things click in one’s mind. That’s why I enjoy thumbing through a newspaper rather than simply extracting predetermined information from the web – you never know what connections will be made…nor do the editors of the newspaper who are examining each article in isolation. Continue reading

The Half Moon and The Hermione: A Tale of Two Ships


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Half_Moon_ReplicaIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So it goes for two ships and their diametrically contradictory paths through history.

The Half Moon is a full scale replica of the original Dutch ship of exploration sailed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. The original Half Moon was the first European ship to document entry into what we now call the Delaware Bay and River, and to explore the Hudson River to its navigable limits.

The HermioneThe Hermione is a full scale replica of the French ship that brought LaFayette to America in 1780 and which joined Admiral de Grasse’s fleet for the Battle off the Capes on the lower Chesapeake and the siege at Yorktown. The ship then sailed to Philadelphia in 1781 where the Continental Congress visited and paid tribute to it. Continue reading

MANY And Advocacy For The NYS History Community


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nycapitolIn this post, I wish to focus attention on recent developments involving the Museum Association of New York (MANY) and opportunities for advocacy on behalf of the history community.

MANY has undergone significant changes which are of importance to the history community, though it should be noted that the organization’s membership is not limited to historical museums, but also include art and science museums, zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums. Continue reading

The State of Municipal Historians in New York


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new-york-county-mapNew York State requires every municipality to have a historian. This means every village, every town, every city, every county, and, of course, at the state level. Hamlets can ponder “should we or should we not have an historian, that is the question” but they are not legally obligated to have one. Nor are neighborhoods. That might seem self-evident outside New York City, but one should realize that the neighborhoods in the city can be substantially larger than even some cities.

Naturally, even when you are required to have a historian by state law there is no assistance from the state in support of that position. It is an unfunded mandate.

Let’s examine the state of these municipal historians. Continue reading

Ground Zero: Cosmic Center for the 21st Century


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citizen-warrior-a-september-11th-event-you-won39t-want-to-missMy quest to come to grips with the legacy of 9/11 in this series of posts draws to a close with this one. So far I have been examining the ways in which we remember those of who have died, the different circumstances in which people do die, and the changing ways through which the legacy of those who have fallen in battle have been remembered and forgotten.

I have been reminded of the loss of memory, or at least its diminishment over time through some recent events. First there have been a series of posts about America’s first 9/11, the Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812. For the British, it is not a war they forgot since it never was one they remembered. For America, especially New York, it shows how easily deaths can be forgotten and even victories can vanish. Continue reading

Path through History: Some Modest Proposals


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Path Through historyWhat do you give as a present to someone who already has everything? By every official measure from the Albany-Manhattan bubble, the Path through History is a rip-roaring success. This makes the choice of a 2nd Birthday gift difficult. Nonetheless, I would like to try to offer some suggestions.

which also take into account Bruce Dearstyne’s concerns, raised both by post in New York History and at State Legislator Engelbright’s New York History Roundtable, May 29, about the failure to observe the designated New York History month in November. Continue reading

Remembering 9/11: Visiting the Memorial Plaza


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9-11 Memorial MuseumOver the past few weeks, I have had two occasions to visit the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The first was at the invitation of City Wonders Tours, a tour company seeking to promote its tour.

The second was following the memorial service to Alexander Hamilton by the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society at nearby Trinity Church, the final stop of the City Wonders tour. The following comments are based on these visits. Continue reading

2 Years Of Path Through History: Who IS In Charge?


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Path Through historyAugust 28, 2014, marked the two-year birthday of the Path through History. It’s pregnancy was a long and troubled one with a delivery date long after the original May target. I attended the birthing of the program. I still have the paperweight distributed at the meeting. I still have the two slick glossy pamphlets distributed at the meeting. I even still have an unused napkin from the Executive Mansion reception where I met the Governor and two of his daughters. Didn’t we all have such hopes for the project then!

Now at the two-year anniversary, who will blow out the candles on Path through History birthday cake on August 28, 2014? Logically one would expect the head of the project to do so. Who is the head of the project? Continue reading

Chappaqua Doesn’t Exist! Peter Feinman On Place


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ChappaquaFD4Chappaqua doesn’t exist. So says Ken Jackson of Columbia University, a longtime advocate calling for New York State to promote New York history. This might seem strange to the many people who have heard of Chappaqua, and those who know someone who lives there. It might also seem strange because Jackson himself lives in Chappaqua.

Well, not exactly. Chappaqua is not a municipality. There are no Chappaqua mayor, police, court or any of the other government services we normally associate with a municipality in New York State. Chappaqua doesn’t have a municipal historian because it is not a municipality; it’s a hamlet, located in the Town of New Castle. Continue reading

NYS History, The Common Core, And Social Studies


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State Education Building by Matt Wade Photography (Wikimedia User UpstateNYer)The Common Core continues to be in the news, so recently I attended “Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core 2: Inquiry-based Learning Access across the Disciplines” held August 12-13 at the Office of Education in Albany.

One session included 10 breakout groups by geographic area. In the Mid-Hudson discussion group there were about 13 people, double that number in New York City including 10 people from the Queens Library who were not on the attendance list, and over 60 people at the Capital Region group. Some of the other regions were even less attended than the Mid-Hudson group. Continue reading

Remembering 9/11: From City on a Hill to Ground Zero


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9-11 museumWhen John Winthrop was setting sail for America, he delivered a lay sermon which would become a foundational text for the American Civil Religion. Drawing on the Book of Matthew, he spoke of a “city on a hill” that the eyes of the world would be upon.

There is a longstanding idolizing of the city in human culture. This exaltation derives from ancient Mesopotamia, the first builders of major cities. The famous Epic of Gilgamesh, begins with a paean to the walls of the city he ruled. At the end of epic, with Gilgamesh’s adventures completed and his quest for immortality over, he returns to those same city walls with the insight that while the body is not immortal, the walls of the city are. In this ancient epic, when Gilgamesh clicks his heels three times and realizes there is no place like home, it is to the city to which he returns. Continue reading