In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to attend and participate in three regional and county history community meetings. These included the annual meeting of the Greater Hudson Heritage Network; a meeting of Region 3 (mainly the Hudson Valley) of the Association of Public Historians in New York State (APHNYS); and the Sullivan County History Conference
These three meetings provided opportunities to meet with colleagues, discuss important issues, and learn what’s happening. What follows are some highlights from those meetings. Continue reading
November is New York State History Month. The goal of this initiative certainly is a worthy one. Naturally as historians, a primary source document such as a press release invites a close reading of the text. That’s what historians do and government publications are not exempt from such scrutiny. The exercise is quite productive and one can learn a lot from doing it.
A announcement sent to the media says that Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a new Path Through History website in celebration of New York State History Month.
“The new website features streamlined visuals and user-friendly navigation to help travelers map visits to sites across the state using 13 unique themes that explore New York’s rich cultural and natural history,” the announcement said. Continue reading
Once upon a time, as all good fairy tales begin, there was a New York State Path through History Taskforce. Some of you may even remember it. August 28, 2015, marked the three-year anniversary of the failed project and since the NYS Historian who was a member of that taskforce has resigned, it is beneficial to examine the fate of this taskforce for the lessons it teaches about what happened. Will we learn from the past or are we condemned to repeat it?
At the kickoff event for the Path project, attendees received two glossy, multicolored booklets. One had a list of the “iconic highway signage” which was to be produced; the other had the conference agenda, a description of the regions with a listing of the selected sites, and the taskforce bios. Continue reading
June 6th and June 20th weekends offer two contrasting perceptions of how to celebrate the history of New York State. These two weekends highlight fundamental problems with New York State’s approach to state heritage and makes clear that the state of Connecticut demonstrates greater leadership and a more profound understanding of its history community.
Passports are an underutilized resource for promoting tourism and community identity. While I have been a strong advocate for the creation and use of passports at the local, county, and regional basis for schools and tourism, I only now have realized the potential funding opportunity with the latest round of funding through the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC).
This epiphany began at the annual conference of the Association of Public Historians in New York State in Corning in April. On the display table there was a pile of Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance passports. Continue reading
In 2012 Governor Cuomo unveiled New York’s “Path Through History,” a statewide initiative that attempts to link historically and culturally significant sites, locations and events throughout New York State and promote tourism and economic development.
The Path Through History Weekend will be held this year on June 20th and 21st. Continue reading
The Albany-Manhattan bubble is a term I use to describe the alternate reality in which the New York State government operates regarding history tourism.
Recent events in New York, Albany, and Corning (The New York Times Travel Show, Tourism Action Day, a Tourism Advisory Council Meeting, and the Museum Association of New York Annual Conference), and the presentations and comments I heard from by the inhabitants of the Albany-Manhattan bubble, demonstrate a disconnect with the real world and little hope that anything constructive will be done to bridge that gap. Continue reading
I attended The New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in January, as a member of the press for The New York History Blog. The event included a special session, “Focus on New York State Destinations,” moderated by Tim Lewis, of Viator Inc.
The company apparently has been hired by ILoveNY to promote tours in New York State. Its website lists 19 tours in New York at present: 16 in Manhattan and three to Niagara Falls, including one-day trips from the New York City. There is a two-day bus trip to Niagara Falls from New York with a “Bargain shop at one of the large outlet malls on the way back to New York.” New York State history does not appear to be a prominent part of its tour packages at present. Again, it should be noted, the company was hired to promote New York State tourism not history tourism in New York State. Continue reading
Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued his “2015 Opportunity Agenda”. While there is no mention of the Path through History nor are history, historic sites, heritage tourism or historic preservation listed as targeted areas, it’s still of interest for those interested in the state of history in New York.
Governor Cuomo is not known for visiting the state’s historic sites and they are not included in what he sees as “opportunities” for 2015. It would appear that cultural heritage tourism involving historic sites doesn’t really rate high with Governor Cuomo. Continue reading
This post brings to a conclusion the series on the awards granted by the Regional Economic Development Councils in December 2014. The purpose of the series is to provide the history community with information about what actually is occurring in New York State funding.
It provides readers of these posts with the opportunity to draw on the primary source documents about what really is being done. It examines furthermore what Empire State Development is doing with the new money it has received and to determine if the Path through History has substance. Continue reading
This 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
There is lots of discussion these days about the “power of place” – the importance of geography and the influence of locales and surroundings. The concept dovetails naturally with local history, which explores the historical development of communities.
New York is in an excellent position to explore the connection between the power of place and local history. Our state has hundreds of local historical societies and other public history programs and is the only state in the nation with officially designated local historians. Continue reading
This 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
This 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
The 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
Once 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
What follow is an guest essay by Mark Castiglione – Acting Executive Director, Hudson River Valley Greenway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Path Through History Workgroup Liaison; and Ross D. Levi – Vice President, Marketing Initiatives, Empire State Development
Even though few states have had as much impact on history or are home to as many authentic historic attractions, New York State has not always come to mind for history lovers as quickly as places like Boston, Philadelphia, and Virginia. In an effort to help change this perception, Governor Cuomo created the Path Through History [PTH] initiative to draw attention to New York’s unparalleled history and grow heritage tourism throughout the state, and through it promote economic development and create jobs. As we conclude the busy summer travel season, it’s worth noting how far we have come in promoting heritage tourism in New York as well as the future opportunities that exist to expand the effort. Continue reading
What 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
August 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