New York Syllabus

History 591 – New York City (up to six credits)

Colorado State University – Pueblo

Spring and Summer 2010

Professors Rees and Harris

Jonathan [dot] Rees [at] colostate-pueblo [dot] edu
Matt [dot] Harris [at] colostate-pueblo [dot] edu

This course includes a readings segment created to make sure that you have the necessary background in order to understand what you’ll learn in New York City. The second segment is centered around the trip itself in June 2010. You will receive more information regarding the logistics of the trip during our colloquium on April 2nd and 3rd, the sole meetings of the readings course. Failure to complete all prerequisites will possibly preclude you from even taking the trip to New York City, let alone finishing these courses.


McCullough, David.  The Great Bridge.

Mitchell, Joseph.  Up in the Old Hotel.

Shorto, Russell.  The Island at the Edge of the World.

Van Buskirk, Judith.  Generous Enemies.

Grades and Assignments

Your grade in the readings segment will be based upon the following assignments:

  • What do Joseph Mitchell’s writings in Up in the Old Hotel tell us about New York’s underclass during the early-mid 20th century?  Your answer should be 3-5 pages long and cite a MINIMUM of three separate stories (20%).
  • Using David McCullough’s The Great Bridge as your guide, explain what made the Brooklyn Bridge more historically significant than other bridges or as important as other technological breakthroughs of the late-19th century.  Your answer should be 3-5 pages long.
  • Using Russell Shorto’s The Island at the Center of the World, explain in 3-5 pages how the Dutch settlement in New Netherland laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture (20%).
  • Judith Van Buskirk argues in Generous Enemies that when the British invaded New York City in 1776 personal concerns often triumphed over political ideology.  What kinds of evidence does she provide to make her case?  How does her account of New York City challenge long-held assumptions about wartime experience during the American Revolution?  Your answer should be 3-5 pages long (20%).
  • Attendance and participation at required colloquium sessions on April 2nd and 3rd (20%).

All written assignments (other than your lesson plans for the second course in this sequence) MUST be posted on your blog, one assignment per post. All assignments for the readings course must be posted on your blog by the opening of the colloquium on April 2nd.  All comments made by faculty members on you assignments/blog posts must be responded to with another comment for that assignment to be considered complete.

Your grade in the New York City trip segment will be based upon the following assignments:

• Write at least nine posts in your blog over the course of trip including one summary post published at least one week after you return from Chicago. E-mail Professor Rees the links to what you think are your three best posts. [The summary post will also be considered automatically.  Your initial lesson plan topic post does not count towards the nine.]  He will base your grade on those and the summary post (a total of five). (40%)
• Offer at least five responses to other people’s blog posts over course of the readings course and the trip. Send Professor Rees the links to what you think are your three most helpful comments. He will base your grade on those. (25%)
• Complete and e-mail one lesson plan based on the template posted on this blog. The grade on this assignment will be either A or F. (35%)
Because of the nature of a travel-based course, we believe that blogging is the best possible way to record scholarly reflection while our travels are ensuing. Those of you who were with us already in Boston, Philadelphia or Chicago have WordPress blogs you can use for this task. Those of you who don’t will get them before or shortly after our January meeting.

We ask that you write at least one post for every day that will be seeing sites on the trip (if you skip a day, give us two the next day). The purpose of these posts should be to, highlight what you think the most historically significant information of that day was and why, share your thoughts on how you might use this information in the classroom and share pictures. You will also be able react to your fellow teachers’ reactions on their blog.

Lesson plans are both the most important and the most controversial assignment that we have asked teachers to do. Nevertheless, they are absolutely central to the mission of the grant program that funds this trip because lesson plans based on things you learned on the trip assure that it will change student learning in the classroom. However, we certainly understand that we are not secondary school teachers, and therefore are not necessarily the best judges of the merits of any particular plan.

Matt and Jonathan remain out of the lesson plan grading business.  Although Eileen Gose will not be with us this year, she has agreed to help us evaluate them and we continue to use her lesson plan template which you can find here.   All lesson plans that follow the template and few other basic requirements will be awarded an “A” grade. Those that don’t will be awarded a “0”.

Additional criteria are as follows:

• The lesson plan is based on material you learned during your trip to New York City.
• It is clear enough that anyone who was not on the trip with us will be able to pick it up and use it in their classroom.
• The sources you use in the lesson plan are footnoted and it ends with a bibliography of sources that you consulted.
• You would be proud to see your work on the Southeast Colorado History Project for the world to see (because that’s what we plan to do with this stuff).
• Final lesson plans should have at least 5 pages of your original writing and explanation.

While your choice of topic is open, as we want to share lesson plans among ourselves, everybody will have to do a different topic. We do not expect you to begin this assignment until the trip starts. Therefore, don’t even think of securing a topic until we arrive in Chicago. In order to secure your topic, e-mail to Professors Rees and Harris at the same time.

While we recognize that all of you teach different grade levels, we ask that you include information in your plan that will help teachers in different grades than you adapt your plan for their classroom. This may require the substitution of a particularly hard document for an easier one or vice versa. If the web site you’re getting your information hasn’t copied them out into a readable type font, we expect you to copy out the parts of the documents you will be using and insert them into your lesson plan. Also, if you don’t have experience with colonial and revolutionary documents already, you’ll quickly see that irregular spelling and other factors can make them very hard to read. Editing them for improved comprehension may also be required.

The first draft of the lesson plan is due two weeks after you return from New York City on June 30th.  Email your plan as an attachment to Professor Rees (, Professor Harris and Eileen Gose  simultaneously.  The final version of your lesson plan is due two weeks after that on July 14, again via e-mail to the same three people.  Please understand that while this assignment is not going to be graded in a conventional sense, it is still an essential grant-related activity.  If you do not complete a satisfactory lesson plan, in fact if you do not complete any assignment from either course, you will fail the relevant course and will forfeit your $250 deposit.

Schedule of the Class(es)

Friday, April 2nd (4-8PM):

Logistics and readings discussion w/ Matt and Jonathan.

Saturday, April 3rd (9-3PM):

Pre-trip colloquium w/ Joyce Goodfriend of the University of Denver.

New York Trip:

Wednesday, June 2nd: Travel Day.

Thursday, June 3rd:

Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park:

Val-Kill (Eleanor Roosevelt Home)

Human Rights Presentation

Top Cottage (Roosevelt Summer Home)

Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum

4:30PM  Leave for Culinary Institute of America.

5-6:00PM  Optional tour of the C.I.A. (participants pay the $5 cost).

6:30PM  Dinner at the American Bounty Restaurant.

Friday, June 4th:

Museum of the City of New York.

8:30- Breakfast

8:45- Welcome – EY Zipris, Professional Development Coordinator, Museum of the City of New York

9:00- Museum Experience: Timescapes

This 25 minute multimedia experience focuses on how New York City become the city it is today.

9:45- Guided Gallery Tour: Cars, Culture, and the City

Automobiles and the modern metropolis came of age together. Participants will explore the fascinating, and until now, untold story of New York’s century-long love affair–sometimes adoring, sometimes contentious–with the car, and how that relationship profoundly influenced car culture not only in America, but also around the world.

11:45- Lunch

12: 45- Primary Source Workshop:

Rags and Riches: Using Photojournalism to Enhance Understanding of Class Conflict and Interdependence during New York’s Gilded Age

New York City was the epitome of the extremes of the late 19th century’s Gilded Age. It was the center of wealth and a hotbed of rapid economic expansion, immigration, urbanization, industrialization, muckraking journalism, and social activism. Participants will visit the Museum’s New York Interiors to see the furnishings of wealth during that period, and compare them to photographs from Museum’s Jacob Riis collection to see how the “other half” lived.   Working in groups, we will create our own museum exhibitions based on  images from the Museum’s archive. The goal of the workshop is to critically examine how we use primary sources to tell New York’s story.

2: 30- 3PM Classroom Connections

3PM  Done for the day.  Go back to the hotel or maybe visit another museum like the Jewish Museum or the Guggenheim in the same neighborhood.

Saturday, June 5th:

Tour of Harlem and the Bronx w/ Kenneth Jackson of Columbia University.

9AM Departure.

We drive slowly (because of traffic) through Manhattan, probably via Sixth or Eighth Avenues (talking about elevated trains,
skyscrapers, and Lincoln Center) and later Broadway toward Columbia. We will pass the various institutions of Morningside Heights (Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Barnard, the God Box, the Riverside Church, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Teachers College, the Manhattan School of Music, and of course Columbia). Then through Harlem and such sites as the Apollo Theater, Theresa Hotel, statue of Adam Clayton Powell, Sylvia’s Restaurant, Abyssinian Baptist Church, Striver’s Row, Sugar Hill, the Morris Jumel Mansion (where we’ll stop to tour the museum). Then to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium, the Grand Concourse, the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, Fordham Road, Arthur Avenue and Little Italy (where we will have a late lunch). Then through the South Bronx, including the Happy Land Social Club disaster, Charlotte Street, and St. Mary’s Park.

The tour should be over by 5PM (that’s an hour later than I listed it before).

Sunday, June 6th:

1PM: Tour of the American and Americana Collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Monday, June 7th:

Wall Street/Colonial New York Walking Tour w/ Ed O’Donnell of Holy Cross University.

9:00  a.m. Subway to Lower Manhattan

10:00-12:00 walking tour of Lower Manhattan/Colonial New York

12:00 lunch

1:30PM  Federal Hall National Monument where George Washington was inaugurated as the nation’s first president, the first US Congress met, and many other important events. They have a number of good exhibits.

3:30PM  Free time (back to hotel via subway on your own).

Tuesday, June 8th:

Central Park/Brooklyn Bridge w/ Ed O’Donnell.

9:00 AM Subway to Central Park

10:00 AM Walking tour of Central Park

12:00 Lunch

1:00PM Subway to Brooklyn Heights

2:00PM – 4:00PM Walking tour over the Brooklyn Bridge

4:00PM Done for the day or visit Ground Zero which is half a mile from the Bridge.  I also recommend South Street Sea Port for history and shopping.

Wednesday, June 9th:

Lower East Side Walking Tour w/ Ed O’Donnell

9:15 AM Subway to the Lower East Side

10:00AM – 12:00PM Walking tour of the Lower East Side

12-1:30PM  Lunch at Katz’s Deli

1:30PM-3:00PM:  “Piecing It Together” Tour at Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Thursday, June 10th:

Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty.

8:00 AM  Leave hotel, travel via subway to Battery Park.

9:00 AM Depart from Battery Park via Ferry

9:45-10:00AM Arrive Ellis Island; Convene in Customs Room; Welcome and introduction to the day from the Ellis Island Institute.

10:00-10:40   Tour Ferry Building Exhibit “Future in the Balance: Immigration, Public Health, and the Ellis Island Hospitals”

10:40-11:00  Break

11:00-12:00  Teaching with Images, Documents and Objects: Hands-on activities, discussion on classroom applications and hand out teacher resource packets.

12:00 -1:00PM  Hard- hat tour of Ellis Island’s South Side; the un-restored hospital complex.

1:00 – 1:30 PM Wrap-up discussion (hopefully) over lunch.

The rest of the day is free to tour the Ellis Island Museum and the Statue of Liberty.

Friday, June 11th:

New York Historical Society:

9-9:15 AM           Welcome and Introduction to NYHS

9:15-9:30 AM       Introduction to the Luce Center and Object-Based Learning

9:30-11:00 AM     Part I: Slavery in New York

11-11:15 AM        Break

11:15-12:15 PM    Part II: New York Divided

12:15-12:30 PM    Reflection and Evaluations

1PM  Museum of Natural History.

After a very brief historical introduction to the museum, you have the rest of the day to tour it on your own.

Saturday, June 12th:

9:45AM  Bus Leaves for Sagamore Hill

10:30AM  Tour of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Theodore Roosevelt’s Home), followed by walk-through of Presidential Msuseum.

12:30PM  Leave for Cooperstown (lunch on the way).

Sunday, June 13th:

8:30-9:00AM Travel from Hotel to National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

9:00AM Arrive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

9:15-10:00AM Curriculum & Museum Overview w/Anna Wade of the Education Dept.

10:00-12:00PM Museum Tour—Self Guided

12:00-1:30PM Lunch on your own [lots of restaurants to choose in the area]

1:30-1:45PM Walk to Fenimore Art Museum

1:45-2:30PM Curriculum & Museum Overview w/Education Dept. Staff

2:30-3:30PM Museum Tour—Self Guided

3:30-5:00PM Tour the Farmers’ Museum [note: this is across the street from the Art Museum]

5:00-7:00PM Sightseeing and Dinner [on your own]

7:00-9:00PM Optional: Go back to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and/or take a Cooperstown Ghost Tour [note: Ghost tour is on your dime]

9:00PM Return to Hotel for evening

Monday, June 14th:

7:00AM Travel from Cooperstown to Seneca Falls (2-2.5 hrs)

9:00AM Arrive at Seneca Falls at Women’s Rights National Historic Park

9:00-9:30AM view film Dreams of Equality

9:30-10:00AM Chapel Tour

10:00-10:30AM Exhibits [self guided, with time for bookstore]

10:30-10:45AM Travel to Elizabeth Cady Stanton Home

10:45-11:30AM Tour of Elizabeth Cady Stanton Home

11:30-11:45AM Travel to M’Clintock House [Quaker activist; where Women’s Convention planned]

11:45-12:15PM Tour of M’Clintock House

12:15PM Pick up boxed lunches at Downtown Deli in Seneca Falls [grant to pay]

12:30-1:00PM Travel to William Seward home in Auburn, NY [eat lunch en route]

1:00-1:45PM Tour William Seward home w/ Jennifer Haynes

1:45-2:30PM Tour Harriet Tubman Home

2:30-3:30PM Travel to Cornhill Navigation Boat Tours in Rochester

3:30-5:00PM Guided Boat Tour of the Erie Canal on the “Sam Patch” cruise line

5:00-6:00PM Travel to Syracuse for lodging

6:00PM Dinner on your own

Tuesday, June 15th:

7:00-9:30AM  Travel from Syracuse to Saratoga

9:30AM Arrive at Saltys Pub and Bistro to pick up tour guide, Jim Hughto

9:30-11:30AM Travel to Fort Ticonderoga [view film Something More at Stake]

11:30-12:30 PM Arrive at Fort Ticonderoga; take tour of Fort Ti w/Jim

12:30-1:00PM Lunch on your own at Fort Ti restaurant [soups and sandwiches]; also visit bookstore

1:00-2:30PM Resume tour of Fort Ti

2:30-4:30PM Travel to Saratoga National Historic Park [view film The Patriot]

4:30-6:45PM Arrive at Saratoga National Historic Park; take tour of Park w/Jim

6:45-7:00PM Travel to Saltys Pub and Bistro for dinner

7:00-8:30PM Dinner at Saltys Pub and Bistro [on your own]

8:30PM Travel to Albany for lodging

Wednesday, June 16th:

Fly Home from Albany


4 responses to “New York Syllabus

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