Skip to main content
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) today announced History & Heritage Downtown Family Fun Day, a free one-day Downtown festival featuring the major institutions of Lower Manhattan. The daylong festival will take place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden this Sunday, May 16 from 11:00am to 5:00pm. As America's first capital, the port of entry for millions of immigrants and the center of world finance - Lower Manhattan is where visitors can explore the abundance of cultural and historic attractions that together tell the tale of New York's dynamic past. "Lower Manhattan has a rich history, and these cultural institutions offer unique educational and inspirational experiences to thousands of visitors each year," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "History and Heritage Downtown Family Day will allow families to get a taste of these institutions and encourage them to spend a weekend in Lower Manhattan visiting the cultural treasures, as well as the area's restaurants, shops, and open spaces." The festival, which is co-presented by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the World Financial Center Arts & Events Program, is designed to give the visitor an introduction to the many museums and cultural attractions located in Lower Manhattan. This day of discovery and fun will feature interactive exhibits and demonstrations, as well as live entertainment and special programs for the entire family. Participating institutions include: the Castle Clinton National Monument, Eldridge Street Project, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fraunces Tavern® Museum, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, the Museum of American Financial History, the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution, The New York City Police Museum, The New York City Fire Museum, The Skyscraper Museum and the South Street Seaport Museum. Some highlights for visitors to the Winter Garden May 16: Eldridge Street Project <www.eldridgestreet.org>Visitors to the Winter Garden will learn about the Eldridge Street Project and its efforts to preserve the landmark 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue. Kids will be able to construct their own vibrant Eldridge Street Synagogue Rose windows with colored cellophane paper or, using a piece of pre-cut muslin cloth, felt, sparkles, glue stick and magic markers, construct a Sabbath Challah Cover. Warschauer Strauss Duet and Generation K will perform traditional Eastern European Jewish music and perform a mock wedding celebration to which all are cordially invited to participate. Ellis Island Immigration Museum <www.ellisisland.org>The museum will present A Taste of Freedom, a live play based on actual oral histories. The play portrays the hopes, dreams and fears of the immigrant experience, both recent and historical, and is told from the perspective of contemporary immigrants: a young girl and her mother. Fraunces Tavern® Museum <www.frauncestavernmuseum.org>Revolutionary New York will be on display in the Winter Garden with objects demonstrating the daily life of colonial New Yorkers in the 18th century. Also on view is a full-scale reproduction of an 18th century field cannon. Visitors will be invited to sign the Declaration of Independence using a quill pen and ink, just like the Founding Fathers. The Colonial Musketeers Junior Fife & Drum Corps will perform music from our nation's beginnings. Lower East Side Tenement Museum <www.tenement.org>People will fill out entry forms to guess the purpose of a "Mystery Artifact." Also on display will be artifacts for conversation and curiosity's sake. Visitors will find a costumed educator portraying a 14-year-old former Sephardic resident of 97 Orchard Street from 1916, Victoria Confino, who will interact spontaneously with the crowd. Lower Manhattan Cultural Council <www.lmcc.net>Interactive performance artist Nicholas Dumit Estevez will exchange home-baked treats for anything material or immaterial; Afro-Brazil Arts will lead a demonstration and performance of Brazilian self-defense technique hidden in dance. Museum of American Financial History <www.financialhistory.org>Children will "make money" by designing their own currency and learn the lesson of why paper money has value and how the U.S. Treasury protects against counterfeiting. Every hour, a curator from the Museum will do a show-and-tell of some of the most important and interesting items from the Museum's permanent collection. All audience members will receive authentic antique stock certificates, and souvenir ticker tape from a working 1870 Edison stock ticker. Museum of Chinese in the Americas <www.moca-nyc.org>Children and their families are invited to create their own paper New Year's masks or Cantonese Opera performer masks and shadow puppets. Fong's Hung Ga Lion Dance Team will perform the lion dance, an art form rich in Chinese traditions. Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust <www.mjhnyc.org>Greg Wall's Klezmerfest! in Klez for Kidz, a fast-paced, highly entertaining introduction to Klezmer music and Yiddish, includes a workshop and art activities. National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution <www.nmai.si.edu>A hands on presentation of Taino culture by Taino Indian Jorge Estevez, who will use native fruits, vegetables and musical instruments to explain the history of the people that met Columbus. New York City Fire Museum <www.nycfiremuseum.org>This is the time to dress up like a real firefighter and have your picture taken. New York City Police Museum <www.nycpolicemuseum.org>The famous bagpipers of NYPD's Emerald Society will perform. Visitors may don an authentic NYPD uniform, get a caricature or a photo as a NYPD police officer and check out some vintage NYPD patrol cars from the 1970s. The Skyscraper Museum <www.skyscraper.org>The Skyscraper Museum presents a live demonstration of riveting, the historic method used for constructing steel frame skyscrapers such as the Empire State and Chrysler buildings. The demonstration will be given by a third generation ironworker with original tools from the 1930s including a forge, tongs, and a pneumatic gun. South Street Seaport Museum <www.southstseaport.org>Families can partake in maritime craft activities and board the wooden tugboat W.O. Decker, built in 1930, that will be docked just outside the Winter Garden. Children will have a chance to get their own maritime tattoos--removable of course! There will be a wood carving demonstration and artist Naima Rauam will discuss her watercolors of the Fulton Fish Market, as well as give a watercolor demonstration. The sea chantey group, South Street will perform with banjo and other traditional instruments. "We are celebrating Downtown's cultural institutions at the World Financial Center," said Debra Simon, Executive Director of the decade-and-a-half-old World Financial Center Arts and Events Program, the only producing organization in New York City that presents free, year-round performances, visual art exhibitions and installations, and festivals created to showcase emerging as well as established artists. "For one day on May 16, over a dozen downtown institutions will be represented in one place, under the barrel-vaulted, glass atrium of the Winter Garden." Admission is free and nearby subways are #1, 2, 3 & 9 to Chambers Street, the N, R & W to Cortland Street and the A, C & E to World Trade Center. For more information on the History and Heritage Downtown campaign visit the website at www.nystartshere.org or www.renewnyc.com. The History and Heritage Downtown campaign is made possible by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.