From Mannahatta to Present Day

LBD:NY design educator Jenny Lee with Hunter College Elementary students (left); Second Graders present their models of New Amsterdam (right); a panorama of the models (bottom). /p>

Tim Hayduk and Rebecca Parelman

Last week, Sonya Glasser and Ellen Donegan’s second-grade class from Hunter College Elementary School visited the Center for Architecture to present their final Learning By Design:NY (LBD:NY) presentation to parents and Center for Architecture Foundation staff. For the past 10 weeks each class has worked with LBD:NY Design Educator Jenny Lee, studying the development of Manhattan from the period of the Lenape people, who called the island Mannahatta, or “land of many hills,” to the present day.

Focusing on one particular section in the Financial District, between Pearl and Broad Streets, and Stone and Bridge Streets, Lee demonstrated how Manhattan has changed dramatically over the years. From wigwams to modern-day skyscrapers, each class created models representing Mannahatta, New Amsterdam, shipping in the mid-1750s, immigration in the mid-1850s, the first skyscrapers of the early 20th century, and the current landscape of the Financial District. Students learned that prior to Henry Hudson’s arrival, Manhattan was a lush island of many hills, which has since expanded to accommodate the city’s increasing population and growing economy. The LBD:NY class concluded with a scavenger hunt through the Financial District, focused on important architectural details from the past.

Thank you to Lee and Hunter Elementary students for putting together a wonderful presentation.

Learning By Design:NY provides school-based K-12 residency programs and professional development workshops to students and teachers. For more information and to learn about ways to get involved, visit or contact Tim Hayduk.