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Ghosts of Cities Past

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NYC Haunts 2012
March 14, 2012

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What’s the history of your favorite haunt? Teens from The New York Public Library’s Seward Park Branch explored the hidden past of their neighborhood earlier this year and made some surprising discoveries.

Using iPads as their guides in a mobile gaming experience that transported them back in time, the teens dug deep into their neighborhood’s landmarks through the contents of NYPL’s Lower East Side History Collection. One boy was fascinated to learn that the modern-day Tenement Museum is housed in the same cramped apartment building that poverty-stricken families once called home. Another boy appreciated getting a glimpse into the arduous working conditions for women at the time of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911.

Working with Global Kids, a group that uses digital tools to educate kids about social issues, the NYPL teens made the connection between these historical narratives and modern-day issues such as the continuing use of sweatshop labor in New York City and around the world. Watch as the teens peel back the layers of their neighborhood — and see how they encourage each other to learn from the past and take action in the present.

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