Author Archives: Anne Leonard

Research groups as of 4/2/19

In class we reviewed emerging themes and formed the following research groups:

Health: Mohamad, Dedee, Javonni

Safety: Marvin, Stephanie, Santanu

Open space: Michelle, Laurin, Wenderlin

Gentrification: Jodian, Jayden, Karen

Evolution of place: Yang, Shuwen, Huiyi, Maria

Happiness: Hoiting, Cristian, Bryan, Charlie

Please come to class on Thursday prepared to work on the group outline, due Thursday, April 18 by the beginning of class. Don’t forget to take the midterm survey before Friday, April 5.

Midterm survey, classes next week, and April events

Now it’s your turn to evaluate the class. Please take the midterm survey sometime before Friday, April 5. It should take about 10-15 minutes of your time. On Tuesday, April 2 we will finalize our research groups for the last projects of the semester: the outline, annotated bibliography, and podcast. Thursday, April 4 will be devoted to synthesizing group members’ individual questions from the midterms into a single idea and developing the outline.


research group themes

I updated the links post with a link to the NYU Furman Center and its housing research site

Next Wednesday 4/3 there’s an interesting program at the New York Public Library: Mapping Contagion, where researchers will present cartographic and geographic research methods pertaining to public history, medicine, and sociology.  Admission is free and you should register in advance if you want to attend.

On Friday, April 12 the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center holds its annual conference, Living in Brooklyn: Housing Along the Waterfront. Registration is free and the conference takes place in the Academic Complex on the City Tech campus.

Midterm presentations next week

In class we spent time working on midterm presentations and talked a bit about primary sources. I updated the links post with some places to find primary sources, such as NYPL Digital Collections and the Environmental Impact Statement. Midterm presentations take place next week, and site report 2b is due by the beginning of class on Tuesday, March 26. Submit midterm slides (or Prezis) by the end of the day Thursday. In class we determined who is presenting on which day:

Tuesday, March 26:

Thursday, March 28:

Hoi Ting


Site report #2 due Thursday, and looking ahead to midterm presentations

In class today we spent time developing research topics, and everyone had one-on-one time with the instructors to develop the research question. We looked briefly at the Digital Collections of the NYPL and spent some time with the map warper, which allows users to see the contemporary city map and the historic map simultaneously.

Site report #2a is due Thursday and part #2b due 3/26.

This Thursday, come prepared to work on your midterm presentation and also decide which day you plan to present: Tuesday, March 26 or Thursday, March 28. Presentations should be between 7-10 minutes long, including questions/discussion.

NYPL Map Division visit this Thursday, March 14

In class we learned about qualitative and quantitative research methods, including observation, interviewing, and surveying, from Prof. Maura Smale of the library. Slides from her talk will be posted soon are here. We reviewed the midterm presentation guidelines. Midterms are individual presentations of 7-10 minutes that take place in class on March 26 and March 28.

This Thursday is our class visit to the Map Division and Local History Division of the New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. We will meet at 3pm in front of the Map Room, room 117. Please come prepared to study, sketch, document, and take notes about historical maps and other documents with pencils/sketchbooks, your charged cellphone, and a printed copy of the site report #2 template. Consider the research questions you recorded on your site report #1 and we revised and discussed in class Tuesday.

The Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is located in midtown Manhattan, at 476 Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street. Take the B, D, F, M or 7 trains to the Bryant Park station, the 4, 5, or 6 trains to Grand Central, or the 1, 2, 3, Q, N, or R to Times Square.

Tuesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 14

On Tuesday we will begin with a guest lecture on social science research methods from Prof. Maura Smale, Chief Librarian and Library department chairperson at City Tech. We will also discuss the themes and topics that are emerging from your site reports and site and archive visits; these will help guide your midterm presentations. Before Tuesday’s class, please read the overviews of survey research and interview research and view a short video comparing empirical studies using qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Thursday is our class visit to the Map Division of the New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. We will meet at 3pm in front of the Map Room, room 117. Please come prepared to study, sketch, document, and take notes about historical maps with pencils/sketchbooks, your charged cellphone, and a printed copy of the site report #2 template. Patience and Fortitude are the lions who have flanked the entrance to the Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library since 1911. Their names are good attributes to bring with you when embarking on research in special collections and archives.

New York Public Library 060622.JPG
Fortitude, guarding the NYPL entrance. By User:PFHLaiOwn work, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

Midterm presentation guidelines – due March 26 & March 28

The mid-term presentations will be held on Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 28. We will determine the order of presentations in class on March 21.

The mid-term presentation will consist of the following:

  1. Summary: Present a summary of your view and insights of the place (Barclays Center site)
  2. Theme: Present a theme/issue/research question to sell to your classmates for the podcast projects.
  3. Research Method: Present a method you propose to research the theme further (what questions need to be asked and answered?, how and where do you need to go? what materials do you need to inspect and study?)
  4. Outline of Major and Minor Topics related to Research: Develop a draft outline of the major talking points for the podcast on your proposed theme.
  5. Bibliography as starting point for Research: Develop a draft bibliography with at least 4 PRIMARY sources that would be useful for the podcast research. (No more than 1 newspaper article.)

All students will post a pdf of presentation to the Openlab course site. Students may use presentation software of their choosing and present on the smartboard in L543. All required items above should be documented in submitted pdf.

An excellent midterm presentation includes all of the following elements:

-strongly developed and clearly realized theme, issue or research question that is relevant to the study site
-clear and realistic research methods are described
-well-organized outline with sufficient detail to demonstrate how the topic, question, or theme will be addressed
-the bibliography includes 4 or more relevant primary sources with complete citations
-PDF of presentation is submitted on time, free of typos, and grammar, syntax, or formatting errors

Please reply to this post to ask any questions about the midterm.

Presentations to be at least 7 minutes but no more than 10 minutes including discussion.

Brooklyn Matters, and our Brooklyn Collection visit this Thursday, March 7

In class today we viewed the film Brooklyn Matters with these questions in mind:
What is eminent domain? What do you think of its use to build the Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development? What do you think are the long-term effects on the surrounding neighborhoods and communities?

We reviewed the archives site report template and prepared for our class visit to the Brooklyn Collection this Thursday from 3-4:30pm. Site report #2 is based on this visit and our upcoming visit to the Map Division at the New York Public Library, so it may be useful to review the site report template in advance, or print it and bring it with you. Site report 2a is due Thursday, March 21 and site report 2b is due Tuesday, March 26.

This Thursday we meet at 3 p.m. at the Brooklyn Collection, located on the second floor of the Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library. Use the address 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn 11238 if navigating with your phone. From campus, it is a short trip on the 2/3 train from Hoyt Street or Borough Hall to Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway, or the B41 bus. Weather permitting, I’m walking there, leaving from L543 at 2:10.

It’s fine to take photos without a flash, so be sure your phone is fully charged. You will use some documentation of archival information in the site report. Remember that only pencils may be used in the Brooklyn Collection.

brooklyn collection map

300 Jay Street to 10 Grand Army Plaza via 2/3 train


Links to databases & resources (updated 4/16/2019)

In class I mentioned I would compile and post links to information resources mentioned in class. I’ll update this post as needed. If I forget something, please use the comments to remind me – or post something useful you have found!

DoF tax photos from the New York Municipal Archives
NYCityMap to look up block and lot numbers – Digital Public Library of America
Digital New York Times subscriptions; create your account with your email address.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1841-1955 (free for all)
The historical New York Times, 1851-2015 (log in with the barcode from your college ID)
The Wall Street Journal (create account with your college email address)

Social Explorer (log in with the barcode from your college ID)
Infoshare (log in with the barcode from your college ID)

NYPL Map Warper – georectified maps of NYC and the world
NYPL Digital Collections – historic photos, images, and maps

Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation of New  York State – links to community meeting agendas, construction updates, and other resources
Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement
Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, 2005
Fort Greene Historic District Designation Report, 1978

NYU Furman Center does important research on NYC housing and neighborhoods, and hosts the data portal

New York City Community District Profiles: our site is at the intersection of districts 2, 6, and 8 in Brooklyn

The Institute of Metropolitan Opportunity of the University of Minnesota Law School produced a report and a map of Low Income Displacement and Concentration in U.S. Census Tracts, 2000 to 2016.


Thursday’s site visit, and historic NYC building photos online

In class today we discussed last week’s site visit, reviewed the site report template, and discussed your blog posts in response to the essay Due North and observing while walking in the city.

To get a taste of archival research, we viewed NYC tax photos of familiar buildings (maybe even your apartment building) from the 1940s and 1980s, and used NYCityMap to look up block and lot info to facilitate searching. Field research visits in March will be all about searching for, finding, and using primary sources and other materials from archives and special collections.

On Thursday, we’ll embark on site visit #2, leaving from our classroom promptly at 2:30, so do not be late. Site report #1 is due on Thursday, February 28, posted to the OpenLab.