Our Mission

Our Mission



The Gotham Center is a research and public education institution, sponsored by The Graduate Center, CUNY, devoted to advancing scholarly and public understanding of New York City’s rich and living past. The organization was founded in 2000 by Mike Wallace, after his landmark work Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, co-authored with Edwin Burrows, won the Pulitzer. For nearly twenty years, it has been the one academic institution devoted exclusively to promoting this critical field of study.



Our goal is to support independent and professional historical work examining the various forces and figures that have shaped life in the city, as well as New York’s contributions to the development of the nation and the world. Through a variety of research grants, writing fellowships, seminars, and conferences, we hope to underwrite the production of this knowledge and shape the next generation of scholarship. Through a variety of public-facing initiatives, such as our free event series, blog, podcasts, and K-12 programs, we strive to make that knowledge available to the widest possible audience — sharing the best and most interesting new scholarship with groups far beyond the academic community and immediate metropolitan area. Finally, we endeavor to make this information useful to actors influencing culture and policy today, fostering greater awareness of historical knowledge and exchange between scholarly experts and leaders in civil society and government. In all things, we ask New Yorkers to consider how the past has created the present, and what lessons it might offer for the challenges we face in our great city, now and in the future.