Places connect us to the past, host community and cultural traditions, and keep local environments distinctive. City Lore and the Municipal Art Society founded the Place Matters project in 1998 to identify, promote, and protect such places in New York City.

Place of the Month

Happy Land Social Club Memorial

March 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Happy Land Social Club fire. On March 25, 1990, eighty-seven people were killed in the Happy Land Social Club on Southern Boulevard in the Tremont section of the Bronx. Julio Gonzales, a recent Cuban immigrant, entered the club and quarreled with his girlfriend, Lydia Feliciano, a club employee. Gonzales left the club, doused the only exit to the building with gasoline, and set it on fire. Trapped inside the burning building, eighty-seven people, including the club owner, died from smoke inhalation within minutes.

Places that Matter

Place Matters ESRI Map

Place Matters ESRI Map

Click on the map above to see the many wonderful sites included on the The Census of Places That Matter, a grassroots survey of places in the five boroughs that the public finds important. The Census was created to help broaden the ways that preservation is understood and practiced in New York City. The Census offers an alternative approach to identifying, celebrating and preserving places that matter to the people and communities who love them.


New Virtual Tour

Be sure to visit our newest virtual tour, Seeing East 4th Street: Vernacular Architecture in NYC, an introductory guide to reading New York City’s vernacular architecture – everyday buildings constructed for ordinary people. Looking closely at vernacular architecture helps us understand more about the places where we live, and the people who have lived there.  

Place Matters USA

Consulting Nationwide

Since our first national conference in 1996, Place Matters has documented, celebrated and advocated for places that anchor traditions, tell our history, and make New York City distinctive. After more than 15 years of developing successful creative placemaking initiatives in our home town, we are pleased to offer our services nationwide.  

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