December 19, 2016

8 Last-Minute Holiday Gifts Inspired by "The Past and Future City"

  • By: Tim Mikulski
High Line Park in New York City in July 2011

photo by: David Berkowitz/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Past and Future City by National Trust President Stephanie Meeks, which was released in 2016, has received positive reviews from the preservation community and civic leaders. And while we feel it is, itself, an excellent last-minute holiday gift, we've pulled together a collection of pop culture items referenced in the book that might also serve your late-in-the-season, preservation-themed gift giving needs—plus one bonus gift Meeks has referenced since her book's release.

The Muppets

This soft reboot of the franchise brings together the old gang to save their original and historic theater, while also introducing us to a few new characters like Walter and the ever-game Jason Segel as one of the lead humans.

How I Met Your Mother

Speaking of Jason Segel, he's also one of the leads on this long-running CBS sitcom that tackled the topic of preservation in New York City during one of its middle seasons. While not always accurate, the season six plot helped bring to light some issues that local preservationists face when battling large corporations.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The legendary book is name-checked on page 125 of The Past and Future City when Meeks discusses the preservation of Denver's Larimer Square.

"Downtown" by Petula Clark

What better way to introduce a chapter on our work in cities than to also create an earworm that you just won't be able to shake?

High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky by Joshua David & Robert Hammond

This book is the first-person account of the long, involved process of creating New York City's High Line.

Christmas Village Fox Theater

Fox Theaters were erected across the country and many have been restored or reused for other purposes. This figurine represents them all, but the Oakland Theater is discussed in detail, along with other similar movie houses, starting on page 140.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Early in the introduction, Meeks quotes Steinbeck—"How will we know it's us without our past?"—when discussing the trauma of losing one's place in the world.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The best-selling novel chronicles a fictionalized tale set at and around one of our National Treasures, the Panama Hotel in Seattle. (Check out our interview with Jamie Ford for more on this story.)

Bonus: Hidden Figures

While Hidden Figures hadn't been released at the time The Past and Future City was written, Meeks has referenced the movie in her 2017 speech that introduced the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Meeks explains that, for the preservation movement to continue its success, we must seek out and uplift the "hidden figures" in American history.

By purchasing any of these products using the links on this page, you'll be supporting the National Trust as a small portion of the sales comes back to us to benefit our work. Looking for other ways to help save places? Consider giving a gift membership to the place-lover in your life.

Tim Mikulski was the social media community manager for the National Trust. He answered questions and shared news/information across all of the Trust's social channels.

Join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

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