A visit to the Museum of the City of New York to see the exhibition “Cycling in the City: A 200-Year History.” Then NYC-ARTS tags along with Manhattan florist Lewis Miller on a “Flower Flash,” one of his unique floral installations. Followed by a profile of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, featuring conversations with Alice Greenwald, Tom Hennes, and Amy Weinstein.

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♪♪

Coming up on 'NYC-Arts,' a trip to the Museum of the City of New York and the exhibition 'Cycling in the City: a 200-Year History.'

The first bicycle, called the velocipede, came to New York in 1819, 200 years ago.

Where people can bicycle, who bicycles, when you can do it has been contentious.

And then we follow along with florist Lewis Miller on one of his flower flashes.

They are for the people, and I want people to take them and interact with them.

You know, obviously take a picture, but take a blossom.

Take some home.

The more that we can have these kind of soft moments of just beauty and joy for no other reason, if it's for an hour or 10 minutes, its job is done.

And we return to the National 9/11 Memorial Museum on the 18th anniversary of the tragic attacks on our country.

You are on sacred ground.

That is conveyed in the physical plant of the museum, in the process of going through the space, entering down into the cavity of what was the foundation of the World Trade Center.

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... Additional funding provided by members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, 'first' refers to our first priority, the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree?

Be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

Good evening, and welcome to 'NYC-Arts.'

I'm Paula Zahn at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Tonight, we'll visit the Museum of the City of New York at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street.

Here, visitors can take in a variety of exhibitions that celebrate, document and interpret the city's past, present and future.

♪♪ On view now is 'Cycling in the City: A 200-Year History.'

The exhibition includes more than 150 objects, including 14 bicycles dating from 1869 through today.

All are presented on a platform evocative of a historic velodrome.

In recent years, bicycles have become a major presence in our urban landscape.

There are now more than 100 miles of protected bike lanes, making New York City one of the country's most bicycle-friendly cities.

The number of daily cycling trips, 460,000 of them, have actually tripled just over the past 15 years, and now, here is a look at how the bicycle transformed both urban transportation and leisure time in New York City.

♪♪

Welcome to the Museum of the City of New York.

I'm in the exhibition 'Cycling in the City: a 200-Year History.'

♪ Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle ♪ I want to ride my bicycle ♪ I want to ride my bike

The first bicycle, called the velocipede, came to New York in 1819, 200 years ago, but since then, it's been a very rocky road and a real ebb and flow of interest in the bicycle.

It's been a contentious issue all along.

Where people can bicycle, who bicycles, when you can do it has been contentious.

The big bicycle craze was the end of the 19th century when people rode to work on a bicycle, and they also promenaded up the boulevard in the evening, which was Broadway north of Columbus Circle.

And it was a big urban spectacle.

The earliest bicycles of the 1870s like we have in the show, a Pickering, which was a rich man's toy.

It would have cost about $100 in the 1870s, which would be almost $4,000 to $5,000 today, and it was made in New York City, which, interestingly, was the center of bicycle manufacturing at the end of the 19th century.

The tandem bicycle served two functions.

One was that it allowed you to ride with a companion, so it made bicycle riding more family oriented.

A husband and a wife could ride together.

A mother and a child could ride together.

But for the woman who didn't want to ride alone, even though many women did, it was a way to be chaperoned on the public streets of the city.

Well, at the end of the 19th century, women embraced bicycling, and it's controversial.

Some people argue that the bicycling woman is abandoning her rightful duty to be a mother and a wife, but the suffragist Susan B. Anthony argues that the bicycle will give women emancipation, allow them to be mobile in the city streets on their own, and this is before, of course, women get the right to vote.

At the time, at the end of the 19th century, the bicycle was new, and people didn't know quite how to ride it.

So you went to these cycling academies, where you learned how to ride.

There was a woman named Violet Ward, who was a cycling advocate, and she writes a book called 'Bicycling for Ladies,' and then you could brave it and go onto the city streets.

Well, bicycle as a spectator sport becomes very popular.

There are really, really popular 6-day races at Madison Square Garden, where people speeded along a velodrome for 6 days.

There were small theaters that were set up as part of Victorian-era entertainment systems, and they were curiosities, and people would come to see young men who come and do daredevil acts on extremely steep velodromes, like, almost like fences.

The bicycle messenger, who is delivering telegrams, telegraphs, stock certificates, architectural drawings, legal documents, very much in lower Manhattan becomes a public figure, so he becomes so popular that there's a popular game created around him, but the bicycle craze ends in America at the beginning of the 20th century.

Robert Moses, the park's commissioner, promotes bicycling for recreation only in the 1930s.

Bicycling is geared largely towards children.

In the exhibition, we have a Huffy bicycle, which is quite beautiful.

It's red, shiny.

It's got streamline design, and it's the kind of bike a kid would have yearned to get for Christmas in the late 1950s.

And then, due to the rise of the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s, Mayor John Lindsay promotes the bicycle, and he closes part of Central Park to automobiles on certain days to make it possible to ride the bicycle.

The bicycle messenger then becomes much more contentious in the 1980s.

They're kind of daredevils.

They're almost a kind of counterculture group, and Mayor Ed Koch bans bicycles.

In 1987, they protest on the city streets, and the bicycle messengers sue the city, and they win, allowing them to actually bicycle during the day, and that's a key moment, where the bicycle goes from being a mode of recreation to a mode of commuting and work as it is today.

You can see the bicycle, this simple device is tapping into these larger social, cultural, political issues.

The most recent chapter in the history of the bicycle really is related to the Bloomberg administration and continues during the de Blasio administration, and in the spring of 2013, the bike share program of Citibike is introduced and is now spreading throughout the entire city.

♪ Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle ♪ I want to ride my bicycle

One of the goals of the show was to say, 'Yes, we're going through a bicycle renaissance.

Yes, the bicycle is a contentious issue, but guess what -- it's been a contentious issue all along since 1819.'

♪ You say black

♪ I say white

♪ You say bark

♪ I say bite

♪ You say shark

♪ I say, hey, man ♪ 'Jaws' was never my scene ♪♪

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♪♪ Two years ago, Manhattan florist Lewis Miller decided to brighten up New York by sharing his art with the public.

Since then, his pop-up arrangements, known as flower flashes, have appeared all over the city, usually once or twice a month.

Come with us as we tag along with Miller and his crew for one of these early-morning adventures.

Flowers were always part of my DNA.

I come from a family of gardeners, but I went from landscape and horticulture to the flower world, and here I am.

The flower flash was something that was kind of bopping around my brain for a while.

It didn't have a name.

It was sort of more of this vague idea of how to take flowers and fuse them in an urban city environment.

So it finally got to the point a couple years ago where I was very satisfied with business, things going super well, and kind of needing to feel creatively energized again but also feeling the need in my own way to give back.

I'm clearly surrounded by a flowers on a daily basis, as are my clients, and we tend to get immune to how beautiful they are and what an expression of joy they are to people, and it's really about taking that, which is so beautiful and ephemeral, and kind of merging it with the texture and the grit of our urban city life and creating something that very spontaneous, very fleeting and sort of abstract.

We spend a great deal of time really finding locations that feel New York first.

So that, combined with the season, what's looking good, and also the flower flashes are accumulation of old flowers from the flower market, stuff that's left over from the studio and stuff that's left over from events, so we have to work with that as well.

These flashes happen very quickly.

We plan it to a certain extent.

Then we just do it and see what happens.

There's a little... an anxious energy.

You know, it's usually dark.

A lot of times, it's cold.

Flowers are for New Yorkers.

They are for the people, and I want people to take them and interact with them.

Obviously take a picture, but take a blossom, take some home.

New York is New York, all these people piled on top of each other.

To me, the two biggest luxuries in this city are nature and space, so the more that we can have these kind of soft moments of just beauty and joy for no other reason...

Thank you! Yes!

...even if it's for an hour or 10 minutes, its job is done.

♪♪

To close our program tonight, we mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks with a visit to the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

Today, this once devastated neighborhood is again a vibrant and thriving community.

Open to the public since 2014, the museum stands alongside the reflecting pool built into the footprints of the original twin towers in downtown New York.

The 9/11 Memorial Glade, dedicated earlier this year, pays tribute to the rescue and recovery workers and others who suffered in the aftermath of the attacks.

The museum's permanent exhibitions explore what led up to the terror attacks and take visitors through the events of that tragic day.

History is told on a monumental scale and in a very personal way through powerful individual stories of loss and recovery.

♪♪

We are a historical museum at the site where the atrocity took place, and that fact lends a kind of unique quality to the experience of the museum, which in its own way is very inspirational.

You are, in some respects, on sacred ground, and that is conveyed in the physical plant of the museum, in the process of going through the space, entering down into the cavity of what was the foundation of the World Trade Center, to leave the world above and really immerse yourself in a particular historical moment through the stories of the people who were there.

We enter through a chorus of voices from people around the world of their first encounter with 9/11, whether they saw it on TV, whether they heard it on the radio or heard it from a friend.

The large spaces are both archaeological in the sense that they're organized around the original footprints of the towers, and have therefore some in situ artifacts like the base columns that are actually cut off at the ground, in addition to a slurry wall, which is an archaeological remnant of the site itself, which is about a 65-foot section of this enormous concrete retaining wall that bounds the entire site, and they also have two large pieces of steel that were pulled out of the wreckage, and they were from just above and below the point of impact of Flight 11, both of them bent inward.

The last column was one of the core columns in the south tower, and at the time that the pile was coming down, as it was being uncovered, it was marked by the Port Authority Police as a possible site of one of the lost squads, and as the pile came down, other people began to inscribe things on it, so it really became a place to reflect and a place to think about the things that are important to us as a community now and the way we remember 9/11.

We have core exhibitions located in different places in the museum, but they're always integrated with the archaeology, if you will.

Our historical exhibition is a large exhibit.

It's about 22,000 square feet, located on the footprint of the north tower, where One World Trade used to be, and it is an exhibition that first takes you through the events of that day.

For people who remember it... And many people remember it.

About 2 billion people are estimated to have witnessed the events on that day.

♪♪ So as they move through the events of the day, it is in effect allowing people to reencounter the emotions they had that day.

For visitors who don't have that memory, it is an encounter with American history in a very immediate and visceral way.

The most sensitive content is segregated.

You don't have to go in.

We also provide ways to leave if you feel you've had enough.

The museum's collection is very diverse -- I would say approximately 40,000 objects.

We seek objects for the collection, but people also will call or e-mail and say, 'Well, I have something I'm not so sure that you'd think it's interesting, but it's interesting to me.'

Artifacts in the museum could be anything from a wedding ring that was found during the recovery to a whole fire truck that was badly damaged on September 11th.

Some of the smallest objects carry the greatest emotional impact in some ways, and other objects resonate because of their uniqueness.

When you walk around that north tower antenna, you learn about the broadcast engineers who were at work on the morning of September 11th, way high up, 106th floor, who did not make it out that day, but who conveyed important information about what they were seeing and hearing and feeling.

So even the biggest objects can be the most intimate, and the tiniest objects can be the most monumental in some ways.

The first part of the exhibit is about the events of the day.

The second part asks, 'Why did this happen?

Why was the World Trade Center the target of terrorism not just once, but twice?

Who did it? Why did they do it?'

We explore that by looking at the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which then allows us to ask the question, 'Well, how do you get from '93 to 2001?'

You then, having come full circle now, move into the world after 9/11 in the final part of the history exhibit.

We look at the way people responded after 9/11, the community that was created around the recovery, that sense of solidarity in New York City and in the country and in the world for a brief period of time.

All of that is part of the experience of this museum.

Everybody experienced 9/11 in a very unique or personal way, so we're giving people the chance to say exactly what they saw, what they felt, what they heard.

As you make your way through the exhibition, you'll hear stories being told in audio alcoves.

And then you'll hear people talking about the people who can no longer speak for themselves, the people who were killed on that day.

'In Memoriam,' which is the name given to the memorial exhibition, was one of the more difficult things to design.

We wanted to somehow bring together two competing elements.

One is the fact that this was a mass destruction, mass death, an atrocity on a large scale, and at the same time, one of the things the family members really wanted, and we thought it was very important, is that each human life counts on its own.

John was a music and dance king.

He was always the first one on the dance floor, sort of opening the dance floor, and always the last one off the dance floor.

These people were real.

People ages 2 1/2 to 85 years old.

They are from 90 nations.

They represent every sector of the economy, every faith tradition, every ethnicity imaginable.

It is a microcosm of the world.

We began the design with the understanding that each individual coming through the museum would have different needs.

People who were in grief over the loss of family members have different needs from people who have no direct connection to the event, and the museum had to be safe enough for them to experience, but not so safe that they wouldn't move a little bit beyond their own boundaries.

I've heard from a lot of people, New Yorkers in particular, that they're not yet ready to come, and my feeling about that is when you're ready, we'll be here, and we welcome you, but also to understand that this museum is a museum that one can experience on so many different levels.

A memorial is about remembering the people who died, and it's about coming to terms with the grief over that loss, but a museum can aid in understanding where we are today, understanding what it was that happened, understanding better our own feelings about it as well in our own experience.

This is a tragedy that belongs to all over us because it could have been us and recognizing ourselves, the familiarity of this exhibition -- people you don't know, who you recognize as somebody you might have known -- helps us to recognize our own agency in being able to build the kind of world we want to leave our children and grandchildren.

This is the 9/12 museum as much as it's the 9/11 museum, and that's the world we've inherited.

♪♪ ♪♪

I'm Paula Zahn at the Tisch WNET Studios in Lincoln Center.

Thanks so much for joining us.

Good night.

Next week on 'NYC-Arts,' Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan, the new artistic leadership of the New York City Ballet.

♪♪

Now he needs to smooth it out more, so now the push pulls look tortured, so, like, it needs... it just needs...

Or just breath.

It just needs...Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah.

And they need to, like, help them by making it hard for him in a way, you know.

Give him some weight to pull.

Yeah, exactly.

And a look at the public art fund instillation Siah Armajani, 'Bridge over Tree,' located in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

What can a bridge mean when it is split from its functional purpose?

One analogy can be drawn to the idea of respect for nature, that this bridge doesn't run over the tree.

You know, it bridges over the tree and kind of respects it as a form.

♪♪

To enjoy more of your favorite segments on 'NYC-Arts,' visit our website at nyc-arts.org.

♪♪ Leonard, what a privilege to be able to sit down and talk with you.

I love being here with you, too, Paula.

Where are we?

We're at a moment to take nothing for granted.

Well, it's a pleasure to be with Marci Reaven, the curator of this exhibition full of hope.

We are in the midst of some of the greatest sculptures by the iconic names.

Classical and modern dance are extremely different, and I have so much more to learn before I can really articulate the differences.

And when I listened to Yip Harburg's lyrics in that, I suddenly thought, 'That's what I want to do with my life.'

My pictures reside in very intimate, very private moments.

My primary way of playing the piano is by improvising.

You are, in some respects, on sacred ground.

A woman came to see me perform and said, 'How would you like to play Billie Holiday?'

The cardboard guitar is the very first of that moment of realization.

And suddenly you come and present something, and you get applause.

Great, you know?

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... Additional funding provided by members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, 'first' refers to our first priority, the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree?

Be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.