- Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
- Destinations: United States
- Program Delivery: Day, Residential
- Credit Awarded: None
- Program Length: Semester
- Start Month: February, September
- Category: Academic
- Selective: Yes
- Gender: Coed
- Ages: 18, 19+, 19
- Housing: Dorm
- Application Fee: $50
- Affiliation: Gap Year Association
- Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Payment Terms
- Minimum Cost: $5,000 - $9,999
CityGAP is an outdoor, city-based, experiential program for participants age 18-25. Our program is for young people who want to connect with the world, explore their passions, master life skills, & make an impact with a supportive group of peers.
Engage with New York as a classroom, laboratory, and community as we wrestle with the current challenges facing the city and create original group & individual projects in a variety of media.
CityGAP serves people from around the world seeking a meaningful, creative, and collaborative experience outside in NYC. Our ideal participant is a person who wants to do hands-on work with peers, mentors and expert partners on relevant challenges in the city. We partner with city officials, artists, policymakers, journalists, performers, activists and entrepreneurs. Participants work on both group and individual projects, producing a portfolio of original work in a variety of media.
Participants: 10-12 participants between ages 18-22
Program parameters: We meet outdoors, in-person three days a week, for 4-6 hours with breaks, and indoors or remotely two days a week for 2-4 hours twice a week. The rotation will be determined by the participants and program leaders, and is subject to change due to partners’ schedules and the weather.
Example weekly schedule:
- In-person and in the field on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- Indoors/remote or independent work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Program: We begin with 3 weeks of orientation, in which we explore the origins and organization of NYC, and learn to navigate and collaborate. This introductory experience orients participants in the city and sets them on the path to master how the city works. We explore NYC’s street grid, transportation network and neighborhoods, architecture and monuments, and unique social geography, looking at the city through our “5 Living City Lenses.”?After the first project cycle, we do a 10-12 week Group Project designed in collaboration with the participants, based on their passions and interests, drawing from the 12 project cycle topics, below.?The final products, determined by the participants, may include: exhibitions, design projects, podcasts, videos and documentaries, model-making, public art projects, websites, op-eds, policy proposals, performance, walking tours, etc. ?Of course, current events and student interest may transform a project cycle or produce a completely new one, as circumstances warrant. We have a deep bench of expert partners to make such flexibility possible.?Finally, each student also engages in a Individual Project in which they pursue a personal passion, or explore a new one, with our mentorship and guidance from our deep bench of partners.
During CityGAP, I have become far more independent both personally and academically. My experiences meeting with partners have allowed me to gain a clearer vision of what I want to do with my life and contribute to society as a whole. I have gained experience in planning and leadership as well. I am extremely proud of our final group project and the work we poured into it. During this process, I fell in love with human-centered design and the ways in which the spaces we occupy affect us and vice versa. Again, I want to thank you so much for everything from CityGAP and beyond--It was truly a life changing experience and I am so grateful to have learned and made the connections that I did.- Lily F, Fall 2022 - March 24, 2023
When our son enrolled in the program, we hoped for an exciting immersive experience living in New York City. The website has an excellent explanation of what The Living City project is about. What I would like to add to that, is that Andy and Tanya are not only incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their work, their level of support, guidance, kindness and encouragement makes this program exceptional. Along with learning about points of interest and engaging in fun activities, their program truly fostered things like critical thinking, problem solving, and the individual within the city systems. I was blown away by the level of the group and individual projects, and impressed with the range of professional community partners. As a result of this program, my son has a new sense of confidence, independence, and love for the city. This was a life changing experience for us in the best way!- Andrea M. (CityGAP Parent '22) - March 22, 2023
We have been hearing so many great stories about Celine's time in New York City with CityGAP. She's told us a lot about how special Tanya and Andy made the experience, and the wonderful bond the group now shares. Thank you for helping Celine create these unforgettable memories of life in the city - and most of all these friendships that mean so much to her.- Michelle P. (CityGAP Parent '22) - June 2, 2022
Lily is having an amazing experience and has grown so much even in the short time she has been in NYC! She is going to show me around to some of her favorite places when I come up on a solo trip! We are glad we learned about The Living City project.- Lauren F. (CityGAP Parent '22) - March 20, 2023
CityGAP is an incredibly unique experience— I am yet to hear of any gap programs that immerse students in experiential, place-based learning in NYC the way the Living City Project does. This program empowered me to explore the passions I already had, and find new interests to fall in love with. Andy and Tanya dedicate their time and energy to their students with more care than any educator I’ve known; their knowledge and enthusiasm is seemingly boundless. Their connections to individual partners as well as organizations enabled us to meet with a wide variety of committed experts who were not only engaged, but excited to be working with us. CityGAP is an excellent program for anyone who is enthusiastic about urban geography, architecture, American history, city planning and design, building equitable communities, learning to navigate a city independently, making friends, eating good food, and exploring new places.- Evan, Fall 2022 - March 20, 2023
Tanya and Andy, through your guidance, sharing, and connections, New York has shaped me in ways no other city has done before. I’m beyond grateful for all of your excitement, joy, patience, thoughtfulness, and trust - and good laughs! You really are the best educators I’ve ever had.- Isabella, Fall 2022 - December 18, 2022
CityGap has made me more confident in myself, let me see a broader perspective on the city, and given me prep skills for working in the professional world as well as networking skills. I learned about the many issues surrounding housing in NYC, and I learned that I have the ability to help fix those problems.- Menna, Fall 2022 - December 22, 2022
CityGAP taught me important life skills, such as independence and initiative, while being exposed to a wide variety of professions and fields of work. The chance to live in New York City while gaining real world experience was invaluable, and something I will forever treasure. While certainly a demanding program, Andy and Tanya were incredibly knowledgeable and supportive throughout.- Claudia, Fall 2022 - March 6, 2023
CityGAP gave me an opportunity to go beyond traditional schooling in which I could legitimately think and problem-solve in ways that, for the first time, felt like what I wanted to do. Everyone should get a chance to learn like this at least once in their lives. The day to day activities of the group were substantial and interesting, never feeling like busy work and always proving themselves relevant later down the line. Andy and Tanya make a fantastic team of educators, putting their all into teaching a well rounded program and responding tactfully to any hurdles that do appear. NYC works better as a place to learn than anywhere else, and the longer the program went on the more convinced I was that there is something naturally emboldening about living in the city. The model of learning that CityGAP imploys is empowering, and the level of self-reliance fostered by living in New York is perfectly complemented by the program.- Mitchell, Fall 2022 - December 22, 2022
Our daughter Wynsome had an incredibly enriching experience in her City Gap semester. In fact, our whole family benefitted! Tanya and Andy have such an exceptional understanding of how cities work. They generously shared their enthusiasm for New York's history, neighborhoods, and institutions while connecting Wynsome and her cohort to the people shaping the city's future. Wynsome got meaningful hands-on experience with community organizations, and felt empowered to follow her unique interests in her personal project. Andy and Tanya weren't just educators, they were also great life coaches, helping Wynsome navigate the college application process and transition to young adulthood. My husband and I were jealous - we wanted to do the program ourselves!- Lisa Richmond, City Gap parent - August 28, 2022
Clara attended the CityGAP program in the spring of 2021, after spending the fall of 2020 essentially stuck in her dorm room with classes only on zoom and her friends and community inaccessible. With spring semester looming as more of the same, the opportunity CityGAP offered was enticing! Certainly it would have been an improvement if they had only held classes outside and in person, but it was so much more than that. Clara physically explored the city in terrific detail, then focused on the production, distribution and availability of food in the city. The students had the opportunity to visit, speak with and learn from strong, creative individuals who are actively working to make these existing systems better. Clara was already fairly confident and comfortable speaking with peers and adults, but an almost year of Covid restrictions had demoralized her. Through this program Andy and Tanya nudged Clara back out into the world, believed in her, encouraged her and transformed her into a force to be reckoned with. She can tackle difficult situations, change directions when faced with immovable obstacles and speak her mind in uncomfortable situations, but she is also a kind, thoughtful and supportive listener. She spent the semester using and strengthening her various skills, again with the support of Andy and Tanya, and with the other students created a beautiful book, ostensibly a cook book, but actually an in depth look at various aspects of food production and distribution. Andy and Tanya continue to be an extraordinary two person support network with countless ideas and contacts to help Clara continue her journey! I can't thank them enough.- Deborah Pitt - July 5, 2022
CityGAP offers an incredible opportunity for young people to explore their interests and passions at a critical moment of transition in their lives. Whether they are about to leave for college or are already on their college journey, CityGAP allows students to reflect on and explore what excites and intrigues them about the world around us. Program directors Andy and Tanya create a space that asks students to think critically, while also celebrating the wonder of New York City. Andy and Tanya are two exceptional educators who not only care deeply about their students, but have also spent a lifetime studying the city and bolstering its success. They bring a long career of invaluable connections, which gives students a window into communities across the five boroughs, allowing them to meet with remarkable partners who live each day trying to make this city a better place. As a staff member I have had the joy of witnessing students' inspiring work unfold through the steadfast guidance of Andy and Tanya. They are endlessly committed to supporting the success of each of their students, and have taught me the value of place-based learning. It was such an honor to work for Andy and Tanya and I will miss my time with them as I embark on my own path as an educator.- Sophie Moss-Slavin - August 1, 2022
?I am deeply grateful for what CityGAP offered Julian, Pelumi, Mateo, their families, their friends, and the restaurant industry. I so appreciate how you structured CityGAP: highly collaborative, demanding but supportive, focused but loosely enough so that each student could explore a personal interest. It was very clear to me from last night's presentations that these students have emerged from CityGAP with increased confidence. The single subject mentality offered by high schools and colleges sets students up for a rocky transition into the messy, complex, and interwoven reality of the real world, where nothing starts or stops inside of discreet boxes; where everything has its tendrils. I have no doubt that what Mateo experienced over the past semester at CityGAP will serve him in countless ways as he navigates through college and life.- Justine S. (CityGAP parent) - May 27, 2021
My son participated in the CityGAP program last semester, and finding it was like a gift. What has made the current moment so difficult for some parents is that just when their kids most desperately needed something fulfilling and enriching to do, the majority of substantive gap programs shut down. Yet here was CityGAP, with a program that was COVID safe, intellectually engaging and socially rich. Having watched them pull this off, I was then tempted to ask, "Why hasn't everyone been doing this?" I suspect it has to do with the fact that Meyers and Gallo each have decades'-worth of robust NYC contacts in the arts, city government and non-profit activism, and years' experience putting them to educational use. The remaining piece, which they crafted superbly, was a protocol enabling groups to meet regularly all over the city without danger of infection. On consideration, perhaps nobody else coud have managed this. ?There is an additional attraction to CityGAP. One of the many dispiriting aspects of COVID is anxiety that the nation may not be able to recover economically, and a sense that there is nothing the average person can do about it. CityGAP features the very people in New York who are doing something: the activists, key city employees, the creators. I could not have guessed that my son would have had the opportunity to be exposed to their practical, optimistic efforts. As a proud New Yorker, I was especially thrilled. But I think that anyone can be excited about their child's witnessing first-hand a great city meeting a great challenge. What CityGAP offered my son was vastly richer than a see-all-the-shows trip to New York; this is an invaluable trip into its indomitable soul.- David V.B. (CityGAP parent) - May 27, 2021
I took a gap year before my first year of undergrad because of Covid. I came across CityGAP and was thrilled because I was hoping to have a semester in a city setting. I don't want to sound like a cliche, but I feel very certain that CityGAP has changed the trajectory of my future in many senses. I felt that the program helped me to become the curious, knowledge-loving, ambitious person I've always known I could be.
The program gave me a really special, analytical yet everyday lens to look through as I go through our ever-changing world. And at the same time, the program isn't constant learning in the way that we often think about it. I feel that it developed my passion for learning through the unique way Andy, Tanya, and Truly teach experiential learning, I began to understand how truly fascinating everything around us is.
During my semester, we studied the NYC food system, 70s arts movements, and I did a personal project learning about Billie Holiday, protest music, and the Harlem renaissance (all of the links to the final projects are on the CityGAP website). This program is so unique because the students get to choose what we study, and once we do, Andy and Tanya provided us endless support, ideas, and resources to pursue these. With CityGAP, we could learn about pretty much anything, and no matter what we chose, Andy and Tanya had endless resources, fascinating contacts, and creative ideas about how to approach these topics. Andy and Tanya taught me about institutions, artists, people, and ideas that I don't feel like I would've had the same ability to find on my own.
Not only is the sheer access to resources incredible, but the way the team teaches us to self-advocate is too. Going into college, I feel like I have a new confidence in my ideas and in asking for help or insight from unfamiliar people. This, to me, has been one of the greatest gifts of the program.
Lastly, Andy and Tanya are unlike any other educators or people I have met before. I consider them my teachers, but also my life-long mentors and my friends. The support, encouragement, knowledge, and humor of these two is something I will always cherish and look forward to having for a long time to come.
CityGAP, to me, feels perfect for those interested in becoming more informed citizens of today's world; an intellectual wonderland. I can't encourage it enough!!!
I decided to take a semester off of school during the spring semester of my junior year at college. This choice was mainly because of the pandemic and its impact on the quality of my schooling experience. When I found the Living City Project, through a family member who recommended it to me, I was beside myself with interest and excitement. It seemed like the perfect program for me to do during my time off that would be both academic and rigorous while also being exploratory and fun!
And I must say, the program exceeded my expectations of what I would gain from a semester away from school.
The Living City Project is an incredible opportunity for young people to expand and grow themselves as students, communicators, collaborators, and individuals. I spent the spring of 2021 in the CityGap program. This program is especially unique because of its placement in New York City and its individualization to each student's interests.CityGAP utilizes the city as its "classroom" in every capacity possible. Although we completed this program during a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to spend almost every day outside in the world, safely, interacting with contacts, peers, and the city.
As students, we decided what specific relevant issues and movements in NYC we wanted to explore. Our group decided to study Food Justice and Sustainability in the NYC food system and Art and Social Change in NYC in the 70s and today. For each of these focuses, Andy and Tanya guided us through finding research, resources, and people to study the roots of these focuses. Additionally, for each focus we completed a group project of our own design that was the summation of our experiences.
For the first project cycle, Food Justice and Sustainability, we wrote and designed a Food Justice cookbook - called "A Bite into the Big (affordable, local, just, and sustainable) apple." For the second project cycle, we created a public art project called the Scroll Project that explored issues of public spaces all over the city during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these projects exceeded my expectations of what is attainable to make during a semester and what is possible to create as students. Thought the creation of these projects, Andy and Tanya guided and pushed us to combine our skills, research, resources in ways I did not imagine possible.
I cannot recommend this program highly enough. But more than that, I cannot recommend Andy and Tanya highly enough. They are truly outstanding educators, mentors, and people. (Not to mention that they are incredibly funny and engaging!)
I had a great time with CityGap. It was a great experience even during COVID. I learned so much about New York City, met great people, and added to my resume. This program is flexible and is good for any type of interest. If you are a curious and motivated person I can not recommend this more highly.
The program itself is run by two amazing people, Andrew and Tanya! They make the program what it is. They are kind, attending, and a pleasure to work with. I highly suggest that if you are interested at all to reach out and have a video call. You will learn much more about the program and see if it fits with you. I am sure it will!