US Presidential Ties to NYC
By Christian Balmaseda
New York City has strong ties to many US Presidents. Their footprints are scattered throughout the City, yet many New Yorkers pass by those historical spots every day without even realizing it. Here is a 212Access list of some of these locations where former US Presidents changed the course of history.
Many New Yorkers don’t know that New York was the first capital of the United States of America, after the Constitution was ratified. In fact, the Federal Hall National Memorial down on Wall Street is built on the grounds of the nation’s first capitol building.
Today the Memorial serves to commemorate the historic events that took place in the Federal Hall including the inauguration of President George Washington. The gallery is open 9-5 on weekdays and admission to the gallery is free. http://www.nps.gov/feha/index.htm
General Grant National Memorial
General Grant will always be remembered for his role as a general in the Civil War. New Yorkers can visit the largest mausoleum in North America and pay their respects to this American hero by heading to Morningside Heights. Inside this massive tomb visitors can expect to find impressive architecture with arches, sculptures, and a dome that rival the nation’s most intricate capitol buildings. The sarcophagi of former President Grant, his wife, Julia and their son, Anthony are also on display in the crypt. http://www.nps.gov/gegr/index.htm
It’s hard to believe that Manhattan was once the site of some of New York’s most elegant mansions. History buffs can find Manhattan’s oldest remaining house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, among the old tenement buildings and bodegas of Washington Heights. During the American Revolution, this colonial mansion served as the headquarters for General George Washington and his troops in the fall of 1776. Washington later returned to the mansion for a dinner party as President of the United States in 1790. Admission to the mansion is $5 on weekdays. For a guided tour, reserve a spot on their Saturday tours for only $6. http://www.morrisjumel.org/visit/tours/
This 18th century tavern is located just two blocks away from the South Street Seaport. Fraunces is famed for being one of the most popular pubs of its day. Most notably, Fraunces is the site of George Washington’s farewell speech to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War. Today the tavern still serves to visitors in addition to housing a museum to preserve it 200-year-old history. Visitors can pop into the tavern for a pint and a bite to eat or take a walk through the museum for $7, seven days a week. http://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org/
The Waldorf Astoria
The Waldorf is not only known for its insanely expensive rates but also for playing host to some of the most powerful political figures in US history. The hotel boasts that since 1931 no sitting US Commander-in Chief has stayed in any other hotel other than the Waldorf when paying a visit to the Big Apple. For a whooping $10,000 a night, guests can elect to stay in the Presidential suite of the Waldorf and bask in its rich history. Among the fancy chandeliers and elegant carpets, you can find a wicker-backed rocking chair left by President John F. Kennedy, a wooden desk donated by President Dwight Eisenhower and biographies of almost every President, housed in a massive bookshelf in the living room.
Union Square Park
This park’s fame goes far beyond its farmer’s markets and art showcases. The funeral processions of two American presidents- Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln- have passed through this park. Among the paths, lined with fruit stands and street vendors, visitors can find an impressive statue of former President George Washington.