Spend Presidents Weekend/Week in NYC and Receive a Presidential History Lesson
All eyes are on Trump Tower as the “White House North” these days, but New York City has served as the site of a substantial amount of presidential history. This President’s Day Weekend (February 18-20) might be the perfect opportunity to brush up on the City’s presidential history and feel a little bit extra patriotic by visiting some of the below historical sites.
NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, has curated the list below of historic presidential locations in New York City to visit. Make sure to also check out NYCGo.com for more historical places around the five boroughs!
- Theodore Roosevelt was born in raised in on East 20th Street in Manhattan, and his childhood home is open to the public. He grew into a great outdoorsman, boxer and of course, the 26thPresident who is now immortalized on Mount Rushmore, too.
- If you have only a few hours, but you want to see them all: Madame Tussauds in Times Square features lifelike sculptures from George Washington to Donald Trump. It’s not every day that you can take a picture with both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama!
- Roosevelt Island was named for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and it now features the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, named after the four freedoms he outlined in one of his most famous speeches, in 1944. The park is the first memorial to FDR in New York State.
- And if this leaves you wanting to learn more about FDR, head to Roosevelt House at Hunter College, where FDR and his wife Eleanor lived for more than 25 years, and where his transition team assembled after he won the Presidential election. Roosevelt House features a number of timely exhibits about FDR’s life and work, as well as today’s politics and campaigns.
- Federal Hall National Memorial in lower Manhattan is where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President, and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. Federal Hall is now a free museum!
- General Grant National Memorial (Grant’s Tomb) in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia. It’s also the largest mausoleum in North America – and Riverside Park provides a beautiful backdrop for your Instagrams.
- The Conference House Museum on Staten Island was the site of the peace conference of 1776 where John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Benjamin Franklin met with the King’s representative, Lord Richard Howe, to discuss America’s independence.
- Before Wave Hill was a horticultural haven for the public in the Bronx, it was a private 28-acre estate with greenhouses, gardens and a gray stone mansion that was rented by prominent figures, including the family of Theodore Roosevelt, who lived there during the summers of 1870 and 1871.
- And if you are more of a self-guided type, there’s always the six-story walk-up at 339 East 94th Street where Barack Obama lived when he studied at Columbia University, or the site of Bill Clinton’s former office on 125th Street in Harlem.
- And for our favorite Founding Father and not-quite President…. Alexander Hamilton…
Besides going to see the Tony-awarding winning Hamilton on Broadway, head uptown to the Hamilton Grange National Museum which is open year-round and is located in Manhattan’s Hamilton Heights Historic District. Admission to the site is free. They are usually open Wednesday through Sunday but will also be open this President’s Day.
- In Lower Manhattan, Wall Street Walks offers a Hamilton themed tour, with stops where his contemporaries, George Washington, Aaron Burr and another President, Thomas Jefferson, lived, as well as narrow streets that have changed very little in 200 years and some of the old haunts, like Fraunces Tavern, where Hamilton frequently went for dinner or drinks.
- If you are looking to see and do all of it, you might need a place to stay, and the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York hotel, where almost every President has stayed since it first opened, might be just the perfect location. And while there, don’t forget the secret presidential train station inside (to help hide FDR’s condition from the public). But make those reservations soon, as The Waldorf is closing its doors for renovations this spring!