Tag: NYC Parks

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park

East 86th Street and East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 459-4455

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M081/

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/carl-schurz-park/history

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

Admission: Free

I have been visiting Carl Schurz Park many times while walking the neighborhood for my project, “MywalkinManhattan.com”. You can see the entries from Days One Hundred and Ten, Six, Four and Two. I also visited again when touring Gracie Mansion for this blog, “VisitingaMuseum” (see write up under Gracie Mansion).

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7156

The park is such a nice place to relax in the warmer months. Being so close to the river in the winter months when the wind kicks in from the river can be brutal. In the Spring and Summer, it is one of the nicest parks to just sit and relax in. During the day, it is fun to watch the kids play in the large playground in the middle of the park. On the weekends the place is packed with kids, parents, and nannies all vying for space.

The gardens are beautiful and are very nicely maintained between the City and the Carl Schurz Park Association, who I have seen members weeding, landscaping and planting in the park during the times of my visits. It is relaxing to just sit by the river and watch the river go by and the boats sail by in the warmer months.

The flowers return during each part of the season almost on cue and the park is awash with colors of daffodils, tulips, irises and tiger lilies. There are many flowering plants in the summer that add to the rainbow of colors that accent all the trees. It is a nice place to sit and read a book while watching people walk their dogs.

At twilight, it is fun to watch the lights go on in Queens across the river and the whole city come to life again in the evening. In the warm summer months, the kids are playing in the park, residents have their dogs running around the Dog Run and you can hear the activity at Gracie Mansion. Trust me, security is tight in that section of the park.

This is a nice residential park to relax in when you visiting the Upper East Side.

The History of Carl Schurz Park:

Carl Schurz Park, named by the Board of Alderman in 1910 for the soldier, statesman and journalist Carl Schurz (1829-1906), overlooks the turbulent waters of Hell Gate. The first known Dutch owner of the land was Sybout Claessen, who was granted the property in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company. Jacob Walton, a subsequent owner, built the first house on the site in 1770. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army built a fort surrounding the Walton residence to guard the strategic shipping passage of Hell Gate. After the British attack on September 8th, 1776, the house was destroyed and the Americans were forced to retreat from the fort, which the British retained until the end of the war in 1783.

The land was purchased from Walton’s heirs in 1798 by Archibald Gracie, a Scottish shipping magnate. He built a mansion there in 1799, where his illustrious guests included future United States President, John Quincy Adams and future French King Louis Phillippe. The estate, sold by Gracie in 1819 was acquired by the City from the Wheaton family in 1891. The first home of the Museum of the City of New York from 1924-32, the mansion served as the official residence of New York’s mayor’s since Fiorello LaGuardia moved there in 1942.

gracie mansion ii

Gracie Mansion during the Wheaton Years

The southern portion of the park was set aside by the City as East River Park in 1876. The former Gracie estate was added in 1891 and a new landscape design by Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons was completed in 1902. Maud Sargent re-landscaped the park in 1939 when the East River Drive underpass was under construction. Charles Haffen’s sculpture of Peter Pan, created in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the old Paramount Theater was installed in the park in 1975.

carl schurz park ii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer

The park name honors Schurz, a native of Cologne, Germany. It was strongly supported by the large German community of adjacent Yorkville. After emigrating to the United States in 1852, Schurz quickly made his reputation as a skilled orator and proved to be instrumental to Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election campaign. His most significant political offices were that of United States Senator from Missouri (1869-1875) and Secretary of the Interior (1877-81) during the Hayes administration. In later years, Schurz was editor of the New York Tribune and an editorial writer for Harper’s Weekly. Schurz is also honored by Karl Bitter’s statue of 1913, located in Morningside Drive and 116th Street.

Recent improvements include rebuilding of the stairs, the complete restoration of the playground and the opening of Carl’s Dog Run. These and other projects, including the planting of flowers, have been accomplished through a partnership between the Parks and the Carl Schurz Park Association, which has demonstrated the community’s commitment to restoring, maintaining and preserving this park since it formed in 1974.

(NYC Parks Official Website)

My write up on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2182

carl schurz park iii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer months.

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Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street   Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street

Bronx, NY  10471

(718) 543-3344

infor@vchm.org

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Admission: $5.00 for Adults/$3.00 for Seniors & Students/Children under 12 are free/General Admission is free on Wednesdays. Guided and group tours are available.

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d103501-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_House-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the their Annual Christmas Decorated House event. The mansion was decorated for Christmas in the 1700’s so it was not overdone as it would during the Victorian times. The front of the house entrance was done with sprays of holly, mistletoe above the door and garlands of pine around the banister and fireplaces. The windows had candles in them and the dining room was set for Christmas luncheon in post-Revolutionary War era.

While most of the house is represented during the Dutch era with floors with no rugs, vintage furniture and decorations and the second and third floors are set for family entertainment. The first floor is set for entertaining for the holidays with the formal dining room, family palour and the formal living room for games and dancing. The formal dining room was the only room decorated post-Revolutionary War era.

van cortlandt mansion xmas ii

Van Cortlandt Mansion at Christmas 1800’s

Until the Victorian era, Christmas was a more religious affair with church service in the morning and luncheon in the afternoon. Things were formal and less elaborate. The acts of gift giving, sleigh rides, tree decorating and card giving came during the affluence of Queen Victoria’s reign in the post Civil-War era. This is the reason why the house is decorated so simply and elegantly.

History of the Van Cortlandts:

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, also known as Fredrick Van Cortlandt House or Van Cortlandt House, is the oldest surviving building in New York City’s borough of The Bronx. The Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was build of fieldstone by Fredrick Van Cortlandt (1699-1749) on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Fredrick intended the house to be a home for him and his wife, Francis Jay and daughters, Anna Maria, 14 and Eve, 13. His sons, Augustus, 21 and Fredrick, 19, were not intended to be permanent residents of the house. Sadly, Fredrick died before the new house was completed. In his will written in 1759, Fredrick left the house to his son, James Van Cortlandt (1726-1781) and a life time tenancy to his widow, Francis Jay Van Cortlandt (1701-1780).

The Van Cortlandt’s were a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs. Fredrick’s father, Jacobus, established a thriving wheat growing and processing business on the plantation including a grist mill for processing the wheat into flour and a fleet of shallow draft boats to carry the flour from the south end his lake down Tibbet’s Brook and out to the Harlem and Hudson Rivers to market. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington.

(From History of Van Cortlandt House and Museum)

In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project, there was no provision in the New York State Law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society’s cause to Albany where on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a 3/5 majority to become law.

After nearly a year if repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement grained custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The house was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

(From the Van Cortlandt House Museum NSCDNY)

van cortland mansion xmas

Van Cortlandt House Museum at Christmas

Bowling Green Park Broadway & Whitehall Street  New York, NY 10004

Bowling Green Park Broadway & Whitehall Street New York, NY 10004

Bowling Green Park

Broadway & Whitehall Street

New York, NY  10004

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136413-Reviews-Bowling_Green-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I visited this wonderful park for my walking project, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com-Day 113-Walking the Historical Bars & Pubs of New York City’.

This is one of the most fascinating parks in New York City and probably one the most historical in the shaping of the United States. Located on the grounds of the original Dutch settlement, this tiny park placed an important role in the confrontation of the Loyalist versus the Patriots when deciding who to support during the Revolutionary War. The toppling of the King George Statue was the beginning of a new Republic. Along the historic fence which has been standing in the park since the late 1700’s are the markings where the tiny crowns were sawed off by the Patriots in defiance to the Crown.

Now it is a resting spot for tired tourists off the boats from Ellis and Liberty Islands and for Wall Street workers who need a nice place to eat their lunch. It is still a relaxing little park with tree lined paths and a beautifully landscaped fountain area. In the later summer, the flowers are still in bloom and the colorful highlights of the trees accent all sides of the park and keep it private. Even in this secrete setting it is mind boggling of the fact that people put their lives on the line to establish this country right from this tiny park.

Take time to walk through the cool paths of trees to the edges of the park, which are lines with historic buildings with decorative stone work and look at the beautiful statuary work on the old U.S. Custom House that now serves as the Museum of the American Indian. Take a quick tour of Stone Street just a few blocks away and see the development of the New York City after the Great Fire of 1823, which destroyed most of lower Manhattan.

Just at the tip of the norther part of the park is the famous statue of ‘Charging Bull’ a gift to the City by artist Arturo Di Modica to show the ‘strength of the American people’ and the now becoming famous statue of “Fearless Girl” by artist Kristen Visbal which was erected for International Women’s Day. Both statues have created quite the debate since they were both placed here in 1989 and 2017 and their fate is up to the City.

Take time to really see what all these symbols mean to the Bowling Green.

History of the Park:

The Bowling Green is New York City’s oldest park. According to tradition, this spot served as the council ground for Native American tribes and was the site of the legendary sale of Manhattan to Peter Minuit in 1626. The  Dutch called the area “the Plain” and used it for several purposes including a parade ground, meeting place and cattle market. It marked the beginning of Heere Staat (High Street, now Broadway), a trade route which extended north through Manhattan and the Bronx. In 1686, the site was designated as public property, when the City Charter put all ‘waste, vacant, unpatented and unappropriated lands’ under municipal domain (NYC Parks.org).

Bowling Green was first designated as a park in 1733, when it was offered for rent at the cost of one peppercorn per year. Lessees John Chambers, Peter Bayard and Peter Jay were responsible for improving the site with grass, trees and a wood fence “for the Beauty & Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & delight of the Inhabitants of this City.” A gilded lead statue of King George III was erected here in 1770 and the iron fence (now a New York City landmark) was installed in 1771. On July 9, 1776, after the first public reading in New York State of the Declaration of Independence, this monument was toppled by angry citizens who dragged it up Broadway, sent it Connecticut, melted it down and recast it as ammunition. Portions of the statue are held by the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Historical Society (which also possesses musket balls made from the statue’s head) (NYC Parks.org).

By the late 18th Century, Bowling Green was the center of New York’s most fashionable residential district, surrounded by rows of Federal-style townhouses. In 1819, the Common Council that neighbors could plant and tend the area in return for the exclusive use of the park by their families. By mid-century, shipping offices inhabited the old townhouses and the park was returned to more public use. Monuments installed in the park in the 19th century include two fountains (now gone) and a statue of New York’s early Mayor and later colonial Supreme Court Judge Abraham DePeyster (1896, by artist George Bissell). DePeyster was moved to nearby Hanover Square in 1976 and finally to Thomas Paine Park in 2014 (NYC Parks.org).

In the first decade of the 20th Century, Bowling Green was disrupted by the construction of the IRT subway. The park was rebuilt as  part of citywide improvements made in preparation for visitors to the 1939 World’s Fair. Renovations to Bowling Green included removing the fountain basin, relocating the interior walkways, installing new benches and providing new plantings. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, members of the Board of Estimate and local businessmen participated in the rededication ceremony held on April 6, 1939. Despite unseasonable late snow, the ceremony included a demonstration of colonial era lawn bowling (NYC Parks.org).

A 1976-77 capital investment restored Bowling Green to its 18th century appearance. Improvements included the redistribution of subway entrances, the installation of new lampposts and benches and landscaping. Publisher and philanthropist George Delacourte (best known for the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park) donated the park’s central fountain (NYC Parks.org).

Since December of 1989, the statue of Charging Bull (1987-89) has been on display at the north end of the park. Its sculptor, Arturo DiModica, says the three ton and a half bronze statue represents “the strength, power and hope of the American people for the future.” It has been linked to the property enjoyed by Wall Street in the past decade. In 2004, the reconstruction of the park included new perimeter bluestones sidewalks and interior paths, landscaping, plantings and the re-sodding of the lawn. Antique-style gas lamps and hoof benches were also placed in the park with the addition of a new irrigation system for the parks fountain (New York Parks.org).

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the New York City Parks.org site and I given them full credit for it. This is one of the special parks of the City so take some time to visit it while on your way to one of the other tourist sites or to Liberty Island or Ellis Island.

 

 

 

Lighthouse Park Roosevelt Island, 900 Main Street New York, NY 10044

Lighthouse Park Roosevelt Island, 900 Main Street New York, NY 10044

Lighthouse Park

Roosevelt Island

900 Main Street

New York, NY  10044

(212) 832-4540

Open 7:00am-9:00pm

The Roosevelt Island Lighthouse is a stone lighthouse built by New York City in 1872. It is at the northeast tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River in Lighthouse Park. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places on March 16th, 1972 and was designated a New York City Landmark on March 23rd, 1976. (Wiki)

Blackwell Island, which was called Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973 and is now known as Roosevelt Island was purchased by New York City in 1828. Various facilities on the island were built including a penitentiary, almshouse, city hospital, the New York Lunatic Asylum and the Smallpox Hospital (some of these buildings still exist).

In 1872, the City of New York built a lighthouse. The supervising architect was James Renwick Jr., who also designed several other buildings on the island for the Charities and Correction Board as well as more famous works such has St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Wiki)

Legends abound about the construction of the lighthouse. Two names, John McCarthy and Thomas Maxey, are associated with the various legends. The 1870 report of the warden of the lunatic asylum that an industrious patient had build a seawall near the asylum that had reclaimed the land. The legends indicate that he had incorporated Civil War cannons. The legend indicates that the builder was bribed with bogus money to demolish the fort for the construction of the lighthouse. For many years, a saying was inscribed on a stone near the lighthouse:

This is the work

Was done by

John McCarthy

Who built the Light

House from the bottom to the

Top All ye who do pass by may

Pray for his soul when he dies.

The lighthouse was operated by the City instead of the U.S. Lighthouse Board. In its 1893 annual report, the Lighthouse Board generally praised the operations of Blackwell Island Lighthouse but indicated that the Board has unfairly criticized because of the City’s occasional failure to keep the light in operation. The Board advocated banning private lights. The 1917 U.S. Coast Pilot indicated that there was a private light at the north end of the island. (Wiki)

The light was operated until about 1940. In the 1970’s, the lighthouse was partially restored. The restoration was completed in 1998. (Wiki)

The lighthouse is approximately 50 feet (15m) tall. It is constructed of gray gneiss, rough ashlar that was quarried on the island by inmates from the penitentiary. It has an octagonal base and an octagonal shaft. There is an entrance on the south side under a projecting gable and a pointed Gothic arch. Two south-facing slit windows in the shaft light the interior. At the top of the shaft there is a band of ornamented corbels below the gallery, which is surrounded by an iron railing. The lantern is octagonal with a shallow conical roof. An 1893 photograph and a 1903 movie show that it probably had a much taller, steeper conical cap when it was built. The optics were provided by the U.S. Lighthouse Board. (Wiki)

Lighthouse Park is located on the northernmost section of Roosevelt Island and can be seen from Carl Schurz Park. On a beautiful sunny day, it is a very picturesque view from the park.

Disclaimer: this information was taken from Wikipedia site and the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. This little ‘gem’ of a park can be seen by walking to the most northern part of Roosevelt Island by way of the Main Street which runs through the island.

Cleopatra’s Needle Central Park @ East 81st Street New York, NY 10028

Cleopatra’s Needle Central Park @ East 81st Street New York, NY 10028

Cleopatra’s Needle

Central Park at East 81st Street (behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

New York, NY  10028

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d1959031-Reviews-Cleopatra_s_Needle-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Cleopatra’s Needle (obelisk) was erected in Central Park, just west of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 22, 1881. It was secured in May 1877 by Judge Elbert E. Farnam, the then United State Consul General of Cairo as a gift from the Khedive for the United States remaining friendly neutral as the European powers, France and Britain, maneuvered to secure political control of the Egyptian government.

The obelisk is a twin of the obelisk given to London at the same time and come from the ancient city of Alexandria. The name is a misnomer as they have no relationship with the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and were already over a thousand years old in her lifetime.

The obelisk is free to the public and can be seen by taking the path behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is open all day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park Roosevelt Island, NYC

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park Roosevelt Island, NYC

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Roosevelt Island, NYC, NY

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d3595273-Reviews-Franklin_D_Roosevelt_Four_Freedoms_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is the first memorial dedicated to the president in his home state of New York. Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City, it is the last work of Louis I. Kahn, an iconic architect of the 20th Century. The memorial, which opened to the public in October 2012, celebrates the four freedoms, as pronounced in President Roosevelt’s famous January 6, 1941 State of the Union address: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom of want and freedom from fear.

Our Mission:

As steward of this civic space, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy advances President Roosevelt’s legacy and inspires; educates and engages the public in the ideals of the four freedoms. The Conservancy does this by:

*Safeguarding the memorial as a space for inspired use.

*Fostering community and understanding.

*Igniting conversation about human rights and freedoms today.

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his eighth State of the Union address, now known as the Four Freedoms speech. In his address, Roosevelt presented his vision for the world, “a world attainable in our own time and generation,” and founded upon four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Roosevelt’s call for human rights has created a lasting legacy worldwide, forming the basis for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

For a richer of FDR, his legacy and the four freedoms, visit fdr4freedoms.org

Franklins D. Roosevelt Island: A History

Originally called Minnahannock by Native Americans and Varkins Island  by the Dutch settlers, the island was acquired by the Blackwell family in the 1600’s, who renamed the land Blackwell Island. The Blackwells lived on and farmed it before selling it to the City of New York in 1828 for $30,000.

In the 19th Century, the island was used by the City for institutional facilities, including the Workhouse, Penitentiary, Lunatic Asylum, City Hospital and City Home and given the name Welfare Island in 1921. These institutions served the City until the 1930’s., before gradually being relocated to areas more easily accessible to public transportation.

In 1969, this two-mile island was lease to the State of New York for 99 years. Under New York State’s Urban Development Corporation, Welfare Island  became a beacon for the affordable housing movement within the City. Construction of the Island community was completed in 1975 with four housing developments. In 1973, the island was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt Island.

Today, Roosevelt Island has a small town fell with approximately 20 buildings and 14,00 residents. The island is home to six landmarked structures and proudly houses Four Freedoms Park, one of the original visions for the Island. To learn more, visit the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center at the Tram Plaza.

(Judith Berdy, President, The Roosevelt Island Visitor Center)

A Memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nearly 40 years before the Park opened its gates to the public, Louis I. Kahn presented his vision for what would become Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. It was a simple idea. “I had this thought,” Kahn said. “that a memorial should be a room and a garden.”

This was 1973. Less than a year later, Khan had died; Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who had announced the project with Mayor John  Lindsay, became Vice President of the country and the City of New York neared bankruptcy.

The future of the memorial seemed a fragile and tenuous dream. Yet, through the power and determination of a small but dedicated group, nearly four decades after Kahn completed his architectural design, Four Freedoms Park became the place he envisioned. In 2012, following 30 months of construction, the Park opened to the public. The Park is operated and maintained by Four Freedoms Park Conservancy in partnership with New York State Parks.

Park Hours:

Open Daily, closed Tuesday

Free to the Public

April-September, 9:00am-7:00pm

October-March, 9:00am-5:00pm

Visit fdrfourfreedomspark.org to learn more about the Park and upcoming events and programs.

Facebook.com/fdrfreedompark

Twitter/Instagram: @4freedompark

Part of the New York State of Opportunity: Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Disclaimer: this information was taken from the NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation pamphlet. Please call the park or email to check on opening times when in season.

 

General Grant National Memorial 122nd Street and Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027

General Grant National Memorial 122nd Street and Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027

The General Grant National Memorial

122nd Street and Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10027

(212) 666-1640

http://www.nps.gov/gegr

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 9:00am-5:00pm/Closed Monday-Tuesday/Check for tour times on site.

Fee: Donation

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105812-Reviews-General_Grant_National_Memorial-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

A Grateful Nation:

The Grant Memorial was designed by architect John Duncan. Rising to an imposing 150 feet from the bluff overlooking the Hudson River, it took 12 years to build and remains the largest mausoleum in North America. Its  great size was meant to express the profound admiration Americans felt for the Civil War commander and was propelled to the forefront of America’s pantheon of heroes and declared the equal of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Spearheaded by the Grant Monument Association, some 90,000 people from around the United States and the world donated over $600,000 to construct the memorial, the largest public fundraising effort up to that time. Initial fundraising was led by Richard T. Greener, first black graduate of Harvard and a Grant supporter who credited the general with his advancement. Many African Americans contributed to the building fund.

The memorial is open from 9:00am-5:00pm daily. For information or to arrange for group visits call (212) 666-1640.

Among the most Revered of Men:

This large classically proportioned mausoleum honors the Civil War general who saved the nation from dissolution and the president who worked to usher in a new era of peace and equality for all Americans. Ulysses S. Grant, a plain-spoken unassuming man who studiously avoided pomp and ceremony had volunteered his services for the Union effort when the Civil War erupted in 1861. In doing what he considered simply his duty, he emerged after four years of fighting as one of the great military leaders in history. Aggressiveness, speed, tenacity and the ability to adjust his plans in the face of unexpected impediments all helped to bring him victory.

As great as he was in war, Grant showed magnanimity and compassion in peace. He granted humane and generous terms when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to him on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House. As president he pardoned many former Confederate leaders at the same time insisting on protecting the full political equality of former slaves. He was also concerned that American Indian tribes be treated with dignity  and respect. His fundamental desire for peace was reflected in his efforts to solve international disputes by arbitration rather than by threat of war. At the time of his death in 1885. Grant was universally respected by northerners and southerners alike.

Because of Grant’s status as a national hero, most Americans assumed he would be buried in Washington DC but his family preferred New York City. Grant himself had no strong preference; his only desire was for his wife, Julia to be buried next to him. The funeral on August 8, 1885 was one of the most spectacular events New York had ever seen. Buildings all over the city were draped in black. An estimated one million people crowded sidewalks, filled windows, stood on rooftops and climbed trees and telephone poles for a view of the procession, which stretched seven miles and took  five hours to pass.

Grant’s remains were placed in a temporary vault until an appropriate memorial could be funded and built. On April 27, 1897, the 75th anniversary of Grant’s birth, thousands of people, including diplomats from 26 countries, attended the dedication ceremony for the completed memorial. The dedication parade, led by President William McKinley, was almost as large as Grant’s funeral parade. Julia Grant reviewed the ceremony sitting next to President McKinley. She was laid by her husband’s side after her death in 1902.

The tomb is located in Riverside Park near Columbia University and across the street from Sakura Park, where Japanese Cherry trees are in bloom every Spring. Near the tomb is the memorial to the ‘Amicable Child’ and that should not be missed as well.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the National Park Service pamphlet. This is a very interesting National Memorial and should not be missed. It is opened at certain times of the week, so please look for the posted hours. (The memorial is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. For more information or to arrange for groups visits, please call (212) 666-1640).