Tag: nyc

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial

554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street

New York, NY 10027

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riversidepark/monuments/1206

I stumbled across the Amiable Child Memorial over the summer when I was walking Riverside Drive for “MywalkinManhattan” project (see walking 155th Street) and came across this small memorial when I was passing Grant’s Tomb. It is off to the side on the path by the woods. It is a small monument and very humbling in its look. It is a small urn on a pedestal marking a grave of a small child surrounded by a fence. I got the following information from the NYC Parks Department website when I wanted to know more about the site:

This unique New York City monument marks the site of one of the few private graves on public land within the five boroughs. It belongs to St. Claire Pollock (the namesake of nearby St. Claire Place), a child who died on July 15, 1797 in the fifth year of his life, probably from a fall from the cliffs of the parkland onto the rocks near the Hudson River.

In the two centuries that have passed since the tragedy of the “Amiable Child” as he was described on his headstone-different accounts of St. Claire origins and family have persisted. George Pollock, the owner of the property on which the boy was buried, was either his father or his uncle. He was a linen merchant of Scots-Irish or possibly English descent, who lived in a mansion on Strawberry Hill (later called Claremont) in the 1790’s. He  had sold his property to Mrs. Cornelia Verplanck, his former neighbor, by January 18, 1800 when he wrote as follows:

“There is a small enclosure near your boundary fence within which lie the remains of a favorite child, covered by a marble monument. You will confer a peculiar and interesting favor upon me by allowing me to convey the enclosure to you so that you will consider its part of your own estate, keeping it however always enclosed and sacred.”

Claremont Hill was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights, fought during the Revolutionary War on September 16, 1776. By 1806, it had been acquired by Michael Hogan, a former British Consul in Havana, who built Claremont Mansion (for which Claremont Avenue was named). Possible sources for the name are Hogan’s birthplace of County Clare, Ireland and his friend Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who would ascend the English throne as King William IV in 1830. Known as the site of a popular roadside inn by 1860, Claremont was acquired by the City from the heirs of Joel Post in 1873 for the development of Riverside Park.

In the 1890’s, Claremont Inn was host to numerous politicians, socialites and entertainers including the Morgan’s, Vanderbilt’s and Whitney’s, Lillian Russell and Admiral George Dewey. By 1907, the Inn had been transformed into a restaurant, serving the likes of Cole Porter and James J. Walker. It was destroyed by fire in 1950. The playground which now stands on the site was built shortly afterwards.

A century after the Tomb of the Amiable Child was laid, New York’s most famous monumental grave-Grant’s Tomb-was completed. The domed structure across Riverside Drive, designed by architect John Duncan and sculptor John Massey Rhind, was dedicated on April 27, 1897. The later structure is as grand a testimony to the accomplishments of national leader as the monument to the amiable child is a modest and touching tribute to a young boy who never had the opportunity to grow into adulthood. This monument was dedicated on May 3, 1967 (www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riverside-park/mounments/1206).

*You really have to look off the beaten path to see this unique little memorial but it is very touching and soulful. Take the time when visiting the neighborhood to visit this very touching site. You will find it by the path behind Grant’s Tomb.

Look for more sculptures  by looking at the Parks website http://www.nycgovparks.org.

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The Hamilton Grange National Memorial 414 West 141st Street New York, NY 10031

The Hamilton Grange National Memorial 414 West 141st Street New York, NY 10031

The Hamilton Grange

414 West 141st Street

New York, NY  10031

(646) 548-2310

http://www.nps.gov/hagr

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday-9:00am-5:00pm/Closed Monday-Tuesday

Fee: Donation

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105813-Reviews-Hamilton_Grange_National_Memorial-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Alexander Hamilton’s Summer Home

In the late 1700’s, well-to-do dwellers moved to Harlem Heights in the summer, seeking its cool breezes. They also wanted to avoid yellow fever, a summer threat in lower Manhattan, Hamilton and his wife, Elizabeth  (of the influential Schuyler family) often visited friends here and decided to build their own retreat.

In 1802, they moved in and Hamilton began commuting to his downtown law office, a 90 minute carriage trip. He and Elizabeth also began to entertain friends, colleagues and leader in their elegant home and gardens. Little did Hamilton know that his time at The Grange would be brief.

Witness to Slavery:

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) grew up on Nevis and St. Croix, islands in the Caribbean, where thousands of enslaved Africans labored in sugar cane fields. As a clerk for a shipping company, young Hamilton worked directly with ship captains bringing in their human cargo. This experience haunted him and lead to his lifelong opposition to slavery.

Saved by a Hurricane:

Hamilton’s mother, Rachel, raised him and his brother along. A shop owner, she died of yellow fever when Hamilton was in his early teens. That’s when he started working at the shipping company. He impressed his boss with his energy, ambition and intelligence. Then the local newspaper published his letter describing a devastating hurricane. Townspeople were so taken by his writing that hey helped pay his way to America to further his education. In the letter, he wrote: …’the ear-piercing shrieks of the distressed were sufficient to strike astonishment into Angels’.

In America:

Hamilton plunged into American life. He enrolled in King’s College (now Colombia University) in New York. He wrote passionately about the revolutionary ideas of American rebels. When the fighting began, young Hamilton joined them. By the time he married at 25, he was a published writer, seasoned military leader and a close friend of George Washington.

Family Man:

Hamilton and Elizabeth loved children. They had eight of their own and took in others. Hamilton’s work as a lawyer helped pay bills while he served the county with little if nay pay.

The Duel:

After years of differences, Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel in 1804. Burr, now the country’s vice-president, felt he had to defend his honor. Friends tried to soothe both men but failed. Facing possible death, Hamilton wrote letters to his friends and family. After he died from Burr’s bullet, Elizabeth read his letter and these final words: ‘Adieu, best of wives and best of women. Embrace all my darling children for me’.

Elizabeth Carries On:

Family friends made sure Elizabeth had enough money to live with her children at The Grange. She preserved Hamilton’s thousands of letters, essays and other writings. She also started an orphanage and was its director into her 80’s. At age 91, she went to live with a daughter in Washington DC. She charmed presidents and other dignitaries until she died in 1854 at age 97.

Alexander Hamilton: Soldier, Founder and Philosopher:

Revolutionary War Days:

By age 21, Alexander Hamilton identified  himself with the revolutionary cause. He organized an artillery unit that defended New York City and fought in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. George Washington noticed Hamilton’s daring and intelligence and appointed him as a personal aide.

Hamilton’s new job required him to be writer, diplomat and advisor to Washington. Even so, Hamilton ached to return to battle. Eventually, Washington appointed him Colonel of an infantry brigade. Hamilton led a major attack in the battle of Yorktown in 1781.

Bold Ideas for New Times:

As a lawyer after the war, Hamilton defended New York citizens who had been loyal to Britain. He argued the new treaties and laws protecting all citizens and that loyalists would help rebuild the city. He also led the New York Manumission Society, which protected and educated free and enslaved African-Americans.

At the 1787 Constitution Convention, Hamilton argued for a strong central government. With James Madison and John Jay, he wrote essays explaining the new Constitution and urging citizens to vote for its ratification. Politicians and judges still consult “The Federalist Papers” about the meaning of the US Constitution.

In the New Government:

As first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton recommended the federal government pay off states debts, tax imported goods, establish a national bank and promote manufacturing. His ideas worried Sectary of State Thomas Jefferson, who believed the federal government did not have powers. Hamilton argued the Constitution supported flexible ‘implied powers.’ Congress and the Supreme Court agreed. By the end of Hamilton’s term, the country had excellent credit and a strong economy.

A Controversial Citizen:

Hamilton resumed his law practice in 1795 after leaving federal service. His clients included free and enslaved African-Americans whom he helped for no pay. He also defended a newspaper editor sued for slander by Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton argued journalists had the same rights as citizens to freedom of speech. His victory strengthened United States citizens’ First Amendment rights.

Hamilton often criticized President Jefferson’s government and his vice-president, Aaron Burr. His harsh words about Burr lead to the duel that ended Hamilton’s life. Alexander Hamilton’s short and controversial life left the United States poised to become a powerful nation something he dreamed of but did not see.

Visiting the site:

Planning your visit:

Hamilton Grange is on West 141st Street between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues, its third location. In 1889, the city began building new streets across the estate. A church bought The Grange and moved it to safety two blocks away. In 2008, the National Park Service moved it to its current location, still on the original estate.

Hamilton Grange is open year-round, 9:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday through Sunday except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Exhibits and a film highlight Hamilton’s major achievements. Guided tours are first-come, first-serve and limited to 15 visitors. Enjoy quiet activities on the grounds.

We strive to make our facilities, services and programs accessible to all. Call or visit our website.

More Information:

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

414 West 141st Street

New York, NY  10031

646-548-2310

http://www.rips.gov/hagr

Hamilton Grange is near bus routes and subway stations; see maps at right. Visit http://www.mta.info for routes and schedules. All applicable federal, state and city laws and regulations apply here.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial is one of over 390 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit http://www.rips.gov.

*This information was taken off the pamphlet available at the site put out by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior: National Memorial New York.

*Bloggers Note: Because of the Musical on Broadway presently, the site has gotten very busy during the summer months but don’t let that deter you from visiting. The house and the tour are very interesting. I mentioned this on my blog “MywalkinManhattan” when visiting this part of Harlem. There are a lot of nice restaurants close by and the SUNY campus is right there to relax in. The neighborhood is save but still you have to watch yourself anytime you walk around NYC.