Monday, February 16, 2009

From Washington To Lincoln, via the streets of New York

It takes lots of creativity -- and a really full Metrocard -- but you can conceivably visit places and important artifacts representing or associated with most of the presidents between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in your personal celebration of Presidents Day. Just check the following places off your list (and if you have any further suggestions, please leave a comment!):

George Washington Bridge/Washington Square/Washington Heights/statue at Federal Hall/equestrian statue at Union Square etc. etc.

John Adams Playground
Queens, 133 Ave, 101 to 103 Sts

Thomas Jefferson Park
Brooklyn, 1 Avenue to FDR Drive, East 111 to 114 streets

(James) Madison Square Park
Manhattan, 23rd Street and Broadway

James Monroe High School
Bronx, 1300 Boynton Ave
he was also buried here for 27 years at the New York City Marble Cemetery in the East Village.

John Quincy Adams photograph (the first photo ever taken of an American president)
Manhattan, Metropolitan Museum of Art

(Andrew) Jackson Square Park
Manhattan, Greenwich Ave and Eighth Avenue
(also: Old Hickory Park -- taking Jackson's famous nickname) -- in Queens, at Vernon and Jackson)

Martin Van Buren Playground
Bronx, Crotana Park

William Henry Harrison -- sorry he was only president for one month, but his father Benjamin Harrison gives Harrison Avenue in Brooklyn its name

John Tyler School
Staten Island, 58 Lawrence Ave

James Polk's brigadier-general William Jenkins Worth is buried underneath the Worth Memorial, at the traffic island in front of the Flatiron Building.

Zachary Taylor's ancestor Issac Allerton has the Allerton Ballfields named after him in the Bronx. (There's also a Zachary Taylor Street upstate in Stony Point, NY!)

The Millard Fillmore Tavern in Flushing Queens (16602 65th Ave)

Franklin Pierce's Secretary of State William Learned Marcy has an avenue and Brooklyn park named after him

James Buchanan
Okay, I got nothing here. (Even the New York parks department throws up their hands.) However, you will delight in reading this New York Times editorial from 1863 reacting to the mis-reported death of Buchanan's vice president John Breckinridge: "If it be true, as is now positively declared, that a loyal bullet has sent this traitor to eternity, every loyal heart will feel satisfaction and will not scruple to express it."

Lincoln Center/Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza/Abe's statue in Union Square/etc. etc.

2 comments:

  1. A minor correction on the Harrison Ave mention: William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United Sates, while his grandson Benjamin was the twenty-third. Benjamin could not have been his grandfather's father!

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  2. You're right ... and you're wrong! Benjamin Harrison was the name of both William Henry's father AND his grandson. Old Benjamin was a Virginian and member of the first Continental Congress while his great-grandson Ben Harrison became the president in 1888. Yet another political dynasty!

    Harrison Avenue in Brooklyn was opened in 1856, meaning it was -- like so many streets in that neighborhood -- named for the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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