Welcome back to Part II of NYC’s Presidential Haunts. Last week we looked at locations frequented by US Presidents from Washington to Lincoln, this week we’ll look at presidents Grant to Obama.
Grant’s temporary tomb. Source: Grant Monument Association
After his presidency, Grant and his wife lived part of their time in New York City and he listed the city as one of the places in which he wanted to be buried, eventually next to his wife. After a 60,000 person, 5 hour, 7 mile funeral procession, Grant was laid to rest in a vault in Riverside Park. (A plaque currently marks this former entombment site)
On April 27, 1892, what would have been Grant’s seventieth birthday, President Benjamin Harrison laid the cornerstone for the permanent tomb. The tomb, the exterior of which was modeled after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the interior of which was modeled after Les Invalides, was dedicated five years later to the day. Grant’s Tomb, which was unfinished according to its original plan, is currently run by the National Park Service.
In the early hours of September 20, 1881, John R. Brady, a New York Supreme Court justice, swore Arthur in as the twenty-first president of the United States, making him the second president to be sworn in in New York City. (Arthur was sworn in again two days later in Washington D.C.) The inauguration occurred in Arthur’s house, located at 123 Lexington Avenue. Unlike almost all other similar sites, it is still a private residence and has not been taken over by any historical agency or association. Today, visitors can see a plaque on the building where Arthur was sworn in and later died, on November 18, 1886.
Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, in his family’s 28 East 20th Street brownstone. He lived there until the age of fourteen, when his family moved to 6 West 57th Street. In 1916, the house was demolished to make way for a retail building. Within weeks of his death, in 1919, the Women’s Roosevelt Memorial Association, purchased the lot on which the home had been located, and the adjoining one, to recreate his childhood home. The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Sitere is open to the public and is operated by the National Park Service.
Hoover’s living room from the Waldorf Astoria has been recreated at the Herbert Hoover Library-Museum. Source: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
In 1944, after his wife’s sudden death, Hoover made Suite 31A at the Waldorf Astoria, his sole residence. He and his wife had previously split their time between Palo Alto and the hotel. In 1964, Hoover died in the Waldorf Astoria. A recreation of his suite can be viewed at his presidential library.
The Waldforf Astoria also possesses the presidential Track 61. Beneath the building is an abandoned subway track and car which was utilized by the likes of General Pershing and Franklin Roosevelt to enter the whole through a private entrance.
When Roosevelt got married, he and Eleanor moved into a brownstone at 125 East 36th Street. Roosevelt had previously been living at 200 Madison Avenue, with his widowed mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt. He couldn’t escape his mother and in 1907, two years after they got married, the three of them moved into a townhouse at 47-49 East 65th Street. The building currently houses the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.
From May 1948 until January 1953, Eisenhower served as the thirteenth President of Columbia University. Due to his military service, Eisenhower was often away from the University, mostly notably when in December 1950 he became the first supreme commander of NATO. While at Columbia, Eisenhower lived in the 1912, McKim, Mead & White designed President’s House.
John F. Kennedy
On May 19, 1962, Kennedy celebrated his forty-fifth birthday at (the third) Madison Square Garden. Marilyn Monroe famously performed a sultry rendition of Happy Birthday, Mr. President wearing a now famous dress into which she had to be sewn.
142 East 65th Street (From Sales Brochure)
In 1963, Nixon purchased the fifth floor apartment at 810 Fifth Avenue. Nelson Rockefeller and his wife also lived in the building. During their presidential campaign, the two took different elevators in the building in an attempt to avoid one another. After his presidency, Nixon returned to the city. Even a former president had a hard time finding a new abode. Eventually, Nixon and his wife setteled on a 5,000-square-foot, 12-room town house at 142 East 65th Street. The Nixons lived there for fewer than three years before moving out to Saddle River, New Jersey. On April 22, 1994, Nixon died in New York City at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
From July 12 to July 15, the 1976 Democratic National Convention met at Madison Square Garden and nominated the former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, and Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale as his Vice President elect.
Madison Square Garden was also the site of the 1992 Democratic National Convention Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee Senator Al Gore were nominated. The keynote speaker was former Texas Representative Barbara Jordan, who had given the keynote at the party’s prior (1976) New York City convention as well.
In 2001, Clinton began his post-presidential life in New York City. The William J. Clinton Foundation, along with the former president himself, moved into offices at 55 W. 125th Street. In 2011, the Foundation moved down to Water Street. However, Clinton retained his top floor office in Harlem.
George W. Bush
From July 31 to August 3, the 2000 Republican National Convention met at Madison Sqaure Garden and nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush and former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who went on to win the election.
In August 1981, Obama arrived in New York City, fresh from his time at Occidental College. According to his book, Obama spent his first night in the city in an alley near 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and bathed in a hydrant alongside a homeless man, the following morning. While at Columbia, Obama lived in apartment 3E, at 142 West 109th Street, with a monthly rent of $360.