Painting of George Washington: Rembrandt Peale, George Washington (1732–1799), 1853, Oil on canvas; New-York Historical Society, Bequest of Caroline Phelps Stokes
New York City is rich with presidential history, from hosting the inauguration of the country’s first president to being home to Grant’s Tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America. Presidents’ Day celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln each year on the third Monday in February. Those who get the day off from work or school can spend the holiday learning about the city’s presidential history, from Federal Hall to the Flatiron District. Or, for a more low key (but still patriotic) three-day weekend, eat cake, go bowling, or catch a Commander in Chief-themed comedy show.
Full list, ahead
Photo of Federal Hall and the George Washington statue, via John Schiller/Flickr cc
Right now, Federal Hall at Wall and Broad Streets is closed due to the Government Shutdown. But long before the current crisis, Federal Hall was the site of several Federal firsts. New York was the nation’s first capital, a distinction the city held until 1790, and the original Federal Hall, at the site of today’s monument, was the first Capital Building. Federal Hall hosted the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch Offices. The building witnessed the drafting of the Bill of Rights and the passage of the Northwest Ordinance. George Washington took his Oath of Office from the balcony of Federal Hall on April 30, 1789, and on January 8, 1790, he delivered the nation’s very first State of the Union Address from the building’s Senate Chamber.
What were the hot-button issues of 1790?
This circa 1731 home located 10 minutes from downtown Princeton, New Jersey, in Rocky Hill’s Historic District, was once a 100-acre working farm. JerseyDigs tells us the home, known as the Murphy Voorhees House in honor of its previous owner, Abraham O. Voorhees, is recognized as a local and national treasure. The property’s biggest claim to fame, however, is that it hosted George Washington in 1783 while he waited to hear news about the Treaty of Paris. In addition to having a place in history, the four-bedroom home has received a thorough renovation with an eye to both restoration and modernization.
Tour the home and grounds
As Washington, D.C. attempts to rein in the crowds on this Inauguration Day, New Yorkers can be thankful someone else is dealing with the traffic snarls for a change. We’re guessing, though, that if Donald Trump had any say on the matter, New York City would be hosting the inauguration as it did for the nation’s first president in 1789.
Some other ways times have really changed
With presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, many have been wondering where the candidate has been living. So far, her team has kept it under wraps, but we do know that she and Bill were renting a $100,000/month Hamptons mansion in August, and that they own a home in Chappaqua, upstate. If she does make it to the White House, she won’t be the first U.S. president to fancy living in the Big Apple. In fact, our nation’s very first president lived in the inaugural presidential mansion on Cherry Street during NYC’s two-year reign as the country’s capital. In honor of Presidents Day, we’ve taken a look at this original New York presidential residence, as well as those that followed.
Where are the presidential homes in NYC?