Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movin' on up! to the East side...

Raise the roof?

That's Alexander Hamilton's house, known as Hamilton Grange, currently residing on Convent Avenue in upper Manhattan. The neighborhood is called Hamilton Heights and is in Harlem near City College, a nice brownstone enclave between the bustle of Broadway and St. Nicholas. The Park Service is moving the house because it's surrounded by a church and apartment building, in a spot it was moved to years ago anyway; they've got a nice cozy spot in a nearby park a block away ready for it.

At normal height

They've got it raised up about 50 feet to get it squeezed out from between those two buildings. The original porch and facade were removed when it was placed there, so hopefully they will return. It's a pretty amazing feat, lifting a historic building that high.
The park near where it will be moved.

I'm looking forward to seeing it in its new spot and checking out the interior next year once it's completed. I imagine Alexander Hamilton will be prancing from his grave down in Trinity Church cemetery all the way up Broadway to return home, too.
The infamous prancing statue

Everyone knows the story of Aaron Burr and Hamilton dueling illegally in Weehawken and his subsequent death. He may have been a prancer in statuary, but he was a hardcore bastard. His cannon regiments may have turned the tide of the Revolution in the Jersey wars, and he reserved his fire against Burr without telling him. I guess he wanted to see if he could take on the man he'd verbally sparred with so virulently.

His final resting place

If you watched the John Adams miniseries on HBO, they picture Hamilton as a hot-head, but he was a bit of a sneak as well. He published a pamphlet rudely critical of Vice-President Adams anonymously, that was "meant for private circulation" but got leaked. Riiight. The whole duel with Burr started over things overhead at a dinner, and repeated by someone else- essentially someone wrote nasty things about Burr's Vice-Presidency, and said "this is nothing compared to what Hamilton had to say about him!" Some historians think Hamilton was suicidal in accepting the duel and refusing to tell Burr what was actually said at that dinner. Hamilton's son had been killed in a duel at the same spot 3 years earlier, after his father advised him to "throw away his fire" - miss on purpose. Hamilton did the same thing during his own duel. It was considered a mark of bravery, but in these cases it turned out to be foolishness.

So every time you spend a ten-spot, remember the Hamilton's lesson. To hell with that bravery crap, shoot the other guy first.

3 comments:

sarah said...

this morning they started edging it over the church roof. I'll see what it looks like tonight.

Woohoo i just might not miss them move it. I was worried we'd be out of town.

sarah said...

its above the street now. They did a lot today.

tommy salami said...

Awesome. Keep me posted with photos and I'll put them here.
Thanks, Harlem cub reporter ;)

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