While President Trump is only the second native son of New York City to occupy the White House, the city’s energy has drawn many other presidents. The sites associated with them often are overshadowed by better-known attractions. Still, they offer a glimpse of the city’s past — and its constant evolution. Here they are, by neighborhood:
Gramercy Park: As an adult, Theodore Roosevelt — the first New Yorker to occupy the White House — lived at Sagamore Hill on Long Island. But until age 14 he lived at 28 E. 20th St. The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace is a recreation of the original brownstone, which was torn down in 1916. Visitors can gain a sense of Roosevelt’s presence from the pint-size maroon velvet chair in the library (with horsehair the covering of choice, the other chairs were too scratchy for someone still in short pants) to the crib in an upstairs bedroom. Most of the furnishings are from the original house or were provided by family members. A ground floor exhibit showcases the 26th president’s enduring interest in natural science, along with his Rough Rider uniform and other items. The family moved uptown in the early 1870s.
Murray Hill: Chester A. Arthur, a native of Vermont, practiced law in New York City and later became collector of the Port of New York, a patronage post. He lived at 123 Lexington Ave. (between 28th and 29th streets), taking the oath of office as 21st president in the five-story Romanesque Revival building after James A. Garfield was assassinated in 1881. The national historic landmark is now Kalustyan’s, a specialty food store, and there are apartments on the upper floors.
Fifth Avenue: Though he was born in Queens, the sitting president’s Trump Tower, at 725 Fifth Ave. between 56th and 57th streets — is in a neighborhood of high-end retailers and luxury hotels. (It’s also a short walk from the location of Theodore Roosevelt’s teenage home at 6 W. 57th St.) The sleek, 58-floor skyscraper combines offices, condominiums, retail stores and restaurants, with the last two open to the public. These days, heavy security and crowds predominate in and around the building. There are Jersey barriers adjacent to the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue and on side streets, while the New York Police Department maintains stanchions on the sidewalk in front of the building to facilitate the flow of pedestrian traffic.
Upper East Side: Springwood, the famed family home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, is in Hyde Park, New York. But after he married Eleanor (Theodore Roosevelt’s niece) in 1905, his widowed mother bought two adjoining brownstones at 47 and 49 E. 65th St. as a wedding present, and had them demolished and rebuilt behind a single facade. The family moved in three years later. As president-elect, FDR met with prospective cabinet members in the library — among them Frances Perkins, who became the first woman appointed as labor secretary. At her interview, she introduced the idea of “old-age insurance,” now known as Social Security, to the incoming 32nd president. The Roosevelt House now houses the Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, but is open to the public for tours.
The site of the brownstone rowhouse at 3 E. 66th St., where Ulysses S. Grant lived after the 18th president’s departure from the White House, is marked with a plaque. His residency there was marred by bankruptcy and a diagnosis of throat cancer. Nonetheless, the site is where he wrote his memoirs, published by Mark Twain, to provide for his family. After Grant died in 1885, the family wanted a New York City burial, even though it took a dozen years to raise the money and construct the memorial. The General Grant National Memorial, known as Grant’s Tomb, is about four miles west on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River at 122nd Street and Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights.
Morningside Heights: Barack Obama transferred from Occidental College in Los Angeles to Columbia University in 1981. The future 44th president is reported to have lived at several locations in the city for about four years during and after college, including a circa-1905 terra cotta building at 622 W. 114th St., where filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille lived from 1906 to 1913. His first apartment in the city is reported to have been at 142 W. 109th St., in a third-story walk-up. After that, he lived in a mottled gray building at 339 E. 94th St. that he described in “Dreams From My Father” as “part of the shifting border between East Harlem and the rest of Manhattan.”
Lower Manhattan: George Washington may be synonymous with Mount Vernon, but he is also an enduring presence in New York City. Following the Revolutionary War, he bid farewell to his officers in the Long Room of Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl St. He returned to New York City following his election as the country’s first president in 1789, when the city became the nation’s temporary capitol. He took the oath of office and governed from what was then New York City Hall, now the site of the Federal Hall National Memorial. The four-story Greek Revival building at 26 Wall St., dwarfed by the adjacent skyscrapers, gives visitors a sense of the relative scale of colonial and modern-day Manhattan. Make your way past tourists taking selfies with the statue of Washington, an 1882 addition.
Washington, his family and his slaves lived for 10 months — until February 1790 — at the Samuel Osgood House on the corner of Pearl and Cherry streets, now at the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. Osgood, whose papers are in the collection of the New York Historical Society, noted the house’s lavish furnishings in his correspondence. The site of the Federal-style mansion, demolished in 1856, is marked with a plaque. Later in 1790, the family moved to the more spacious Alexander Macomb House. The brick Federal townhouse at 39 and 41 Broadway was demolished in 1940; a plaque marks the site.
By August of the same year, the government had left New York for Philadelphia to await the completion of the District of Columbia.
Zipkin is a writer based in New York City. Her website is amyzipkin.com. Find her on Twitter: @amyzipkin.
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Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
28 E. 20th St.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is free.
725 Fifth Ave.
Building eateries include the Trump Grill (212-836-3247, open 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Trump Cafe (212-715-6788, open 8:30 a.m. to
5 p.m.), Trump Bar (212-836-3200, open noon to 10 p.m.) and Trump’s Ice Cream Parlor (open 11 a.m. to
5 p.m.). No admission. Line lengths and wait times vary; all visitors are subject to screening by the Secret Service.
47 and 49 East 65th St.
Special exhibits may be viewed Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are available Saturdays at 10 a.m., noon and
2 p.m. Admission is free; $10 suggested donation.
General Grant National Memorial
122nd Street and Riverside Drive
The visitor center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mausoleum hours are Wednesday through Sunday
10 a.m. to 11 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to
5 p.m.; tours subject to staffing availability.
54 Pearl St.
Museum, 212-425-1778; restaurant, 212-968-1776
The tavern is still an operating restaurant, open Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. The tavern is most crowded during lunchtime and on weekends, when reservations are suggested. Walk-ins may be seated at the bar. Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m. to
5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $7, children $4. Tours are included in price of admission Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Federal Hall National Memorial
26 Wall St.
The building is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.