Hamilton’s new digs

I finally got a chance to check out Zander’s new digs on 140th Street in Nichols Park. They haven’t lowered the building onto the foundation yet. It looks like it will be worthy of a founding father’s memorial.

The old spot looks empty now, and the statue is still there standing guard. There’s video of the actual move, on a remote control flatbed, at the National Park Service’s Hamilton Grange Updates page.

It won’t be open for visitors until 2009. We visited Grant’s Tomb instead, I’ll post the photos this week. It’s the largest tomb in the U.S., and quite impressive. Too bad the Hulk movie didn’t have its final fight there!

Alexander Hamilton on wheels

Even in Hawaii, thanks to the National Park Service’s Hamilton Grange mailing list, I have been made aware of the status of Alexander Hamilton’s manse. It’s currently sitting on Convent Avenue on a bunch of semi-truck roller skates, ready to be rolled around the corner to its new home. Let’s hope it doesn’t roll down 141st street and cream a bunch of taxis or something. Well, if it must happen, lets hope it is caught on film.

Alexander Hamilton gets a high-rise

Okay maybe not, but this photo Firecracker sent me shows Hamilton’s mansion above the church next door. Unfortunately (sort of) we won’t be around when it’s moved to street level and then around the corner to its new spot in the park. We’ll be in Hawaii, either being harried by sharks on a snorkeling expedition, falling off our horses into gaping maws of volcanic craters, chased by gangs of angry Samoans shouting “haole go home!” or choking to death on spam musibi and umbrellas in our Mai Tais.

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.

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.