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Showing posts from February, 2014

Alexander Hamilton's The Grange

(Revised September 2015) Below is the dining room of the only real house  Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) ever knew , a place he called The Grange,  built in the bucolic countryside of Harlem Heights north of what was then New York City. Hamilton Grange, operated by the National Park Service,  commemorates the life of this influential Founding Father.  The Federal Style house is located just off W. 141st Street between St. Nicholas Avenue and Convent Avenue.  In spite of the fake grapes and fake roses, it was here in this room that Hamilton started to come to life for me. He was an ambitious, stubborn and argumentative man, with a cold command of policy.  But rather not so great in politics.  I imagined him sitting at the head of this table, bantering with his children,  arguing about the nation's finances with guests,  or telling stories about George Washington. As I learned in the ranger-guided tour of the house on Sunday, he had to watch his own finances.  He cut

The Evening Commute at the 168th Street Station, Visions of Dystopia

At the beginning of rush hour in New York this evening, there was no #1 train service between 168th Street and 242nd Street. Typically, many commuters travel via the 1 train at the 168th Street Station in both directions. At the 168th Street Station, thousands upon thousands of people, every day, make a connection between the 1 train and the A/C trains. The 1 train travels up the city into Washington Heights, Inwood, and the Bronx, home to many of the city's working classes. This includes jazz musicians, service workers, and professionals for non-profit agencies. To make the connection at 168, workers must take an elevator. If the 1 train goes out in both directions, it is a problem.    Most people take the delays in stride. Often, one self-selected member of the crowd admonishes the others not to crowd the elevator. The alternative is to wait for the 1 train service to be restored. While waiting, commuters amuse themselves by enjoying the scenery alon