Presidents & Parks
Today is the 280th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. And as the parks are filled with children off from school on Presidents Week, it is a fitting opportunity to look at some of the occasions when our commanders-in-chief visited New York City parks.
Our first president, George Washington, is honored across the parks system with park names, sculptures, markers, and tablets commemorating him. As General of the Continental Army, Washington spent much time in places that became parks. General Washington commanded forces from Morris–Jumel Mansion, which is now one of Parks' historic houses. In 1790, it is believed that Washington passed through what is now Alley Pond Park on his way to Long Island; a marker at 233rd Street near the entrance to the Cross Island Parkway commemorates this.
John Adams participated in the famous meeting between British Lord Admiral Richard Howe and Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge at a house owned by British Army Colonel Christopher Billopp on the southern tip of Staten Island. At the meeting, Lord Howe offered to end the conflict peacefully if the American colonies would return to British control; the American delegation declined. The site for this historic conference is now known as the Conference House, and is located in Staten Island's Conference House Park.
Several sitting Presidents participated in dedication ceremonies in parks. Rutherford B. Hayes opened the American Museum of Natural History on December 22, 1877 in what is now known as Theodore Roosevelt Park. President Hayes also unveiled the Fitz-Greene Halleck statue in Central Park on May 15, 1877.
William Howard Taft attended the dedication of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park on November 14, 1908. Woodrow Wilson viewed the Liberty Parade from the "Altar of Liberty" in Madison Square on October 12, 1918 at the end of the first World War.
New York received a flurry of attention during the 1960 presidential elections. On October 27, 1960, then-candidate John F. Kennedy embarked on a whirlwind four-borough tour of New York City that took him to rallies in both Washington Square and Union Square. Dwight D. Eisenhower, campaigning with Richard Nixon, spoke to supporters in Herald Square on November 3, 1960, just five days before the election. Eisenhower also spoke at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Columbus Monument in Columbus Circle on October 12, 1958 and was honored in Battery Park with the Eisenhower Mall at a ceremony he attended on September 27, 1963.
Most recently, on September 27, 2007, our current president, Barack Obama conducted a rally midway through his campaign for the presidency in a packed Washington Square Park.
Our parks look forward to hosting many more past, current and future commanders in chief!
Additional information on U.S. Presidents and their relationship
to NYC Parks can be found at: http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_history/presidents_in_parks/index.php
City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation’s
“The Ebony Society”
Light of the World Awards Ceremony 2012
Celebrating the end of Black History Month and recognizing our fellow colleagues for their outstanding contributions in and outside of the work place.
You are invited to join us at the ceremony
Thursday, February 23, 2012
at 6:00 p.m.
830 Fifth Avenue
3rd Floor Gallery
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him, than the title.”
(1732 – 1799)