In Hamilton’s Footsteps
Can’t get tickets to the Broadway musical “Hamilton”? Of course you can’t. The next best thing is listening to the cast recording — and now the Hamilton Mixtape with new versions of the songs by the likes of Usher and Alicia Keys. I highly recommend the music as a soundtrack on a day of visiting sights associated with the founding father in New York City. Since I live here (and am a borderline-obsessive “Hamilton” fan), I’ve made a point of searching them out.
Start with this yellow Federalist-style house in Upper Manhattan that Hamilton built and where he lived until his death in 1804. The house was moved several times since then and now sits on West 141st Street in . . . wait for it . . . Hamilton Heights.
Officially called the Hamilton Grange National Memorial (414 West 141st Street; 646-548-2310), it’s operated by the National Park Service; admission is free. (Visit the website for hours.) You can take a guided tour or explore the three restored period rooms on your own; there’s also a 15-minute film about the founding father on our 10-dollar bills. Look for John Trumbull’s iconic portrait of Hamilton, and stop by the gift shop for memorabilia such as T-shirts that say, “It’s quiet uptown.”
If you need lunch or a snack after leaving Hamilton Grange, stop nearby at The Grange (1635 Amsterdam Ave.; 212-491-1635), a rustic-style restaurant/bar on Amsterdam at 141st Street.
From Hamilton Grange it’s a short cab ride to the Morris-Jumel Mansion (65 Jumel Terrace; 212-923-8008). The oldest house in Manhattan, it was built in 1765; for a time during the American Revolution it served as George Washington’s headquarters.
Inside, every square inch feels deeply infused with the past. As Washington’s right-hand man, Hamilton walked its wooden floors when he attended the first-ever presidential cabinet meeting here in 1790, along with Jefferson, Madison and Adams. Surprisingly, the mansion became Aaron Burr’s home in 1833, after he married Eliza Jumel, the wealthy widow who owned it. Downstairs you can see where Anne Northup, a cook who Eliza Jumel had met in Saratoga Springs and then hired, once prepared meals. Small world: The cook’s husband was Solomon Northup, who you may know from the movie “12 Years a Slave.” No, I’m not making this stuff up.
My favorite Morris-Jumel fact: “Hamilton” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda sought inspiration here while working on his musical, using Burr’s bedroom to write the lyrics to "Wait for It" and "The Room Where It Happens" — and yes, you can see the room where that happened.
On another day, head to the lower end of Manhattan on a pilgrimage to Hamilton’s final resting place on the grounds of historic Trinity Church (79 Broadway; 212-602-0800), at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street. The Hamiltons attended this church and had their children baptized here. Alexander’s pyramid-shaped grave marker now draws crowds. His wife, Eliza, lies buried right next to him; roam the churchyard to find the grave of her sister Angelica, positioned a tactful distance away.
What’d I miss? (Sorry, just trying to fit in as many “Hamilton” quotes as I can.) Among the many Hamilton sites in or near the greatest city in the world are the dueling grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey (where apparently everything was legal in the 19th century). And, if you’re determined to see the show on Broadway, just know that it’ll probably run forever. Start saving now for your tickets.