Presidents and NYC

Presidents Day

Presidents Day began as a celebration of George Washington the first U.S. president.  George Washington was the most admired figure in American history during the 1800’s and in 1870 his birthday was established as a federal holiday.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 shifted the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to designated Mondays.  Washington’s birthday would be moved to the third Monday of February and be known as Presidents Day, a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents.

Presidents and NYC

There are a number of sites around New York City connected with various U.S. presidents.  Here is a partial list to help you plan your Presidents day in NYC.

#1 George Washington:

  • Federal Hall – Wall Street, George Washington took his oath of office at this spot on April 30, 1789.
  • Paul’s Chapel – 209 Broadway – During his first term in office George Washington worshiped here regularly.

#16 Abraham Lincoln:

  • Cooper Union – East 8th street and Third Avenue – on February 27th 1860 Lincoln gave an address here which propelled him to the U.S. presidency.

#18 Ulysses S. Grant:

  • General Grant National Memorial – West 122nd street and Riverside Dr. The final resting place for Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia.  It is the largest mausoleum in North America.

#21 Chester A. Arthur:

  • When president Garfield died in 1881, Arthur was sworn into office at his NYC home, 123 Lexington Avenue.

#26 Theodore Roosevelt:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace – 28 East 20th street the childhood home of the first U.S. president born in NYC.  (Because of Covid -19 restrictions this site is currently closed to the public.)

#32 Franklin D Roosevelt:

  • Roosevelt House – 47-49 East 65th Franklin, Eleanor, and their two small children moved into number 49 in 1908. It served as their home for 24 years.

#45 Donald J Trump:

  • Several buildings around the city bear his name most famously the Trump Tower on Fifth Ave.

Presidents Day Trivia

Presidents Day never falls on the actual birthday of any U.S. president.  George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan were all born in February but their birthdays fall either too early or too late to coincide with the third Monday of the month.

 

Remember, you can book a custom tour, presidential or otherwise with Dillinger’s New York.  Get more info here.

 

New Years Eve NYC

New Years Eve

Back in the 19th century, New Yorkers gathered downtown at Trinity Church to greet the new year.  At midnight the church bells would “ring out the old, ring in the new.”  But in 1904 the New Years Eve celebration would move uptown to the newly christened Times Square.

Times Square

In 1904 the New York Times had moved their headquarters up to 42nd street where Broadway and 7th avenue meet.  The area, known as Longacre Square, was renamed by the city for the paper. On December 31st of 1904 the Times held an all-day street festival to celebrate their new tower.  It culminated at midnight with a fireworks display, attended by over 200,000 people.   It was such a success that Times Square immediately became the “in” place in New York City to greet the New Year.  Concerned about fire safety the city banned the use of fireworks in 1907.  Looking for an alternative the Times borrowed another idea from downtown. Everyday at noon a metal ball would drop down a flagpole on the top of the western Union Building, the tallest building on lower Broadway.  This was so ships in the harbor could calibrate their chronometers to the local time.  The Times adopted this idea to signal the end of one year and the beginning of another.

New Years Eve 2020

Since 1907 the New Years Eve ball has dropped every year, except for 1942 and 1943 when the ceremony was suspended due to wartime “dimouts.”

There have been seven different versions of the ball over the years.  The first one, in 1907, was 5 feet in diameter.  Made of wood and iron and covered with 100 25-watt light bulbs.  Today’s ball is 12 feet in diameter and  has 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles illuminated by 32,256 LEDs.

In normal times hundreds of thousands of people gather in Times Square and wait for hours to witness, first hand, the famous ball drop.  Because of Covid-19 restrictions the ball drop will not be open to the public this year. Instead we will come together virtually to celebrate new beginnings as we say good-bye to 2020.

Mobile Streaming available at:

TimesSquareNYC.org
TimesSquareBall.net

And on social media at:

Facebook.com/TimesSquareNYC
Twitter.com/TimesSquareNYC

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and, successful 2021 for all!

Related items:

See our Youtube story on Times Square

https://youtu.be/G8xVokax-PY

Check out our Times Square/Broadway tour.

https://dillingersnewyork.com/broadway-baby/

 

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