Before moving to Hamilton Heights two years ago, I lived in the West Village. It is one of the most enviable neighborhoods in all of New York, its leafy streets lined with picture-perfect townhouses and charming cafes. These days it is also overrun with overpriced megamansions and Sex and the City tours. Jane Jacobs' innocent little Village it is not.
So while I was sad to be leaving such a beautiful downtown location, I was looking forward to moving to my new neighborhood, which still felt relatively normal by New York standards (goodbye overpriced Gourmet Garage, hello Food Universe!).
Happily for me, I happened to make my home in a historic section of Hamilton Heights that is just as captivating as the West Village. Stretching from Hamilton Place in the west to Edgecombe Avenue in the east, and from 140th to 146th Streets south to north, this area of Harlem was once the property of none other than founding father–and inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway sensation–Alexander Hamilton (see map of the property above).
His beautifully preserved 1802 house–after being relocated twice from its original spot on 143rd Street–now sits on a grassy hill on 141st Street. What's more, steps away from his yellow home are two of the most scenic streets in all of Manhattan: Convent Avenue and Hamilton Terrace. There's hardly a day I don't find myself walking down these townhouse-lined streets on route to the A train and looking up and around with delight.
I always encourage anyone who comes to stay with me to visit the Grange, as Alexander Hamilton called his home–and I do the same to you. In the basement you'll find the visitor's center, which includes an exhibit and a short Hamilton biopic worth watching. Come during the scheduled tour times (guided or self-guided, depending on what time you go) and you'll get to walk upstairs to the historically furnished rooms. Way easier than getting tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway–you don't need reservations and it's FREE.
And while more visitors to the area do make my neighborhood a tad touristy on weekends, I'd much rather be giving visitors directions to Alexander Hamilton's house than Carrie Bradshaw's.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE...
DO: Go on a tour of Hamilton Grange, open Wed-Sun.
SHOP: Buy your favorite Hamilton fan a memento in the gift shop, like this Alexander Hamilton bookmark. (Or just buy it here.)
EAT: Roll out a blanket, stream the Hamilton soundtrack, and have a picnic on the lovely, sloping grounds any day of the week. The Grange is part of the National Park Service, and small groups are allowed without permits.
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