Alexander Hamilton Is Having a Moment

This 1806 portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull (1756–1843) hangs at the Washington University Law School; the image is in the public domain.

This 1806 portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull (1756–1843) hangs at the Washington University Law School; the image is in the public domain.

In the “About” section of this blog, I note that my family shaped my interests—that my mother was interested in culture and my father in history—and now when I travel (also an interest of my parents) I seek out the cultural and the historical.

I love when these things come together, as they have in the Broadway hit musical Hamilton. It looks fabulous. But, as Time magazine notes in the May 13, 2016, issue (transcribed by me from my subscription copy),

If you didn’t have Hamilton tickets before, good luck getting them now. The 70th Tony Awards nominations were announced May 3, and as expected, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop history juggernaut led the pack of Broadway plays and musicals with 16 nods, besting the record for Tony nominations previously shared by The Producers and Billy Elliot.

Miranda has already won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as creator and star.

I’ll wait for the road show to come to Nashville, I think. But what about all those folks who will be tourists in New York? (The NY Times says the show is sold out through November 2016, but that may have changed now.)

Well, a lot of folks are checking out Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers, who has lots of personal history in New York.* Like his gravesite in the Trinity Church graveyard in Lower Manhattan. And, according to the Times,

When the curtain falls at the end of Act 2, many audience members aren’t ready to let go. They hunger to know more. Visits to Hamilton’s house at the Grange National Memorial in Harlem went up by 70 percent in 2015; a Hamilton-themed walking tour of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights began last month. The dueling pistols are on display at the New-York Historical Society.

That’s right. Although he was born on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton was, in the end, a New Yorker. As Curbed: New York points out,

Alexander Hamilton’s story is a classically American one; an immigrant kid who rose from nothing to become one of the most influential figures in Western history, his life reads like the American Dream before America even existed.

It’s also a quintessentially New York story: Hamilton forged his life and fortune in a Manhattan that, even in those early days of the nation’s history, was the place to be for an ambitious scrapper on the rise. “In New York, you can be a new man,” the company sings in Hamilton’s opening number. And many of Hamilton’s former stomping grounds are places you can still visit today.

This article and others list many Hamilton-related places you can visit in NY, such as:

• The graveyard at Trinity Church
• Museum of American Finance (Alexander Hamilton Room)
• Hamilton Grange
• The Fraunces Tavern Museum
• The guns used in the duel with Aaron Burr
• Statue near the Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Statue on the grounds of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hamilton Heights
• Columbia University

Here’s a map of many NYC sites, and here are more online articles you may find interesting:

• All Things Hamilton: Your information portal to Alexander Hamilton
• New-York Historical Society: The Man Who Made Modern America
• Forbes: Hamilton Sparks Interest in Historic Places
• NY Times: Hamilton’s Old Stomping Grounds

There’s a lot to do in New York City, of course. But with or without Broadway tickets (fans should check out this), I think an Alexander Hamilton tour would be very interesting, don’t you?

* Even the island of Nevis offers a couple Hamilton sites.

UPDATE: Here’s a post from a blogger I love, Chuck Wendig, and you might too. He’s hilarious, but if strong language offends you, better take a pass.



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