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Presidential sites in NYC: Federal Hall, Fraunces Tavern and more

For decades, the third Monday of February has been designated to celebrate the birthday of President George Washington.

The holiday, officially called Washington's Birthday by the federal government, often means a three-day weekend for Americans. And what better way to spend that extra day off than to learn more about the city's ties to past presidents?

In honor of Presidents Day, take a look at some of the city’s presidential ties.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Federal Hall stands as a cornerstone in American
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Federal Hall stands as a cornerstone in American history. During its use as City Hall in the early 18th century, it served as the meeting place for the Stamp Act Congress, which protested British taxation. After the Revolutionary War, George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States at Federal Hall on April 30, 1789. Although the original building was demolished in 1812, the current building at 26 Wall St. pays tribute to Washington and Federal Hall's roots in American history as a memorial run by the National Park Service.

Fraunces Tavern Museum

Open since 1762, Fraunces Tavern served an important
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Open since 1762, Fraunces Tavern served an important role in the country's history, particularly around the time of the Revolutionary War. In the week that followed the British evacuation from New York City in November 1783, George Washington often dined at the restaurant. The tavern was also the site where, on Dec. 4, 1783, Washington bid adieu to the officers of the Continental Army before heading to Annapolis to meet with the Continental Congress. In addition to playing host to Washington and his troops, the building at 54 Pearl St. also served as the first headquarters for the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1785 through 1788. Now, the building operates as both a historic restaurant and museum.

The Great Hall of Cooper Union

There has been no shortage of luminaries to
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Saul Loeb

There has been no shortage of luminaries to grace the stage at The Great Hall of Cooper Union. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama all delivered speeches at the Great Hall before they were elected into office. It was also the stage where Lincoln, a lawyer from Illinois at the time, expressed his views on slavery in what became known as his "right makes might" address. According to Cooper Union, Lincoln later attributed the speech as a major milestone in his rise to presidency.

Chester A. Arthur House

On Sept. 20, 1881, following the assassination of
Photo Credit: Google Maps

On Sept. 20, 1881, following the assassination of President James Garfield, Vice President Chester A. Arthur took the oath of office inside his brownstone townhouse at 123 Lexington Ave. After his single term as president, Arthur retired in the same home and died there two years later. The building is now a National Historic Landmark, but is privately owned.

General Grant National Memorial (Grant's Tomb)

Located along Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights, the
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Located along Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights, the General Grant National Memorial is the final resting place for President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Dent Grant. Designed by architect John Duncan, Grant's Tomb is the largest mausoleum in North America. The tomb is a National Park Service site, and the visitor center on the grounds includes an exhibit highlighting Grant's many accomplishments. The crypt where the Grants' remains are held is also open to public viewing.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Named after his
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Named after his "Four Freedoms" State of the Union speech in 1941, the park stands as a monument to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During his State of the Union speech, Roosevelt attempted to bolster support for helping the British and allied troops against the Axis powers by arguing that there are four human freedoms in life: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Situated on the edge of Roosevelt Island, it's run by the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, which provides free educational programs that align with these four freedoms.

Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace

While some presidents may have called the city
Photo Credit: Samantha Wieder

While some presidents may have called the city home, only one has been born in Manhattan. President Theodore Roosevelt was born and raised in a townhouse at 28 E. 20th St., in what is now the Flatiron District, until he was 14 years old. Although the original building was demolished in 1916, the site was bought by the Women's Roosevelt Memorial Association in 1919 and rebuilt and restored to replicate his original home. Now a National Park Service site, you can take a tour of Roosevelt's home.

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