Can’t get – or afford – tickets to the blockbuster Tony-winning Broadway show? Here’s where to see Hamilton in NYC for FREE or for less than the price of his picture on a $10 bill, at these NYC spots where he lived, worked, died, or is otherwise memorialized.
Not surprisingly, the popularity of Hamilton on Broadway, not to mention the 11 Tony Awards it has won, has made anything related to Hamilton in New York City more popular.
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Hamilton Grange National Monument: Hamilton built this Federal-style house in 1801 as a country retreat, back when this part of Manhattan was still farmland. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer commanding views from the hilltop location. The neat row houses on the streets around the house were built in the early 20th century on land Hamilton once owned. Park Rangers give hourly tours, but because of Hamilton’s new superstar status, reservations are absolutely required. If you just show up, you are unlikely to get inside, even to visit the gift shop. But the surrounding park is lovely. Hamilton Grange National Memorial is at 141st St. and Convent Ave., just north of CUNY.
Hamilton Burial Site – Trinity Churchyard, adjoining Trinity Church, is in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Miraculously, the church and churchyard escaped destruction on September 11, 2011, as did sister church St. Paul’s Chapel and its equally historic churchyard, a few blocks away. Hamilton, his wife, Eliza, and their eldest son, Philip are buried at Trinity Churchyard, along with other Revolutionary Era notables. One of those is Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat which helped make NYC one of the world’s busiest ports and a world financial center. That was surely appreciated by Hamilton, who created the American financial system, including a mint with the dollar as currency.
Another is John Peter Zenger (1697–1746), the newspaper publisher whose libel trial helped establish the right to a free press, so central to the democracy known as the United States of America. Zenger and Hamilton were friendly rivals. Hamilton, who wrote most of the Federalist Papers, also founded the New York Evening Post in 1801. It’s still publishing today, as the New York Post, although more famous for its celebrity gossip Page Six than for the insightful political articles of Hamilton’s day. Trinity Church is at 75 Broadway, so – yes – you can tell your friends you really did see Hamilton on Broadway.
- Be sure to go inside St Paul’s Chapel to see the pew where George Washington worshipped, and the memorial to 9-11 First Responders with hundreds of badges and other mementos. St. Paul’s was used as a refuge by First Responders, who often slept on the wooden church pews. There also are free concerts and other events here. St. Paul’s is on the corner of Vesey St. and Fulton St., named for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. He is buried in Trinity Churchyard, near the Hamiltons.
- There’s also a Trinity Graveyard and Mausoleum uptown, in Washington Heights, adjoining Hamilton Heights. Famous souls resting here include naturalist John James Audubon, actor Jerry Orbach, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Eliza Bowen Jumel, ex-wife of Aaron Burr, and Clement Clarke Moore, author of the beloved poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, which begins with the phrase “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…”. There’s a reading of the famous poem at Moore’s gravesite each holiday season.
- Download the FREE Trinity Church mobile app for a guided tour of all three sites.
Morris- Jumel Mansion – Built in 1765, this is the oldest surviving private dwelling in Manhattan, filled with Georgian, Federal and French Empire furnishings from its various owners, and a convoluted history that reads like a pulp novel. Like Hamilton Grange, it was built as a country getaway, by British officer Roger Morris (nearby Mount Morris is named for him). George Washington camped out here briefly, using the house at his headquarters during the Revolutionary War after Loyalist Morris skipped town, and again a few years later for the very first presidential cabinet meeting, which included both Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and lifelong rival Aaron Burr.
There are other connections, too. French merchant Stephen Jumel purchased the house for himself and his wife, wealthy socialite Eliza Bowen in 1810. After Jumel’s death, Eliza married Aaron Burr in the front parlor, soon after the famous duel in which Hamilton died. It was not a happy marriage, lasting less than a year before she kicked him out. Their divorce was final on Sept. 14, 1836, the day he died in Staten Island. Her lawyer was Hamilton’s son. Eliza Bowen’s ghost is said to haunt the place. The Morris Jumel Mansion is part of the Historic House Trust of NYC, at 65 Jumel Terrace, at 160th Street east of Broadway.
- The Morris-Jumel Mansion website has a video intro by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the blockbuster Broadway musical, Hamilton, who wrote part of the musical here.
- Read secrets of the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
See Summer of Hamilton, at the New York Historical Society, a museum-wide celebration of Alexander Hamilton
Central Park – A larger-than-life-size statue of Hamilton (top photo) marks the entrance to Central Park’s East Drive at 83rd Street, near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is unusual because it is carved entirely of granite, including the base. Hamilton’s grandson John C. Hamilton donated the piece to the City in 1880.
- There’s a bronze statue of him St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hamilton Heights, where he worshipped
- There’s another statue of him in front of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University, his Alma Mater, then known as Kings College.
Museum of American Finance – Hamilton was the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, who created the nation’s banking system, so he would have loved this museum, which is housed in a former bank building on Wall St. The Hamilton Room is a permanent exhibit on Hamilton and his impact on world commerce, and you can drool over gold coins from around the world, and more. Interactive exhibits make this fascinating for all ages. Museum of American Finance is at 48 Wall St. at the corner of William St., close to both the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Monument, where Washington took the oath of office as first US President, when New York City was the nation’s capital.
Gold Vault Tour – Show me the money! There’s as much as $100 Billion in bills and gold stashed beneath the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and you can see at least some of it FREE. Tours are weekdays, except when there’s a bank holiday or a security threat locks down the place. Speaking of security – no cameras or camera-equipped mobile devices are allowed. Stash them in secure lockers. Only 25 visitors at a time are permitted on the tours, and you must make your reservations online ahead of time and bring the printed ticket for admission. I recommend early afternoon, after the school groups have left. The Federal Reserve Bank is at 33 Liberty St.
Aaron Burr’s Carriage House and horse stable – The Vice-President’s former “garage” in Greenwich Village is now one of the most romantic and expensive restaurants in New York City. One if by Land, Two if by Sea is in a landmarked building dating from 1767. If dinner is too pricey for you, stop in for a drink at the bar. Bartenders are quite used to talking about the iron rings attached to the wall, where Burr’s horses were tethered.
photos courtesy NYC Parks Dept, Wikipedia Commons, MorrisJumel.org, National Park Service, MOAF, Federal Reserve Bank