Are you a Hamilfan, a U.S. history nerd, or perhaps both (like me 😁)? You’ve probably already listened to the musical’s soundtrack dozens of times, read Ron Chernow’s book cover to cover, and have been streaming the Hamilton movie nonstop since its release. So what’s next for a Hamilfan to do? Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of seeing the musical live right now, as Broadway will be shuttered until 2021. But you can visit some of the spots that made up Alexander Hamilton’s New York. Let’s check them out!
1. Staten Island Ferry
You might not be able to sail into New York Harbor on a ship coming from the Caribbean like Alexander Hamilton did in 1772. But this is the next best thing. As you sail towards Manhattan isle, try to imagine a time when New York City was not quite a great metropolis, but was instead a dirty, crowded trading town, where making money was at the forefront of everyone’s minds (Hmm…I guess New York hasn’t changed too much since the eighteenth century).
2. Fraunces Tavern
This Revolutionary-era haunt was popular with early American leaders. According to the museum’s website, George Washington frequently had meals here and it was the site of his famous post-war farewell speech. While the frequency of Alexander Hamilton’s visits to the tavern is unknown, he and Aaron Burr did have a tepid dinner here one week before their duel.
3. Federal Hall
Hamilton spent a lot of time arguing in this building. As a lawyer, he argued several cases here, including the “first murder trial of our brand-new nation.” As the seat of government until 1790, this was also where some of Hamilton’s Treasury proposals were submitted to and debated by Congress. Also notable: George Washington took the oath of office from the balcony of Federal Hall in 1789. As Hamilton lived only a few yards away at what is today 57 Wall Street, he witnessed the ceremony from his own balcony.
4. Museum of American Finance
This place is arguably the most Hamiltonian site in the whole city! This museum, which sets out to educate its visitors on the financial history of the United States, sits on the site of the Bank of New York, an institution founded by Hamilton himself. As further homage to the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, the museum even has a room dedicated to the man and his work. There, you’ll find documents he signed and replicas of Hamilton’s and Burr’s dueling pistols.
5. Trinity Churchyard
Finish up your time in Lower Manhattan at Trinity Churchyard, which serves as the final resting place for Alexander Hamilton, his wife Eliza, and her elder sister Angelica Church. Visitors seem compelled to leave pennies on Hamilton’s grave, but I dare you to leave a whole ten dollar bill.
6. Columbia University
Back in Hamilton’s day, this was called King’s College and was in an entirely different spot downtown; nonetheless, the university can claim Hamilton as one of their most famous attendees, although he actually dropped out of school at the onset of the American Revolution. After the war, he served as one of the school’s trustees, assisting in restructuring the institution. Today the campus’ Hamilton Hall is named in his honor and has a statue of him out front… directly across from a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
7. Hamilton Grange
Way uptown in St. Nicholas Park you’ll find the place Hamilton called home for the final two years of his life. Now in the center of a lively community, it’s hard to picture Hamilton Grange as a country retreat, but the faithful restorations of the house’s rooms will give you a good idea of how Hamilton and his family lived.
8. Morris-Jumel Mansion
We’d be remiss to explore Hamilton’s New York without checking in on Aaron Burr, and the best place in NYC to do that is the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Burr lived here as an old man during his brief marriage to Eliza Jumel (who has a scandalous past of her own). As you sit in his former bedroom, ponder if old man Burr had any regrets about his life. Or maybe you’ll get the chance to ask him yourself. I hear his ghost haunts the mansion.
Bonus: Hamilton Park in Weehawken, NJ
This is the place where it happened: where Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had their fateful duel. Not only does the park have a monument commemorating the event; it also has a great view of the city Hamilton called home.
Which spots in Hamilton’s New York are you most interested in visiting? Share it in the comment section. And while you’re here, sign up for my email list, so you’ll be notified every time I release a new article about NYC! And if you really can’t get enough of the city, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, where I post new NYC tips almost daily. Thanks for reading!