Another tour with Jimmy Napoli and his Corsicans –Gregory and Thiago. We assembled at the Morris Jumel mansion in Harlem at 163 and Sylvan Terrace.
I don’t know what your image of Harlem is but it’s beautiful with broad steeets lined with wonderful buildings. Luminaries such as Duke Ellington made their home there “Take the A train.” Now tour guide extraordinare Jimmy Napoli does too.
George Washington held his staff meetings in the 252 year old 8500 sq ft mansion and billeted 2-3000 troops on the property which once encompassed land from the Hudson River to the Harlem River in upper Manhattan.
Lin Manuel Miranda genious author of Hamilton wrote two songs in the upstairs room of the mansion. “Wait for It” and “Room Where It Happened.”
Much of the mansion is still being restored. Even the French wallpaper ordered by Madame Jumel is being ordered from a French wall paper company whose wallpapers date to those times.
We left stopping to admire the 19thC town homes lined up and beautifully maintained by individuals such as Alicia Keyes.
We trekked to 143rd to see the Grange the only home Hamilton owned. Sadly after his death, Eliza his widow had to sell it to provide for her and their children. Hamilton spent little time in the Geange and died an impoverished man. It too is in dire need of preservation. It’s current location is its third and hopefully last.
We sat under the shade of a large tree and Jimmy presented a brilliant summary of Hamilron’s career and tragic death.
We all repaired to a nearby pub for a cool drink and a snack. The group was enlivened by a lively set of cousins and their spouses. They made me an honorary member of their club. A great day!