Visit our national parks
Did you know there are 26 national parks in New York State? Ten of them are located downstate and take less than two hours to get to. The photographic exhibits, artifacts and historical research they provide make them all worth the trip.
Sure, most everyone in our reader area has probably been to the closest national park, Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore, and maybe even managed to take in President Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay or the William Floyd Estate in Shirley. But how many can actually say they’ve been to General Grant’s National Memorial (W. 122nd St. and Riverside Drive, Manhattan)? Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States and famed Civil War general, is buried alongside his wife, Julia, in what is called Grant’s Tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America, which also houses a museum that provides an interesting glimpse into his life.
Castle Clinton (Battery Park, Lower Manhattan), built to keep the British at bay during the War of 1812, once served to welcome immigrants to the New World. In the late 19th century, Ellis Island, another national park, took over that function.
The Statue of Liberty, Federal Hall Monument (26 Wall St., Manhattan), where General George Washington took the oath of office as the first POTUS, was the site of the first Congress, Supreme Court and Executive Offices. It is now also an American history museum.
And the African Burial Ground (290 Broadway, Manhattan), which was discovered during a construction excavation in 1991, is where free and enslaved Africans were buried between 1690 and 1794. The monument pays tribute to those long-forgotten lives.
There are many other interesting national parks to visit locally. And since the National Park Service is currently celebrating its centennial with many exciting programs, this would be a great year to do it.
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