Can't Get Tickets to Hamilton? Go Visit the Founding Father's Manhattan Home
Hamilton is the hardest ticket to get on Broadway this season, but it's easy to visit the Founding Father's Harlem homestead.
"It's Quiet Uptown" is one of the slower, more contemplative moments in Hamilton's second act, when Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton mourn their eldest son Philip, killed in a duel. "I spend hours in the garden," Hamilton sings, "I walk alone to the store. And it's quiet uptown, I never liked the quiet before."
The bucolic estate Hamilton described—he named it "the Grange," after his ancestral Scottish home—still stands, though it's a little less peaceful than it was in 1802. Located in Harlem, the house has been relocated twice since its original construction, though it has always remained within the original grounds. After an extensive six year restoration that concluded in 2011, the Grange now gives visitors the most historically faithful view of the house since it was first moved in 1889 (to make way for the city's expanding street grid system). Before, the national monument was crowded by neighboring buildings and streets; now the Grange sits within Saint Nicholas Park at West 141st Street, surrounded by the green Hamilton so admired.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's song mentions Hamilton's garden in passing. It's a detail grounded in history: Hamilton did take up gardening once he moved his family to the then-countryside. A lifelong urbanite, he joked with his friends about his horticultural inexperience. The National Park Service has since replicated some of Hamilton's gardening efforts, including a charming row of 13 sweet gum trees—a gift from George Washington—one for each of the 13 colonies.
Elizabeth Hamilton remained in the house until 1833, almost three decades after Hamilton's death. It's the house that seven of their eight children grew up in and the only one the Hamiltons ever owned.
A great deal easier to see than Hamilton, the founding father's house and grounds are open Wednesday through Sunday all year round (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) and admission is free. Guided tours are offered several times a day: they are a great entry point to understanding the house and its inhabitants.