Introducing: My Hometown Travels…and tell us about yours!
In light of the COVID pandemic, our routines have been and continue to be radically changed. Much like Alice Through the Looking Glass, my world, as a travel writer, has shrunk to the confines of the Upper West Side of Manhattan…my home for the last 35 years. Rather than heading to the airport to catch an international flight or board a ship to sail the seven seas, I leave home daily(wearing my mask) for a 2-3 mile walk thru my “hometown” to get some urgently needed exercise and frankly just to get out of the apartment! Inadvertently, my daily “mental health” pilgrimage has introduced me to several local hidden gems, that until now either I overlooked or took for granted. All are unique and would warrant a visit next time you find your way to the Big Apple.
In that spirit, I invite you to reciprocate. Share something special or meaningful with us about your hometown, region, state, or country…something you would want us to experience if we were able to visit…maybe a park, a restaurant, a store, or local sights. Just a paragraph or two and several JEPG’s and we’ll post it. Travel is about people, not just places and we would love to hear about something you feel is special about your “hometown”. Here is to awakening the travel writer in YOU!
My Hometown Travels: Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb?
You only get one guess!
Poor Ulysses S. has been the butt of that joke for years. The question has even appeared on innumerable class tests as a “freebie” ostensibly to add a touch of humor to reduce stress levels overtaking yet another exam.
In 1993, the answer to that age-old question came very close to changing. Apparently, in the early part of the last decade of the twentieth century, the tomb was in disrepair, awash with graffiti, and a haven for drug users and sellers! Oh, how I pine for the good old days in the Big Apple…The situation was so dire, Ulysses Grant Dietz, President’s Grant’s great-great-grandson, threatened to remove the remains and place them “somewhere where they were wanted” unless the National Parks Service coughed up some funds to rectify the bad times that had befallen the monument! A Columbia University student took on the cause and battled the National Park Service, which was charged with maintaining Grant’s Tomb. After two years of unsuccessful attempts to navigate the bureaucracy of the National Park Service, the student published a 325-page whistleblower report, which he sent to Congress and the President. This local, grassroots effort ultimately drew national media attention and resulted in a $1.8 million grant to restore and protect Grant’s Tomb. Now that’s what I call a true history lesson!
The General Grant National Memorial is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, and his wife, Julia Grant. It is located on Riverside Drive at West 122nd Street…across from Riverside Church. Leave your graffiti markers at home!