Ticker tapes and two presidents

A part of Broadway in lower Manhattan is called the Canyon of Heroes. Ticker tape parades used to take place along it, and these are now commemorated through granite plaques installed along the sidewalk. I walked along, looking at the strips reminding people of the games won by New York’s Yankees and Mets. On the way was the wonderful Georgian chapel you can see in the featured photo.

This is the 250 years old St. Paul’s Chapel, by now the oldest surviving building in New York. Interestingly, the building is made of the bedrock on which the island of Manhattan rests: the rock called Manhattan schist. The chapel is more well known because George Washington came here on the day of his first inauguration, and continued to come here regularly during the years when New York was the capital of the country.

New York City: Canyon of Heroes

I brought my attention back to the pavement of heroes: astronauts from the early days of space, Haile Selassie, and then, Radhakrishnan, the second president of India. I didn’t know that any Indian president had a ticker tape parade. The date was interesting: June 10, 1963. That’s the day Kennedy announced that the US was ready to enter into negotiations to stop atmospheric nuclear tests. About a year before that, China had invaded India during the Cuban missile crisis. At the end of the crisis, China withdrew its troops unilaterally. And on the same day that the US was ready to start on a new road to peace, the Indian president was given a ticker tape parade on Broadway. International politics was different then, but not completely different. Geography has a way of causing history to flow along certain channels.

A beer break

I had expected the Georgian windows in this three-story yellow brick building at the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets. I was surprised that both red and yellow bricks were used, a different colour on each frontage. The hipped roof did not look too out of place. At first sight the chimney was a surprise, although it shouldn’t have been. This version of the Fraunces Tavern came into existence in an architecturally controversial renovation in 1907. The original was built as a family house in 1719, before being sold to Samuel Fraunces in 1762. Fraunces established a tavern which he named the Queen’s Head.

New York City: Fraunces Tavern

I was happy to walk up the few steps from the street into the dim interior. This pub was part of my Hamiltonian walk. The revolutionary war started soon after the New York Chamber of Commerce was founded in this tavern. During the war, the roof was destroyed in cannon fire. Repairs may have been made by the time George Washington hosted a farewell dinner for his officers here. I later learnt of an inglorious board of inquiry which tried to retain slaves who had been set free at the end of the war, and were to sail away with British troops.

The tavern is on the lowest floor. The upper floors are museums run by the present owners, The Sons of the Revolution. I decided that I preferred to nurse a beer. I sat down at a table and tried to choose from their selection on tap. An oyster flavoured stout was something I wouldn’t mind missing. So the choice boiled down to a heavy stout or a lighter porter. I went with the stout.