New York Today: Past Presidential Visits
Good morning on this radiant Wednesday.
President Trump will visit the city tomorrow in his first trip back since moving to the White House.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia aboard the Intrepid for a reception and dinner to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the United States and Australia fought Japan.
Presidents often find themselves in our city, but their reasons and objectives have shifted throughout modern history, said Timothy Naftali, a presidential historian at New York University. Here are a few:
Homecomings. During the 19th and 20th centuries, presidential visits were often hometown trips, Professor Naftali said, since several politicians — Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt — sprang to the White House from their New York power bases.
Global attention. As the homecoming trips waned, the creation of the United Nations, which was formed in 1945 and moved into its Manhattan headquarters a few years later, attracted presidential attention. “The U.N. ensured that presidents would come to the city,” Professor Naftali said.
Scenes of despair. During the 1970s and ’80s, presidents didn’t come to New York to celebrate the city’s values and successes: “It was used as a backdrop of despair, of the America that had lost its way.”
President Jimmy Carter made what he called “a very sobering trip” to Charlotte Street and the South Bronx in 1977, inspecting the borough’s burned-out and abandoned buildings as residents shouted “Give us money!” and “We want jobs!” He pledged federal aid to rehabilitate the area.
Revitalization and hope. With the Wall Street boom of the ’80s, Presidential trips tended to highlight the rebuilding of America.
In 1986, President Reagan visited Governors Island to “unveil” a renovated Statue of Liberty with a laser light show, a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens and a dazzling fireworks display.
“New York was a tale of two cities for Reagan,” Professor Naftali said. “The New York of failed government that he ran on, and the New York of his administration, with a glistening Statue of Liberty and a thriving economy.”
Two decades after Jimmy Carter’s visit, President Bill Clinton stopped by Charlotte Street to praise the area as a model of urban renewal.
And in 2001, President George W. Bush visited ground zero after the Sept. 11 attacks, bullhorn in hand, to thank the rescue workers and let New Yorkers know that the nation mourned with them.
Homecoming (again). On Thursday, Mr. Trump’s trip will be a throwback to a more hometown type of presidential visit, Professor Naftali said.
It’s reminiscent of a time when a president knew the city’s political leaders and “had a more granular vision of the city,” he added.
Even so, having a president with hometown ties has always meant one drawback for New Yorkers, Professor Naftali said: “traffic snarls.”
You can expect those later this week.
Here’s what else is happening:
Good day, sunshine!
Things are looking pretty perfect: clear skies, blue as far as the eye can see, and a comfy high of 64.
Up and at ’em.
• Amtrak could close tracks at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan for 44 days, in July and almost all of August, for repairs. [New York Times]
• How has Mayor Bill de Blasio performed on education issues? [New York Times]
• A lawsuit asserts that Robert A. Durst’s second wife helped conceal the killing of his first. [New York Times]
• In “About New York,” the columnist Jim Dwyer writes of his recent interview with Judith Clark, who was sentenced in 1983 to a minimum of 75 years in prison. [New York Times]
• Years later, the Staten Island street where Eric Garner died struggles to recover. [WNYC]
• And this year’s Tony Awards nominations go to … [New York Times]
• The chef Thomas Keller has built a food empire, but he’s now at a crossroad. [New York Times]
• Google has “gobbled up even more space” in the Meatpacking district. [The Real Deal]
• A Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor and mother of six was fatally shot in Brooklyn. [DNAinfo]
• A new area code, 332, is coming to New York City. [DNAinfo]
• Apply here: “Tortoise Walker Wanted in Central Park.” [Gothamist]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Making Change at the Bank”
• Scoreboard: Braves menace Mets, 9-7. Yankees ground Blue Jays, 11-5. Rangers stifle Senators, 4-1.
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Wednesday Briefing.
• Enjoy some peace and quiet — and art — during early morning hours at the Museum of Modern Art, beginning at 7:30 a.m. [$15]
• Learn how to compost, at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. 1 p.m. [Free]
• A screening of “Indiscreet,” followed by a discussion of the film, at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 2 p.m. [$8]
• Learn how to build a boat, at Pier 40 in Lower Manhattan. 3 p.m. [Free]
• Attend swing-dance lessons and a dance party at Bryant Park in Midtown. 6 p.m. [Free]
• Yankees host Blue Jays, 7:05 p.m. (YES). Mets at Braves, 7:35 p.m. (SNY).
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
• Alternate-side parking remains in effect until May 25.
Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is really a sight to see this month.
“This is the time when everything is green, our cherry blossoms are blooming and all of the wildlife is coming out,” said Christa Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the cemetery.
Bird-watchers can catch a glimpse of owls or the monk parakeets that have nested in the gate’s gothic arches, Ms. Sullivan said.
A few events at Green-Wood this month:
• Go birding on Saturday before the cemetery opens to the general public, or on Sundays this month. [$15]
• Learn how to identify the more than 9,000 trees that populate the cemetery, on Saturday. [$50]
• Search for nocturnal animals, including frogs and owls, on a tour on May 13.
• Take a Hamilton-themed trolley tour on May 13, visiting the gravestones of Alexander Hamilton’s family members and friends. [$25 for nonmembers.] (Mr. Hamilton is buried at Trinity Church Cemetery in Lower Manhattan).
• Taste cider made with apples from the cemetery’s more than 150 apple trees, and attend a workshop on how to make cider, on May 21. [$30]
• On May 28, bring a blanket and listen to a concert of works from famous songwriters buried in Green-Wood, including Fred Ebb, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Leonard Bernstein. [$20]
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