Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Little History Lesson

Last Saturday, I thought I'd go to yoga class.

"I'll just stop by the festival in Hamilton Park for a minute on my way," I thought.

Famous last words.

I ran into Roberta, and we gabbed on a park bench. Then I saw Alex, who I hadn't seen since the mid-nineties at Marvel. I bought a cookie, gave half to Denise's kid, wandered around with Alex and Denise, then just Denise, then ran into Tom, and at some point, yoga was long past. Plus I'd eaten part of a cookie, which kind of defeats the entire point of yoga anyway.

But it was peanut butter. So that's probably okay. Nuts are good for you, right?

I spent the whole day in Hamilton Park, which is a wonderful place that just re-opened after renovations. I live in Yancey's apartment, but when he finally returns, he's going to have to pry me out of here with a bulldozer. I'm not going anywhere (besides for a trip, I mean). Unless it's somewhere else on Hamilton Park, which is a mid-1800s residential square of brownstones and trees. The renovations include tennis courts, dog runs, a water spray park, a playground, basketball court, and gazebo. What would it take to lure me out of here and back to Manhattan? A lot. And a lot of money to get a similar set-up.

But why, I wondered, is it called Hamilton Park? Is it after Alexander Hamilton, who lost his life in nearby Weehawken in 1804?

I grabbed my Encyclopedia of New Jersey and turned to the H section.

Hamilton... Hamilton-Burr Duel... Hamilton House Museum... Hammonton.

Crap. No Hamilton Park.

Google turned up a totally different Hamilton Park. In Weehawken. Where there is a monument to Alexander Hamilton that includes a bust and his "death rock."

This morning, I set out to clean my garage. But at the last minute, I turned the wheel on Henry the 1990 Ford Taurus and headed north to Weehawken.

Here's is what we saw at Hamilton Park, Weehawken, which is located on the cliff above the actual duel spot. The rock is the actual rock Burr used to hit Hamilton on the head on July 11, 1804.*

More photos here.

*The Encyclopedia of New Jersey, which is a fine reference source, had some other story about this rock. I don't know. Go read it.


Tom said...

A little more local history...

Marie said...

Squabbling early on, that's JC!