Marquis de Lafayette visits New York City

New York has a couple of major roads, a high school, even a housing project named after Lafayette, the French military leader who became a Major General in the Continental Army and promoted democracy at home in France.

He was a big hero in post-Revolutionary War years. So to help celebrate America’s 50th birthday, Lafayette was invited back to the U.S. in 1824.

His arrival in August of that year put the city in the grip of Lafayette fever. 

A third of the population of New York at that time—50,000 people—greeted him on lower Broadway.

      Touring Manhattan, he attended parties, plays, and a spectacular ball at Castle Clinton in his honor before taking off to visit the rest of the country. 

A plaque in the West Village marks his visit. It’s on Hudson Street affixed to P.S. 3.

At the time, the school was run by the “Free School Society” and was considered a fine example of public education, worthy enough to show the Marquis.

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5 Responses to “Marquis de Lafayette visits New York City”

  1. Nyc Psychic Says:

    wow i didn;t know all those facts…thanks i remember it when i got inot the Lafayette train stop.

  2. Socky Says:

    That painting shows how he looked as a powdered-wig youth of 19, not the elderly Chateaubriand-like grandée who visited in 1824.

  3. Three different ways of seeing Hudson Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] That’s P.S. 3 on the corner of Grove Street, with the flagpole on the mansard roof. And trolley tracks run up the center of the street, notes the caption to the photo, both published in 1976′s New York Then and Now. […]

  4. The sad fate of these Lafayette Street columns | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] fever was running high in the city; the Revolutionary War hero had just made a rock star-like return visit to the grateful metropolis in […]

  5. Chris Snyder Says:

    My great great great Grandmother Anne Brown Thomas was a student at the school when the Marquis visited. She wrote a poem in his honor that she read to him upon his arrival.

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