Posts Tagged ‘William McKinley in New York City’

A Bronx park memorializes three dead presidents

February 20, 2013

Is this a scene from the South Bronx, or a small town in middle America in this circa-1910 postcard? It’s the former, of courseā€”a view of a pocket park called McKinley Square, at 169th Street and Boston Road.

Hard to believe how old-timey the Bronx looked then. Just one automobile can be seen in the distance. Telephone poles dot the sidewalks, a liberty flag post stands tall, and there’s an ad for Zeman chocolates (bon-bons!) on the side of a row of tenements.


Just after the turn of the century, the square was named for President William McKinley, cut down by an anarchist’s bullet in Buffalo in 1901.

But he’s not the only president memorialized here. Three oak trees (they must be the ones in the postcard) planted during a dedication ceremony were named Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, “after the three martyred presidents,” a 1903 New York Times article tells us.

Postcard via Bronx history site

When tenements were named for U.S. presidents

December 1, 2010

I wonder if New Yorkers respected their presidents more around the turn of the 20th century, when all of these residences went up.

Or perhaps developers gave their buildings presidential monikers because they were all constructed in poor neighborhoods.

Maybe having the name of a leader above the front entrance lent a low-rent tenement a more aspirational air.

Whatever the reason, there sure are a lot of presidentially named buildings. Lincoln (on West 51st Street) is understandable, and Roosevelt (East 14th Street) was New York’s former governor.

But McKinley’s (East Village) connection to New York? I’m not aware of one. His may be a sympathy choice; he was assassinated in 1901, right around when the building named for him appeared.