Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Break, Part 5: Hyde Park, FDR's House

As Sunday rolled around, we needed to head home to Akron. I'd already looked into visiting Franklin D. Roosevelt's house in Hyde Park before the trip, and it looked like I'd get my wish -- cause unless we wanted to drive through the middle of Manhattan and a million tunnels (which we didn't), we'd pass relatively close to it. Along the way, we *Happened* to pass through Chappaqua, NY -- current residence of the Clintons! Alan Arkin (from Little Miss Sunshine) and "the lead singer of Survivor" also live here apparently. You'd think you'd be able to find a decent restaurant, but we couldn't find a single one! Arr.
Haha, also on the way there we crossed this toll free bridge. (The two in Manhattan cost 8 bucks a piece! Craziness!) It had several signs warning "DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF BRIDGE" that were pretty serious. Naturally, Sarah had to stick it to'm - so for you're viewing pleasure, THE FORBIDDEN BRIDGE!:
After a morning of driving, and brunching at a Quizno's, we finally arrived in "Hyde Park, New York" -- home of our 32nd President, winner of World War II and fighter of the Great Depression. Unfortunatly, we had missed the last tour time by 20 minutes-- and the next would not be for an hour and 40 minutes :( Sarah, being infinity patient and willing to give in to my urge for Presidential sites and history this oooone time we were in New York agreed, for which I am very grateful :) (Besides, in the end I was the one driving home from 11pm to 3:30am.)

Anyway, as for Hyde Park -- it was pretty interesting. More museum-y than Sarah's taste unfortunately, so she didn't enjoy it as much as TR's house or the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum back in Illinois. But springbreak was coming to an end and we were both tense with getting home in time for school and her co-op.

There was a main visitor building with (what in summer will be) Fala-the-President's-scottish-terrier-shaped bushes, a giftshop, little meeting rooms-etc. center, the main museum and library, and then his house, burial garden, green house, and horse stable. It also led into what was kinda like a metropark that might be nice to explore the trails of if we had more time and day light.

He said what he wanted for his memorial while he was still in office (in like '35 or something, ten years before actually dying) as "about this big, made of white granite" (indicates his desk.)

FDR going out and speaking to the people! I imagine this would be considered offensive today.

Interesting story: the Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was forced to leave her home country when the Nazi's took over, and aware of FDR's penchant for naval models - promised him that if he could return her to her palace he would send him the finest recreation of her best ship (or something to that effect.) Though she returned home after he died, she still sent a model to his Presidential Library as a thank you for all he did.

Historical, topic-specific ties! There were a handful in the giftshop too, but too expensive.

I tell ya, ya can't go anywhere without seeing Teddy Roosevelt! Here are some campaign materials for him, I think while FDR was in college.

Sarah models FDR's car he used to drive around the Hyde Park area, special gears to control breaks and gas from the wheel-level because of his paralysis. And below is a picture of his desk from the White House, as it appeared during his presidency:

FDR liked things pretty darned cluttered. The walls were covered top to bottom with pictures of ships, and famous battles (though only one picture of Eleanor Roosevelt in the house.) We later saw that she had her own crappy bedroom, next to his fun awesome one, and his wifes fun awesome one. No big surprise - she didn't stay there often. Sarah and the tour guide briefly discussed their relationship, and how it didn't go so well after FDR's mother prevented them from getting a divorce to save face among NY's elite. Though the tour guide abruptly avoided the topic, my own understanding of history includes several of the both of their affairs -- Eleanor's suspected though only circumstantially proven female companion Lorena Hickock, and FDR's well documented affair with Lucy Mercer.

So, when Sarah asked "Did they ever cheat on each other?" the tour guide kinda roughly said "There's no documentation." but the stuff on the internet is much more juicy. Wikipedia notes stories of while Eleanor was off, her cousin (Teddy's daughter) Alice would invite Franklin and Lucy over for dinner, saying once: "He deserves to have a good time, afterall, he's married to Eleanor..." Various other stories exist on the internet. But I personally am a huge fan of Eleanor Roosevelt, and know that my grandmother was too. She was one of the first, and most visible of the strong women leaders of the 20th century and contributed a ton with a great personality.

Back of the Hyde Park house. Err, and the people we were on the tour with - every tour I go on, there are annoying people. These people had strong New Jersey accents. I don't really remember what they did to bother me though.
FDR's backyard. As Sarah noted, "AWESOME for sledding!!!" Well, that's it for now I think. Part's 3 and 4 will consist of the two days in NYC (coming soon I promise! It's a big undertaking, so I'm putting it off...) and Part 6 will be Scranton, PA!!! So stay tuned and Happy Easter Everyone!

Quote of the Day:
Song of the Day: "Yes" by LMFAO. This song has been stuck in my head for a couple days now (not actually during Spring Break mind you...) The lyrics are all about how "everyday he lives his dream" and his dream sounds pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself, with one small correction as I noted. I actually found this song because xcrippledhope signs the song on Youtube, and I find his videos really interesting. (The ones that are sign language of good songs anyway.)

"Grandma's cookin breakfast,
she makes pancakes the best.
I check my MySpace
and I got alotta friend requests.
I get to dancin' as I,
Walk through my mansion cuz I,
Own porperty from California to the Hamptons and I,
Sip from my water fountain that spits soda, Pop!
Look out the window and wave at my nextdoor neighbor Oprah..."

Picture of the Day: Haha, I don't remember how I accidentally found this the other day -- but saw this and it reminded me of Brittany.

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