A Little Bit of Paris: Columbia University, Riverside Drive, Grant’s Tomb & International House  
The site of the General Grant National Memorial was an important site in the American Revolution. High on a promontory, overlooking the Hudson River, it was here that President George Washington had envisioned building the United States Capitol. Join tour leader Justin Ferate as we discover this romantic Parisian-inspired neighborhood, conceived by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted to be the pivotal sight on their grand Parisian-style thoroughfare, Riverside Drive.

We’ll begin our tour with a visit to the Columbia University campus, designed by Charles Follen McKim of McKim, Mead & White. We’ll view the iconic Low Library and the beloved statues of Alma Mater, by Daniel Chester French and The Thinker by Auguste Rodin. If available, we hope to visit St. Paul’s Chapel, with its splendid Guastavino vaulted ceilings and magnificent stained glass windows by John La Farge. As we stroll the neighborhood, we’ll discuss institutions such as Barnard College, Teachers College, and Union Theological Seminary. We’ll visit and explore Grant’s Tomb – modeled after Les Invalides in Paris – the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Discover the International House New York, a private, non-profit residence and program center oriented to international graduate students, scholars engaging in research, trainees, and interns. Founded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to foster international communications, the informal daily interaction among its 700 international residents, from over 100 countries, combine with specially designed programs, facilities and residential life to foster diversity of thought and experience. International House has been known to attract prominent guest speakers through the years, from Eleanor Roosevelt and Isaac Stern to Sandra Day O'Connor and Nelson Mandela.

The original entrance to International House is inscribed with the motto written by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: "That Brotherhood May Prevail.” The 500 Riverside Drive building, designed in the Italianate style by architects Louis E. Jallade and Marc Eidlitz and Sons, was built in 1924 and was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as International House in 1999.
Adjacent to International House is another Rockefeller bequest: Sakura Park (“sakura” means “cherry blossom” in Japanese), the site of Japan's original gift of cherry trees to New York City in 1912. (Hopefully, they’ll be in bloom!) In 1960, the City of Tokyo gave the gift of a tōrō lantern, when New York became her sister city. Former Crown Prince and current Emperor of Japan, Akihito, attended the official dedication on October 10 of that year. Crown Prince Akihito would later rededicate the tōrō with his princess in 1987.

Dominating Sakura Park are two walkways lined with mature linden trees, with branches meeting overhead, to form a leafy arcade. Between the two walkways is a lawn, ornamented with a gazebo and planted with cherry trees. When the cherry trees bloom, people of Japanese ancestry come to celebrate Hanami (flower viewing) and spread picnic blankets under the trees. The cherry bloom is preceded in spring by bulbs, beginning with snowdrops and continuing through tulips. This is one of New York’s treasured “secret gardens!”

We’ll also view a little-known bronze statue of General Daniel Adams Butterfield by the noted sculptor Gutzon Borglum (of Mount Rushmore fame). The statue is oriented toward Grant's Tomb across Riverside Drive positioning Butterfield to view the tomb of his fellow Civil War general and the president in whose cabinet he served. General Butterfield experimented with bugle calls for his troops and is credited with the composition of “Taps.”
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Date: Saturday April 16, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM  to approximately 4:00 PM
Cost: $ 28 in advance | $ 33 on-site (By check to Johanna Sterbin)
Meet: East side of Broadway at West 116th Street – at the entrance of “College Walk” at Columbia University.
Train: 2/3 Express Train to 96th Street and transfer to 1 Local Train to 116th Street.
Tours operate rain or shine. Please dress appropriately. For more information or to confirm meeting locations please call (212) 223-2777. Please note that tours sometimes run late. While tours are rarely cancelled you can call the number above to confirm, or join our mailing list to keep informed of cancellations due to extreme weather conditions.
Justin Ferate's Tours of the City | www.justinsnewyork.com
 
Justin Ferate's Tours of the City    |    (212) 223-2777    |    
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