Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the stars and stripes on June 14, 1777. Celebrate this holiday by spending some time at one of New York City’s most patriotic sites. Herewith, the five places in New York that we find most moving and most stirring. By Jessica Allen.
Empire State Building
Perhaps an unconventional choice on a list of patriotic sites, the Empire State Building nevertheless warrants a spot. Rising 103 stories above Fifth Avenue (that’s more than a quarter mile!), the building stands as a testament to American ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and commerce. For almost 40 years, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world. Today, it still boasts really awesome views of New York City, itself central to the history of the United States and no doubt one of the country’s most patriotic cities.
Pay your respects to the past by enjoying a meal in a room where George Washington once hung out and important decisions were hashed out. In late 1783, having successfully severed the colonies from Great Britain, Washington bid adieu to his troops at Fraunces Tavern, then attempted to retire from public life. For a while after the war, the building served as the offices for the Departments of Foreign Affairs, War and Treasury. The well-appointed museum holds such artifacts as paintings, newspapers, flags, a sliver from Washington’s coffin, and a lock of his hair.
Grand Army Plaza
Grand Army Plaza provides a classical, sweeping entrance into Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, designed by Calvert Vaux, who also worked on Central Park. Inside the plaza sits the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, dedicated in 1892 and honoring those who died in the Civil War. To us, it echoes another famous memorial arch, the Arc de triomphe in Paris, in scope and grandeur. The plaza also features a fountain as well as sculptures, statues, and busts of Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and notable New Yorkers.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Commemorating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum pays moving tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of those attacks as well as those who perished in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The eight-acre memorial includes the names of everyone who perished inscribed in bronze around two huge pools in the footprints of the original towers. The museum documents 9/11 through artifacts, artistic renderings, multimedia projects, obituaries, and other objects from and about that day.
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Since its dedication in 1886, the Statue of Liberty has symbolized freedom and democracy to all who look upon her 31 tons of copper bulk rising out of New York Harbor. Indeed, the Statue of Liberty is probably the most patriotic site in the entire United States. A cruise, or trip on the Staten Island Ferry, will put you in close proximity to the statue, but for the full experience consider visiting Liberty Island (advance reservations are required to visit the pedestal or to go up into the crown).