by Christina Parrella, 10/16/2012
Photo: Malcolm Brown
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
28 E. 20th St., 212-260-1616, Flatiron District, Manhattan
Given his fondness for hunting, you'd expect Theodore Roosevelt to have been born in the Wild West, but America's 26th president was actually a coffee-loving New Yorker from Manhattan. (The Rough Rider is the only president to date to hail from NYC.) Born and raised at this Flatiron District brownstone just north of Union Square, Roosevelt lived at 28 East 20th Street until his family moved to West 57th when he was a teen. Famously sickly, "Teedie" spent much of his childhood indoors suffering from various ailments, but later went on to lead an extremely active life. Among his various accomplishments, Roosevelt was president of the City's Board of Police Commissioners; he led the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War; and, as president, pushed through progressive initiatives, earned a Nobel Peace Prize and helped establish the Panama Canal. He also once delivered an hour-plus-long campaign speech to a crowd in Milwaukee after having been shot in the chest during an assassination attempt a short time before. Even more impressive: the bullet was still in his body as he spoke (where it remained for the rest of his life). You can see the shirt he was wearing during that speech, as well as other artifacts and various period rooms at the remodeled town house. Rebuilt in 1919, the home contains furnishings from Roosevelt's childhood. Visitors can take a free guided tour.