Obama Tarrytown visit: Irving was no stranger to presidents


Wednesday, 5/14/2014 11:50am

Today President Obama visits the boat club in Tarrytown that bears the name of beloved author, Washington Irving. During his life, Irving met Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, as well as (by his own account) George Washington (shown at right, a watercolor depicting Irving as a boy meeting George Washington: Washington and Irving by George Bernard Butler, Jr., watercolor on paper, 1854, Historic Hudson Valley). 

President Obama plans to speak in front of the backdrop of the Tappan Zee, which Irving mentions in the first few lines of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as "that broad expansion of this river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and there they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed..." (St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and ships and offers safe voyages and protection from storms).

Irving was a diplomat, an avid historian, and a presidential biographer, and we think he would have been thrilled with this latest presidential visit to a spot just a stone's throw away from his beloved home, Sunnyside.



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