While motoring along the Upper West Side of Manhattan a dozen years ago, a writer for the New Yorker explained to the actress Anouk Aimee that the neoclassical granite monstrosity high on a bluff above the Hudson River was Grant's Tomb.
Now, with a gala centennial planned for April 26, the National Park Service is finally giving Ulysses S. Grant a face lift. The agency has spent $1.8 million fixing the roof, painting the plaster and scrubbing away graffiti at Grant's Tomb. It has also replaced hundreds of granite flagstones in the tomb's plaza that had been crushed by marauding New York City garbage trucks.
Grant's descendants sued the U.S. Park Service, which maintains the tomb as a national monument, for neglect. They were furious that the tomb had become a hangout for drug users, muggers and indiscriminate urinators. The kin also were irritated that each summer thousands of Harlem residents picnicked at the tomb for jazz concerts.
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