Who are the people in your neighborhood?

On a lovely Sunday afternoon stroll today, I discovered a historical marker indicating that Carl Sandburg spent some time living in a home just around the corner from me, and penned his famous poem, “Chicago,” while living there. I also discovered recently that a nearby cemetary gives rest to Oscar Mayer, Montgomery Ward, and Richard Sears.

So who have you been surprised to find out lived near you? I’m not talking about being from the same town - let’s hear about the people in your neighborhood?

This is a leafy, affluent suburb close in to NYC, so we have/had loads of notable people. Cornelius Vanderbilt built our train station. Stan Getz, Rev. Moon, Julie Harris, Alelia Walker Robinson (the hair straightener heiress), Jay Gould (railroad baron)…too many to list, really. Debra Winger lives a block and half from me. We also have a lot of TV newspeople for some reason. I run into them walking the trail or on the train.

There was a first lady who was born one block from my house.

Grace Kelly lived a couple of blocks from me.

Big, old frame building on Hermitage? HelloNinja, you live down the block from me!

Two of these people don’t live nearby anymore, but they used to be less than a five minute walk away.

Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain.

Gerry Dinardo, former head football coach at Vanderbilt Univ. and LSU.

Ward Churchill, asshole.

I live right next to Rock Creek Cemetary which is the final resting place of:

[li]Upton Sinclair[/li][li]the creator of Wonderbread[/li][li]Alice Roosevelt[/li][li]Henry Adams and his wife[/li][/ul]

One of my favorite facts about the cemetary is that Upton Sinclair is buried across the lane from the food industrialist who created Wonderbread.

Tommy Douglas, the former Premier of Saskatchewan who was picked in a CBC popular survey as the “Greatest Canadian”, used to live a five minute walk from where I live. And Brian Dickson, one of Canada’s greatest Supreme Court judges, went to high school a few blocks from here.

The Sydney residences of the Prime Minister (Kirribilli House) and the Governor-General (Admiralty House) are only a few minutes’ walk from my place.

Bruce Lee is buried about a half-mile from my door.

The publisher of The Progressive magazine lives a block from me.

Thomas Edison and Jefferson Davis both lived within a hundred meters of my apartment at one time or another.

Why is this in Cafe Society? Just wondering?

Patch Adams lives in my neighborhood.

I live a couple of blocks from Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace, but I think he actually lived somewhere else in town. The house he was born in belonged to his grandfather. But his name is on the WWI memorial in Scoville park, which is nearby, and he attended the high scool down the street.

Also, the last I heard, actor John Mahoney lives somewhere around here.

Judy Tenuta used to live in Oak Park, and I once saw her walking down the street with Emo Phillips, but that was years ago.

President James K. Polk was married in my (once) little town.

Grantland Rice, sportswriter was born here.

Colonel Hardy Murfree, Revolutionary War Hero, founded our community, & it buried here.

Andre Norton, science fiction writer, lived here for many years.

Margaret Rhea Seddon (M.D.)–former Astronaut.

Oh, the postman is a person in my neighborhood.

Osama BinLaden is ‘from’ Jeddah, although I do not know if he was born here. (I maintain his family is hiding him in town. If I see a 2.3M tall guy in a thobe, I’m taking him to the US Counsel for my reward.)

Legend has it that Eve is buried in town, although the government concreted her tomb up to prevent unlawful religious practices.

Bob Wills and a couple of the Texas Playboys used to share a house down the street from me.

Just the list of famous people who have lived in my general neighborhood (Harlem) is long. Limiting it to those who I know have lived a handful of blocks away: going back a ways, Alexander Hamilton and John James Audobon had estates near here. Ralph Ellison wrote Invisible Mannot far up Riverside Drive. I believe the actress Marcia Gay Harden lives not too far from here. And the Royal Tenenbaums’ house is just a few blocks away.

My hometown contains the birthplace of President Grover Cleveland, and the home that supposedly belongs to the Sopranos is around the corner from where I lived in high school.