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Weird Teddy Facts

You might know him as the man who “Walked softly and carried a big stick”, but the once shy and sickly Roosevelt – he wasn’t supposed to live into his teens – lived a life to rival the boundless pursuits and accomplishments of founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson. Want to learn more about the remarkable 26th President? Read on.

  1. He was blind in one eye

An avid boxer during his Harvard days, even while in office he enjoyed rousing bouts with visitors and friends. A solid punch by a young army officer burst blood vessels in his left eye that left him nearly blind. After that he said that boxing was for “Younger, better sighted men.”

  1. His brother was an alcoholic

Teddy and his older brother Elliot were fast friends all their lives, but after they lost their mother – and Teddy his wife – Teddy went west to heal. While he was away Elliot married the love of his life, only for them to become separated due to his drinking problem. Some time after his return, Teddy was forced to institutionalize his brother, where he died. The loving brother then adopted his two nieces, whose mother had previously died. The name of one of those nieces? Eleanor.

  1. He and his second wife were childhood playmates

Edith Kermit Carrow and Theodore were friends since they were little, and it was assumed that he would marry her when they came of age. However, a few years before she assumed they would be married (according to her diary) Roosevelt fell for a lovely woman he met while at college, an Alice Hathaway Lee, whom he married soon after meeting. Edith was heartbroken. Alice died after only four years of marriage the day after their daughter, her namesake was born. A bordering suicidal and grieving Teddy left for the Wild West and three years later married Edith in secret, wanting to avoid his families (especially his big sister’s) opinion on the matter.

  1. He first gained publicity as a historian

Roosevelt’s first book was published at the ripe old age of 23. It was entitled The Naval History of the War of 1812, and earned him prestige as a historian. He would go on to write multiple volumes on military and American history including a four-volume account “The Winning of the West.” A true bibliophile, he wrote over 38 books during the course of his lifetime including an autobiography.

  1. He wasn’t supposed to live into adulthood

A severe asthmatic, his father often had to drive around the neighborhood with the future president standing through the sunroof so he could breathe. Doctors warned his family to neither expect him to live long nor to be able to accomplish much in what they assumed to be his short life span. Roosevelt replied that he would “ everything [doctor] you tell me not to do.” By staying active and constantly strengthening himself through various exercises he grew out of his asthma and became a boxing champion in college, not to mention an avid hunter and climbing the Matterhorn while on his honeymoon. So much for doctor’s orders!

  1. He was homeschooled

Due to his chronically sickly state as a child, he could not attend school, and so was tutored and taught by his mother, father, and a hired tutor for much of his childhood. Once he was done with his studies, he would disappear into the woods to collect and catalog specimens of every kind of creepy crawly which he would keep in his room. Once graduating from boarding school (for high school) he went to Harvard, where he graduated with honors after studying everything from zoology to German. So much for the unsocialized homeschooler myth!

  1. He helped furnish the Smithsonian

After leaving the Presidency, he and his wife went on a months long African safari trip, where Roosevelt went hunting. He donated many of his prizes to the Smithsonian upon his return, and many are still in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D. C.

  1. Upton SInclair’s The Jungle made him create some of America’s first food safety laws

Upton Sinclair’s eponymous expose of the meatpacking industry’s inhumane treatment of its workers was read by the President with utter horror. He immediately ordered an investigation of the meatpacking industry and within months Congress had passed The Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act at Roosevelt’s urging. Sinclair was actually rather disappointed in the result, as his goal had been to improve the worker’s lot, not so much meat quality, and reportedly quipped “I aimed for the public’s heart and by accident hit them in the stomach.”

  1. He had the first black man to dinner in the White House

Booker T. Washington, a former slave and founder of Tuskegee University, was good friends with Theodore Roosevelt and was invited to dinner. While other African-American confidants had been invited to the White House, but none of them had been invited to a meal – it was 1901 and segregation was a law on the books. The South replied by refusing that the meal had ever happened, but Roosevelt cared little what everybody thought.

  1. He wanted to keep America a world power

Roosevelt was always looking ahead to see how his actions could benefit future generations as well as the present, often in areas where other countries had failed or many Americans saw absolutely no point or reason. Although France had lost thousands of lives to malaria and yellow fever in the Central American country of Panama attempting to build a canal that would allow for faster and easier passage from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans, Roosevelt believed that the project could be completed. He sent doctors to the area to kill any places mosquitoes might breed, then brought in the best engineers and finished construction in nine years with minimal casualties. Roosevelt also prized nature, and set aside massive tracts of land to be preserved as National Parks and places of interest, including the Grand Canyon.

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Mad Men Dining Week 2015

March 23rd – 29th at The Roosevelt Hotel
This April marks the final season of AMC’s acclaimed television series, Mad Men, and we at the Roosevelt know how to end an era in style. From March 23rd-29th we’re partnering with NYC & Company to provide prix-fixe menus at both the Madison Club and Vander Bar, each just $19.69.

Start your trip through time with a shrimp cocktail and horseradish dipping sauce at the Madison Club followed by the main course, beef wellington finished with chasseur sauce. Then raise a glass at Vander Bar with two new classic cocktails, the Madhatten and the Dapper Fashion, both featuring Maker’s Mark. The only things we don’t provide is your suit and a cigar.

mad-men-menu--MCLGet a taste of the 1960’s during this week long homage to the Golden Age of Advertising!

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Can’t Decide What to Eat or Drink? We Can Help

VanderBar-FBSo close to Grand Central lies the perfect lunch spot. And guess what? Our menu just got a whole lot better! Stop by Vander Bar for our signature cocktail, the Bryant Park Breeze before an afternoon stroll in the park. Wash down some chicken parmesan sliders and an order of chipotle chicken wings with one of our 16 draft beers.

VandeBarLRWhere else can you find an Ahi Tuna BLT on sliced sour dough with peppered bacon, heirloom tomatoes, and Asian remoulade? Savor a glass of wine and lose track of time in the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps through our large, street-level retractable windows.

Whether you commute via Grand Central, work in the area, or are visiting nearby, the Vander Bar is worth a visit. Why have lunch anywhere else?

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Roosevelt Cuisine at Home

Did you catch The Roosevelt’s Executive Chef Robert Hohmann on the Kentucky Derby segment of Good Day New York in May? If you missed it, you can recreate the savory dish he prepared in the studio in your own kitchen. It’s also available on the regular mad46 menu.


Country Ham and Bourbon Risotto Arancini:


½ lbs. Arborio rice

¼ cup olive oil

¾ cups diced Spanish onions

½ Tbl. chopped garlic

1 quart chicken broth

¼ cup bourbon

¾ Tbl. thyme

¾ Tbl. chopped flat leaf parsley

¾ lbs. diced country ham

½ cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Add the olive oil and ham to a saucepan and cook until the fat is rendered out. Add the onions and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. When complete, add the rice to the pan and toast for about two minutes constantly stirring. Deglaze the pan with bourbon and continue stirring until reduced by half.

Start to add the chicken broth to the rice in three stages (for the first stage of the broth, bring to a boil then down to a simmer). When the first stage of broth has soaked into the rice, add the second stage and repeat until the rice is cooked. For the final step, fold in the remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread the risotto on a sheet pan and let it cool (can be done one day ahead). Portion risotto into 1 oz. balls and bread with flour, egg and Panko bread crumbs.

Pour cooking oil in a heavy large saucepan to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350˚ F. Working in batches, add the risotto balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, about 4 minutes. Turn as necessary for even browning. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the balls to paper towels to drain. Let rest a few minutes and serve hot.

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