The more than $2 million home is the top tourist attraction, locals say
The Secret Service agents positioned outside the home rarely stir now
Every weekend, as if it’s just another stop on a tour route, dozens of cars pull up to Old House Lane here in Chappaqua to snap a picture of a white gate with a “Hillary” lawn sign.
The cars, usually carrying families or groups of friends, gawk as they drive timidly up the driveway, cautious about breaking any laws or spooking the Secret Service agents they believe could be hiding in the bushes.
Tourists are flocking to Hillary Clinton’s New York home, hoping to catch a glimpse of the presumptive Democratic nominee or her husband, the former president.
The more than $2 million home is the top tourist attraction in Chappaqua, locals say, with people driving from all over the state and further afield to take a picture in front of the large white gate the Clintons live behind.
Very little of the home, which was purchased in 1999, is visible from the street, though. When the gate opens – which is rare – people can get a glimpse of the stately house and its driveway.
But that isn’t what people are there for. Many just want to say they have been.
“I’d like to be able to say we give them their privacy, but the truth is when Bill is in town, you can trace his steps by the Facebook posts,” said Robert Greenstein, the New Castle town supervisor, which includes Chappaqua.
Greenstein, who was sworn in by Clinton when he was elected to the town council, said he was “a big believer in highlighting your assets, and while not everyone will agree with her politics, I think having a former president, a former senator, security of state and candidate for president living in your town is a good thing.”
After picking up a large piece of antique furniture on Saturday, Jamie Fishman and Carol Merle-Fishman pulled up to Clinton’s home on a mission: Take a picture of their “NOTTRUMP” license plate in front of the place the woman who could stop Trump spends most of her time.
“We were just up the road picking up this furniture, so I said, ‘Hillary lives nearby. Let’s go over there and take a picture,’ ” Jamie Fishman said, who was making his second stop at the house.
Fishman despises Trump enough that he went to his local New York Motor Vehicle Department office in April – right before the New York primary – to purchase his vanity plate. This has become Fishman’s thing: During the George W. Bush presidency, Fishman tried to get a “BUSHLIED” license plate, but after the department wouldn’t allow it, he settled on “EXITIRAQ.”
“I felt I needed something more than just a bumper sticker,” he said, even though above his vanity plate sat an “Elizabeth Warren for Senate” sticker.
Both Jamie and Carol said they would vote for Clinton in November, with Jamie more reluctant than Carol.
“I was a supporter of Bill and now I am a supporter of Hillary,” Carol said. “I feel very secure in her hands.”
The couple was just one of the more than two dozen cars that drive by Clinton’s house daily.
One groups of friends was in the area for a high school reunion and was making their regular trip to the home.
“There is usually a red car here,” one woman remarked.
Another car carried a middle-aged caregiver who wanted to drive her 93-year-old patient by Clinton’s house before they both voted for the former secretary of state in November.
And then there were college kids back from school who drove by the house before they voted in their first election.
The visitors are so frequent that they rarely even stir the Secret Service agents positioned outside the home. People usually drive up carefully – wary that they are breaking some Secret Service rule – but are surprised to see how hands off the agents actually are.
The reason? Clinton rarely, if ever, is seen in front of her house.
The former secretary of state and Bill Clinton usually zip in and out of their cul-de-sac with a police escort whenever they come or go from the home. Rarely do they walk out the front gate or into town. Clerks at Lange’s Little Store, the deli known as the place to see the Clintons, said that the couple hadn’t been in for months.
With two grandchildren in New York City, the first couple-turned-grandparents are now more likely to leave their suburban home to visit their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in the city, like they did earlier this month.
But even when the house is empty, the street remains busy. Cars come and go, the mail gets delivered and even an ice cream truck – whose driver hopes the piercing sound of children’s music will draw the first couple out of their home to buy a treat – makes the rounds.
It hasn’t happened yet, Bryan Fumagalli said one Sunday.
“Never seen them,” he said, even though he has a “Firecracker Pop” – a red, white and blue iced treat – ready to go if they did come out.
Fumagalli, who also runs the local news site PeekskillPost.net, said he tries to remain politically neutral and just wants to sell ice cream.
Despite all the movement on Old House Lane, though, the street is a bit of a dud.
“Nobody buys,” he said of the Clintons and their agents. “They just look at me, smile and wave.”