There is something exciting when you make your way through New York City to a suburb off the Hudson known as Irvington-on-the-Hudson. A statue of an old man with a long beard is found down the main street of Irvington, the statue of Rip Van Winkle. The town next to Irvington is another treasure from Washington Irving's fiction, the legendary Sleepy Hollow of the headless horsemen fame, and yes, you can walk down a wooded path towards an old Dutch church depicted in the story.
Yet even with a castle, Irving's home, and the nation's first gothic mansion, Irvington-on-the-Hudson is more fascinating because of an old building that housed some of the most brilliant minds in economics, the Foundation for Economic Education(FEE) located on South Broadway. CLICK READ MORE for the extension.
It is here at the historical home of FEE that brilliant minds are formed. The students receive a room and have a schedule of classes and meetings for the week. The classroom is tiny as it was an addition to the home, but once the classes begin the room takes on a life of its own. There is the chalkboard to which Leonard Read, Israel Kirzner, Ludwig von Mises, and countless of other great minds had taught on. The same podium they stood behind to lecture upon the effects of the market that are perceived by man such as prices and cooperation.
My seminar was the second session for Freedom University the summer of 2007. There was some trouble with housing due to government intervention in the housing for the ladies, but as is proven in the classroom, problems can be overcome.
The lectures were structured to allow the students to grasp the next lecture topic with more enthusiasm. The President of the Foundation and his wife gave lectures themselves and had all the students break into groups for discussion in the evenings. Discussions were not scarce at FEE, I doubt they ever were, but some played Devil's advocate fishing for answers to the questions that could stump the market while others questioned the lecturers on topics of philosophy, ethics, and economics.
I absolutely adored the time at FEE. The sticky summer month of August was just beginning, but it did not keep many of the students from spending time outdoors playing any type of sport they could. It was a bonding moment for students to find others that shared their same interests. The attendees were fascinating. Although the attendees are more up your alley if you are just getting into the subject of freedom and economics or are a young student.
This had to be my favorite place to visit throughout the summer. The lecturers are personal. The building giving you something new to admire no matter what room you are in, and the hospitality was completely admirable as some evenings were spent watching a movie while others you danced with a lesson on swing dancing by one of the lecturers. If you can, sign up for a seminar at FEE. It is worth it even though you do not get any time off to visit NYC. When you have a thing like FEE, there is no need.