In 1799, a prosperous New York merchant named Archibald Gracie built a country house overlooking a bend in the East River, five miles north of the City. Financial failure forced Gracie to sell his house, which then went through a series of owners until landing in the hands of the City of New York in 1896, which made its 11 acres of grounds into the newly-formed Carl Schurz Park.
After decades of use as a concession stand and restrooms for the park, Gracie Mansion was restored and became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. When the museum was moved to a larger building, Gracie Mansion became an historic house museum run by the Parks Department until 1942 when Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced City authorities to designate it as the official residence of the Mayor, moving Fiorello H. La Guardia in.
In 2002, the interior and exterior were restored, and the house was transformed into the “People’s House” with increased accessibility to the public and to City agencies, this was due in part because the current Mayor, Bloomberg, chose not to reside at the mansion. Only the family of the mayor and their official guests are allowed to stay overnight in the mansion, but Bloomberg is single and has had a series of girlfriends while in office. Similarly, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was forced to move from the mansion when his live-in girlfriend was not allowed to sleep in the building. Regardless, the mansion has been used to accommodate visiting officials and dignitaries, such as former guests First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Nelson Mandela. It is open to the public most Wednesdays at 10 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM and 2 PM with an appointment (call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK for information).
88th St, New York, NY – (212) 570-4751
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