Historic Houses in NYC
by Annie Bergen, 04/23/2013
Photo: Julienne Schaer
Carl Schurz Park, East End Avenue and East 88th Street, 212-570-4773, Upper East Side, Manhattan
New York City's mayors have resided there since 1942, but Gracie Mansion was once the country home of Archibald and Esther Gracie, a wealthy Scottish shipping merchant and his wife. Far away from the workaday world downtown (back then, at least), the area that is now known as the Upper East Side offered a serene setting for a large home where the Gracies could entertain in grand style. Completed in 1799, the mansion is in the Federal style, with wide porches and a generous yard with views of the East River. Under the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, the house has acquired furnishings that illustrate New York's rich history. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg chose not to use the house as a private residence but transformed it into the "People's House," with increased access for the public and City agencies (it remains to be seen what his successor will do). It's open to the public for guided tours on Wednesdays, and special tea tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Don't Miss: the foyer's faux-marble floor and the dining room with its 1830s wallpaper depicting French gardens.