Must-See Upper East Side
by nycgo.com staff , 02/25/2014
Photo: Julienne Schaer
East End Avenue and East 88th Street, 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside the City)
Before Gracie Mansion became New York City's official mayoral residence in 1942, Archibald Gracie's once-rural Federal-style retreat had served as an ice cream parlor, an adult-education venue and the first location of the Museum of the City of New York. Tours, conducted most Wednesdays, reveal the building's faux finishes, its impressive collection of decorative arts (such as the gargoyle-crowned chandelier dangling above the breakfast table in the Wagner Wing) and the handiwork of Jamie Drake, the celebrity interior designer who oversaw a 2002 renovation. Reservations should be made well in advance (visit nyc.gov for more information). If you can't get in, consider strolling the adjacent grounds of Carl Schurz Park. The rolling, multitier landscape, co-designed by Calvert Vaux, overlooks tumultuous Hell Gate—the intersection of the East River, Harlem River and Long Island Sound.