Carl Schurz Park
East 88th and East End Avenue
New York, NY 10128
Hours: Mondays only-10:00am. 11:00am and 5:00pm. See their website at www1.nyc.gov/site/Gracie/visit/visit page or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: There are free house tours at 10:00am, 11:00am and 5:00pm on Mondays only. Check their website for availability. This is one of the few rare treats of New York if you can snare one of the tours of Gracie Mansion. It is a really interesting tour of the first floor rooms and entrance to the gardens of this historic home and the Mayor of New York City’s residence.
This was really a wonderful tour of the mansion given by one of the interns who worked for the Mayor. We started the tour in the extension Wagner Wing addition that was added in the 1960’s by the Wagner Administration. We saw the formal ballroom, library and meeting room and then the hallway leading to the front of the house which is the original part of the mansion. We saw of the original house the formal living room, dining room and reception hall by the front door and got to peek out at the formal gardens which were being set up for a party.
There is a lot of interesting art work on loan from museums, period furniture some from the Gracie family as well as some of the current Mayor’s books. There are interesting stories about each room plus the whole history of the Gracie family who had been big in shipping and trade at one time.
It is a one hour tour and it is well worth it to tour the mansion on its history alone.
Gracie Mansion, built in 1799 by shipping merchant Archibald Gracie, is the last of the elegant county estates that once lined Manhattan’s East River shore. Gracie hosted elegant dinner parties at his country estate for visitors including Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, Joseph Bonaparte and Washington Irving.
Major losses during the years after the War of 1812 forced Gracie to sell his estate in 1823 to Joseph Foulke. In 1857, the Mansion was bought by Noah Wheaton. After Wheaton’s death in 1896, the City of New York appropriated the estate, incorporating ts 11 acres of grounds into the surrounding park that was renamed Carl Schurz Park in 1910.
After years as a comfort station and ice cream stand, Gracie Mansion became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. When the museum moved to a larger building, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced City Authorities to designate the Mansion as the official residence of the Mayor. In 1942, Fiorello H. La Guardia moved into Gracie Mansion.
In 1966, the Mansion was enlarged with the construction of the Susan E. Wagner Wind, which includes a ballroom and two additional rooms. Under the guidance of the Gracie Mansion Conservatory, major restorations to the Mansion were undertaken between 1981 and 1984 and in 2002.
The 2002 restoration transformed Gracie Mansion into the “People’s House” and increased accessibility to the public and City agencies. First Lady Rosalyn Carter and South African President Nelson Mandela are among the many notable visitors.
Gracie Mansion is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Gracie Mansion Conservatory and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
(Gracie Mansion Pamphlet)
Tours of Gracie Mansion:
Join us for free guided tours, offered select Mondays at 10:00am, 11:00am and 5:00pm Reserve online at the Gracie Mansion Conservatory website: nyc.gov/gracietour or call (212) 676-3060.
We look forward to welcoming you and your friends, colleagues and constituents.
Gracie Mansion Conservatory:
After years of neglect and continual erosion of any trace of history, Mayor Edward I. Koch and founding Chair Joan K. Davison, established the Gracie Mansion Conservatory in 1981. as a public./private partnership.. Under its guidance, the first major restoration of the house was undertaken between 1981 and 1984. Besides creating a connection between the original house and the Wagner Wing, this effort included the display of art, furniture and decorative objects either purchased or more often, lent by the City’s many cultural institutions. The Charter mandate of the Conservatory was not to seal the residence in the past (especially as there is no record of how it originally appeared inside) but to protect its history while accommodating change and progress by successive generations of New Yorkers.
The Gracie Mansion Conservatory continues to operate as a charitable organization dedicated to enhancing and enlivening its namesake. Its mission is to preserve and honor Gracie Mansion’s Federal Period origins while also making sure it remains as forward-looking and welcoming as the city it serves. An increasing share of this work focuses on exploring the many different people and cultures whose contributions to Gracie Mansion and the New York at large gone unrecognized for far too long. The Conservatory also works to improve the surrounding landscape and gardens and provide public programming and educational services, including publications and tours for local school students, especially those studying in New York State’s 7th grade social studies curriculum.
(Gracie Mansion Conservatory pamphlet)
Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Gracie Mansion Conservatory pamphlet press kit given on my tour and I give the Conservatory full credit for it. Please check the website for tour information or call them to find out about group tours.
It really is a great tour!