Gracie Mansion is the official residence of the mayor of the City of New York. Built during 1799, it is located in Carl Schurz Park, at East End Avenue and Eighty-eighth Street in Manhattan. The mansion is on the shore of the East River, overlooking the channel known as Hell Gate.

Archibald Gracie built the two-story wooden mansion with Federal style. The design of the structure is attributed to Ezra Weeks, a prominent builder or John McComb, Jr., the architect of New York City Hall and Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton's country home in Harlem, New York. By suggestion of Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr.'s wife Susan, plans were initiated for a new west wing, completed during 1966. The architect of the Susan B. Wagner Wing, as it is now called, was Mott B. Schmidt. Though criticized at the time for not being "modern," the wing has come to be regarded as an appropriate solution to the problem of expanding the small house for official functions. The Gracie Mansion Conservancy restored portions of the building during 1981-1984, and made further restorations during 2002.

A different building on approximately the same site was commandeered by George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, as it strategically overlooked Hell Gate. That building was called Belview Mansion and was the country residence of Jacob Walton, a New York merchant. The British destroyed this house during that war. Archibald Gracie then built another building, what is now known as Gracie Mansion, on the site during 1799, and used it as a country home until 1823, when he had to sell it to pay debts. Other people lived in the house until 1896, when the municipal government seized it and made its grounds part of Carl Schurz Park. It served various functions as part of that park (at various times it housed public restrooms, an ice-cream stand, and classrooms) until 1924. From 1924 until 1936 it housed the Museum of the City of New York, and from 1936 until 1942 it was shown as a historical house. During 1942, Robert Moses convinced Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia to appropriate the house as a mayoral residence. Its main floor is open to the public on a limited basis and serves as a small museum.

Gracie Mansion today
The house may only be used for official city business. Only visiting public officials and the mayor's family may reside with the mayor at the mansion, even for a single overnight stay. As a result, Mayor Rudy Giuliani was unable to have his then-girlfriend live with him (because they were not married), because it would have violated using a taxpayer-funded home for a private citizen. Giuliani was forced to relocate out. Likewise, current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is divorced and has had girlfriends during his time in office, has never resided at Gracie Mansion, although he uses it for meetings and events and has used the Mansion as a place for official visitors to stay while in the city. At the beginning of Bloomberg's term he initiated a major restoration of the mansion, funded by an anonymous donor, rumored to be the wealthy mayor himself.

In popular culture
  • The original footage from The WPIX Yule Log was filmed on 16 mm film at Gracie Mansion, and shown from 1966 to 1969 on WPIX-TV. As they removed a protective grate to film the blazing fire, a stray spark ruined a US$4,000 antique rug.
  • The mansion is featured in the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three .
  • The mansion is featured in the film Ghostbusters II , when the title characters visit the mayor regarding the imminent takeover of New York City by ghosts.
  • In The Pest , the title character visits the mansion while selling door-to-door.
  • The mansion and its surroundings play a prominent role in the novel Hell Gate, by author Linda Fairstein.
  • Gracie Mansion was also seen in the movie City Hall, featuring Al Pacino and John Cusack.

Building Activity

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