Explore These New York Mansions Open to the Public
You don’t have to be a robber baron to step inside these New York City mansions.
While most New Yorkers will spend a lifetime hunting for that perfect one-bedroom apartment with in-unit washer and dryer, it’s easy to forget just how opulent the city’s lodgings once were (for a chosen few, of course).
Whether they belonged to Gilded Age industrialists or the children of an American president, these historic mansions are stately, beautiful, and best of all — open to the public.
If you’re looking to step back into old New York, or if you’re an amateur ghost hunter (some visitors have seen full-body apparitions in broad daylight), the Merchant’s House Museum is worth a visit. By learning more about the Treadwells, the well-to-do family that occupied the picturesque 19th century estate for nearly one hundred years, you can take a peek into a period of Manhattan history when horse-drawn carriages filled the streets. During the holiday season, stop by for a staged version of A Christmas Carol, or come by year-round for their monthly candlelight ghost tours.
The Merchant’s House Museum is located at 29 East 4th Street.
Located in a large, gorgeous brownstone on the Upper West Side, the Nicholas Roerich Museum is dedicated to showcasing the works of the eponymous Russian painter. With approximately 200 of Roerich’s paintings and numerous personal writings on display, this museum provides the opportunity to learn more about this spiritually-minded artist famous for his utopian worldview. In support of that view, the museum offers regular programming with a focus on live music.
The Nicholas Roerich Museum is located at 319 West 107th Street.
Among New York City’s treasured fine art museums, the Frick is one of the few Gilded Age mansions left in the city. An impressive collection of Old Master paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya make this opulent estate — which once housed industrialist Henry Clay Frick — a must-see for connoisseurs of Western art. After you’ve basked in the glory of van Dyck and his cohort, check out the museum’s regular cultural programming, which includes orchestral music and keynote lectures.
The Frick is located at 1 East 70th Street.
This former antebellum carriage house and hotel was built in 1799, and to this day is one of the only 18th century buildings still standing in Manhattan. The hotel originally offered a secluded escape for well-off urbanites — the hustle and bustle of the city, at the time, only extended as far north as 14th Street. Inside, eight large rooms furnished with period-appropriate decor provide a glimpse into New York City’s illustrious past. Outside, there’s a lush garden that’s perfect for lounging (or Instagramming) on a nice day.
The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum And Garden is located at 421 East 61st Street.
If you have time for an excursion to the Bronx, you’d be remiss to pass up on a visit to the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. Thomas Pell bought the land in 1654 from the Lenape people, and his relatives erected the current Greek Revival mansion on the property in the mid-1800s. Lush gardens and greenery surround the home and are maintained by the Bartow-Pell Conservancy. Check out their calendar for events ranging from book clubs and tea to candlelight tours and Victorian carolers.
The Bartow-Pell Mansion is located at 895 Shore Road in the Bronx.
Last, but definitely not least, Gracie Mansion is one of the city’s most famous estates. Dubbed the “Little White House,” Gracie Mansion was built in 1799, and has been the official residence of New York City’s mayors since Fiorello La Guardia’s administration. The Upper East Side estate used to be a humble concession stand for the East River Park before being incorporated into the Museum of the City of New York. Later, when Robert Moses lobbied for it to become the mayor’s official residence, it was opened to the public. Tours are in high demand, so make a reservation ahead of time.
Gracie Mansion is located at East 88th Street and East End Avenue.
While these mansions are truly spectacular, Affinia’s residential-sized suites might just give them a run for their money — plus, you’ll enjoy a free wine hour (beat that, Gracie Mansion)! If you book now, you’ll enjoy Affinia’s very best rates of the year. Rooms start at just $119 a night for January and February, with up to 40% off bookings for every month after.