Lower East Side Tenement Museum

December 7, 2009
A recent photo of my apartment.

Why would I want to take a tour of where poor people lived?
I know this is a website about mansions, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include some other historical sites.  The Tenement Museum An entire brownstone on the Lower East Side that’s been gussied up to look like a tenement from the early 20th century.  It’s one block away from Congee Village (dumplings!) and a couple doors down from where Gus’ Pickles used to sell their amazing half dills out of barrels.

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December 5, 2009

The 40-room Rockefeller mansion before the murders …

What the heck’s a Kykuit?
Kykuit (rhymes with “die-cut”)  is a 40-room estate built by one of America’s most storied family dynasties,  the Rockefellers.  I went in the early summer and for $18,  my luffer and I (hi Chris!) took a 2 hour tour of the main house, the formal gardens and the garage.  The tour guide was a tetchy old queen straight out of central casting:  Tommy Bahama button down, linen slacks and a James Lipton goatee.  His first “moment” involved hissing at someone in our group who was taking pictures, “what don’t you understand about ‘no photographs’?!”  Meee-ow.

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Historic Old Richmond Town

December 4, 2009
The 314-year-old centerpiece to Historic Richmond Town’s collection of 28 fully and partially restored buildings.

What is Historic Old Richmond Town and do I actually have to call it that?
A museum town, with 28 restored buildings from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries.  There’s a tinsmith, a schoolhouse, a tavern, general store, blacksmith and school, plus a whole lot of private homes.  Some of the buildings were a little down in the mouth — a Colonial Williamsburg gone to seed — but I think it’s pretty cool.  And did I mention it’s smack dab in the middle of Staten Island?!

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Bartow-Pell Mansion

December 2, 2009
This place is in the Bronx right off the expressway and a stone’s throw from Orchard Beach.

What is it?
Fancy old mansion from the 18th century.  It’s furnished and there are pretty gardens and a formal tour.  But it’s only open on weekends until 4 and probably not during the winter.

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