It’s got a spectacular view of the East River and it’s often called “The Little White House.” Or to put it in “New Yawkish” terms, it’s the home of “Hizzoner.” It’s Gracie Mansion and it’s served as the official residence of New York City’s mayor for decades. It’s also one of the sights you’ll see on a Skyline Cruise.
See Iconic Sights on an NYC Skyline Cruise
At Skyline Cruises, we offer a view of some of the most iconic sights the greatest city in the world including:
- The Empire State Building
- Triborough Bridge
- United Nations
- World Trade Center
- Statue of Liberty
We pass by a lot of history. Some of it in areas that other cruise lines don’t necessarily pass by. Gracie Mansion is one of these areas and we want to tell about this beloved historical home.
Gracie Mansion Before the Mayors
Gracie Mansion sits on a bluff over the East River near Hell Gate. It’s adjacent to Carl Schurz Park and it didn’t serve as the mayor’s home until the 20th Century. According to the New York City website, the home was built by a prosperous merchant named Archibald Gracie. Gracie had a well-known business advisor by the name of Alexander Hamilton and in 1801, according to the City Parks Department the former Treasury Secretary and current Broadway obsession came to Gracie Mansion to raise funds for a new newspaper venture. Hamilton’s newspaper was successful and you can still buy a copy today. It’s called the New York Post.
Gracie ran into financial hardship and sold the home in 1823. It went to another owner and the property was appropriated by the city of New York in 1896 after an owner didn’t pay taxes. They used the 11 acres as parkland and in 1910 named the park after Schurz, a German-born former diplomat, US Senator from Missouri and Secretary of the Interior. At the time the park was named, the surrounding neighborhood had a strong German population.
During the early part of the century, Gracie Mansion was used as a concession stand and restroom facility at the park. But the building was restored and it was the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. In 1942 Parks Commissioner Robert Moses was able to have the home dedicated as the mayor’s official residence.
A Mansion for the Mayor
The first mayor to live there was legendary 5-foot-2 power broker Fiorello La Guardia. According to the New York Times, he took over the mansion to save the city money. But the tradition stuck as Bill O’Dwyer also moved in followed by Mayor Vincent Impelliteri and Robert Wagner. The Wagners expanded the building and added a new wing. After Wagner, John Lindsay, Abe Beame, Ed Koch (who also maintained a Manhattan apartment while mayor), David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and the city’s current mayor Bill De Blasio all lived there.
No, we didn’t skip a name. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose not to live at Gracie Mansion. “To take one of the great houses in this city away from the public I just think is wrong,” Bloomberg told the Times in 2012.
Skyline Offers the Perfect Backdrop for Any Occasion
There are plenty of reasons to see Gracie Mansion or any of the sites of New York City. Skyline’s public dinner cruises head from Flushing and our home port at the World’s Fair Marina to the East River. We also do full ship charters from ports in NY, NJ, LI, Westchester and Connecticut.
You can charter Skyline for any event such as corporate functions, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries, sweet sixteens and of course weddings. We’re used to working with groups of all types, sizes and budgets. In addition to a full ship charter, we can rent a private deck on one of our public dinner cruises. It’s a fantastic value. We can set up a function involving a table or two. Some of our most popular weddings have just a small number of people. If you have a question, just ask. Contact us today.