info 03.14.14

Henderson Place
Carl Schurz Park and
Gracie Mansion
the skint

Henderson Place Historic District consists of 549-553 E. 86th Street [EEA], 6-16 Henderson Place, 140-154 East End Ave., and 552-558 E. 87th. Although high-rises encroach, you can still feel the presence of an earlier era here. The cul-de-sac was completed in 1882, the development of fur importer and hatmaker John C. Henderson (Lamb and Rich were the architects). It was conceived as a housing group for "persons of moderate means," and the Queen Anne houses, 24 of which remain, were modest for the time, though they certainly are charming. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne lived here.

Across the street is an entrance to Carl Schurz Park, named for the German immigrant Carl Schurz (1829-1906), who served in the Lincoln and Hayes administrations and who later became an editor of the New York Evening Post and Harper's Weekly. The park's most notable feature is the promenade along the East River.

The park connects to John Finley Walk, where the expansive views continue. John Finley (1863-1940), a City College president and New York Times editor-in-chief, was, in addition to his many other accomplishments, the original power walker.

Archibald Gracie built the Federal-style Gracie Mansion, 88th and EEA, in 1799. The City bought it in 1887, but it didn't become the mayor's residence until 1942. When Mrs. Wagner lived here, she was unhappy with the ambience and size of the house, and raised money to add a wing (1966). The small room with her portrait may be the nicest spot—of the public rooms, anyway. Designer Jamie Drake gave the whole mansion a gussy-up in 2002.

You can tour the mansion (on most Wednesdays, $7, reserve well in advance). When we visited, we asked if departing mayors were asked to leave something behind for the mansion.

Our tour guide looks at us in disbelief and asks, "Like what, you mean some of their personal furniture?"

Yes, we say.

She: "Honey, when they're gone, they're gone."

skint - adj. british slang (1930-35)
lacking funds, broke, bust, stone-broke, impecunious

Around town this weekend, courtesy of the skint: a daily listing of free and cheap things to buy, see, do and eat in New York.

thru sun: sketchbooks from artists from around the world are displayed and available for check out at the sketchbook project's stop at the brooklyn art library. free.

thru 6/15: 88 silver gelatin prints from fashion photographer bill cunningham's 'facades', an eight-year project for which he photographed models dressed in vintage outfits with historical backdrops throughout nyc, are being displayed almost four decades later at the new-york historical society. $18 (pay-what-you-wish fridays 6-8pm).

thru 7/20: 'park avenue paper chase': seven aluminum + fiberglass sculptures by artist alice aycock take over the park avenue median from 52nd to 66th street

sat 10am-2pm: shop from over a thousand new + used cookbooks at 'bargain prices' at the james beard foundation's bi-annual cookbook sale. 167 w. 12th st. (bet. 6th + 7th aves), free admission.

sat 7pm doors, 7:30pm show: cello rock band break of reality play subculture. $17 adv, $20 door.

Washington DC

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