5. Gracie Mansion was the first home of the Museum of the City of New York
After the Gracie family owned the mansion, two other families called the property home. However, by 1896, the city appropriated the building and incorporated it into the 11-acre Carl Schurz Park that still exists today. After decades of serving as a concession stand, park restrooms, and storage, Gracie Mansion became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York in 1923.
The institution used Gracie Mansions until January 11, 1932, when it relocated to its current Fifth Avenue location. The new building, based on the design of architect Joseph H. Freedlander, could only be constructed after the museum posted newspaper and subway advertisements regarding donations. Due to these donations, the Museum of the City of New York wanted to call itself the city’s most “democratic’ museum.” Given its mayoral history, this defacto title maintained a democratic theme throughout the museum’s history.