8. Archibald Gracie painted floors and doors to disguise cheap materials
In the main historic part of the house, there are many architectural and design quirks unique to the time period when the house was built. For one, the wooden doors are stained and painted to look like they are mahogany when they are made of a cheaper wood. In the grand foyer, the entrance used by the first family, the wooden floors are painted to mimic a black and white marble floor. Though Archibald Gracie was wealthy, he couldn’t afford the marble, and bare wood floors were not in style but were to be covered with a rug or painted.
Despite these design quirks, many notable politicians and celebrities have visited the mansion to see the real show — the mayor. Among the notable individuals are Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Charlie Chaplin, James Brown, Sophia Loren, Jay-Z, and Martin Luther King Jr. According to a Gracie Mansion tour guide, Leonard Bernstein even once played the historic piano that is located in the corner of the yellow room.