We give a lot of coverage to the lost mansions of New York City, but there are still so many grand estates that still exist within the urban modern landscape. The best part is, you can go inside them too! Here, we explore 10 Gilded Age mansions (and some later mansions) that you can visit, from the former homes of Vanderbilt descendants to the private art collections of financiers and robber barons!

1. William Payne Whitney’s Mansion, 972 Fifth Avenue

  • the French Embassy, also known as the Payne Whitney House
  • Venetian Room at the Payne Whitney Mansion
  • Albertine hidden bookstore

This five-story mansion designed in a high Italian Renaissance style was a wedding gift for William Payne Whitney and Helen Julia Hay. It was designed by Stanford White and completed in 1909. Today the building houses the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and you can go inside! The marble rotunda and Albertine Books are open to the public. In the rotunda, you can see a marble statue thought to be an early work of Michelangelo and peek into the gilded Venetian room which was beautifully restored in 2018.

Mansions of Fifth Avenue Tour

Ukrainian Institute

Go inside this mansion on our upcoming tour of the Gilded Age mansions of 5th Avenue!

The Venetian Room shimmers with mirrored walls, an abundance of golden decorations, and shining sconces and chandeliers. The French bookshop Albertine is one of the best hidden bookstores in NYC and features books in both French and English.