Mt. Vernon Hotel and Museum
The Upper East Side/Sutton Place area of Manhattan is mostly a mix of high rise apartments, hospitals, and the further west you go, octogenarians with awkwardly taut skin. Far east on 61st Street, The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden sticks out like a sore thumb. Dwarfed by a slew of ugly residential towers around it, the tiny hotel is a remnant from 1799, when the area was a country escape for Manhattanites.
First a carriage house, it was converted to a hotel in the 1820s, and was a popular vacation destination for wealthy city folk who needed a break from the congestion of Lower Manhattan life. The fashionable were known to take respites at the stone hotel, dine on Turtle Soup and swim in the East River- two things I don’t think any of us could stomach nowadays. Socialites also used it as a “club,” taking a stagecoach up for the day to sip lemonade or play cards. The hotel claimed to be “free from the noise and dust of the public roads, and fitted up and intended for only the most genteel and respectable.”
The place became a private home, was bought by pre-Con Ed (Standard Gas Light Company), until finally bought in 1924 by the Colonial Dames of America, who restored it to its original splendor and opened it as a museum.
Their website looks just as old and out of place as the house itself on the modern block, but it is an awesome existing snippet of a bygone era. You can also rent it for events which I think is pretty cool!
Where: 421 East 61st Street, 10065
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