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Twice Saved

May 2023
1min read


I thoroughly enjoyed your piece in the May/June issue of American Heritage magazine on these marvelous old New York City homes (“Williamsburg on the Subway”).

I just thought it might be helpful to note that the Gracie Mansion Conservancy is not a recent phenomenon; rather, it was established in 1981 by Joan Kaplan Davidson when she was asked by Mayor Koch to come up with a proposal for renovating the mayor’s house. As the mayor’s chief of staff at that time I worked hand in hand with Joan Davidson from 1981 on. We raised $4.5 million in private funds and undertook a thorough renovation of the house in 1984 and repainted it in the colors depicted in the article.

I know space is limited in preparing these pieces, but it was Mayor Koch who thought that the house needed to be preserved for the citizens of the city as a working mayor’s home, and one that could be used and enjoyed by all New Yorkers. It was Mayor Koch who began the tour program, which continues today, so you can really say that fifty years after its first rescue, Mayor Koch again came to the rescue of Gracie Mansion.

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