Surprising Irish Links in NYC’s Mayoral Mansion

Gracie Mansion. January 21, 2010. Ed Reed

By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
April / May 2016

Built between 1799 and 1809 by Ezra Weeks, Gracie Mansion is the mayoral residence in New York, and it’s likely that Irish builders, artisans, and tradespeople were numerous among the construction team, and the ballroom’s chandelier is Irish crystal, donated to the house by the descendants of William Russell Grace, the city’s first Catholic mayor, who was born in 1832 in County Laois.

More recently, when de Blasio and his family moved in, they sought to curate the house’s art collection, and created an exhibit that told the stories of the people who helped build New York, and to give a sense of the immigrant fabric of the city around the time of the house’s construction, including the Irish.

“Representation matters,” First Lady and Mayor’s Fund Board Chair Chirlane McCray told Irish America, “and so many stories of the people who helped build it, and helped build the city, were not being told.”

“The porcelain statuette called ‘Stitch, Stitch, Stitch’ [1877] highlights the poverty and working conditions of Irish textile workers, and the ‘Exiles of Erin,’ [1809] broadside, is a call to action for Irish immigrants to rise up against oppression,” she said.

“We hope that every visitor will leave Gracie with a better understanding of the challenges faced by Irish New Yorkers and how their struggles paved the way for the New York City that we know today.”

"Exiles of Erin" broadside on display at Gracie Mansion.

Tours of Gracie Mansion are free to the public and held weekly. ♦

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

A Visit to the Irish
America Hall of Fame

The Irish America Hall of Fame is fast becoming a travel destination in Ireland. The Hall of Fame is housed at the...

More

You’ve Got Mail:
Irish History From Stamps

℘℘℘ Over the last four decades, stamp-collecting, also known as “philately,” has been undergoing a slow...

More

Hall of Fame 2020

℘℘℘ The 2020 Irish America Hall of Fame dinner and inductions will be held in New York City on March 12,...

More

A Citizen’s Assembly on a United Ireland

A united Ireland seems more possible now than at any point in our history ℘℘℘ “Brexit has catapulted...

More