Thu-Mon, noon-5pm; Tue-Wed, closed
6 at Astor Pl.
$8, $5 students and seniors, free for children under 12
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Everything about this Federal-style building creates an immediate sense of warmth: It looks, feels, even smells like it could be a great-great-grandparent’s old house. The sparse number of attendants (there are usually only one or two workers present and no security guards lurking over visitors’ shoulders) adds to the intimacy. Built in 1832, this former dwelling of Seabury Tredwell, a wealthy importer, is the only completely preserved 19th century family home—from the pine floorboards to the molded ceilings. With three stories open to the public (the basement, parlor and second floors) showing off elegant Greek Revival interiors, formal parlors, and plaster ceiling medallions, the Merchant’s House gives visitors a sense of how the upper class lived in mid-19th-century New York. Although there are some signs that read “Please do not touch,” guests are invited to peek inside closets. The last resident, Seabury’s daughter Gertrude, died alone in the house in 1933, at the age of 93. According to one of the caretakers, however, any rumors that the house is haunted are utterly false.Double Parlors
Before heading straight to the back room to pay, take a quick glimpse at the Tredwell family photographs inside the front and rear parlor rooms. Inside are the original mahogany dining table, 12 “balloon-back” dining chairs and reproduction of the original red silk draperies.
Eliza Tredwell’s Bedrooms
Seabury’s wife occupied a bedroom on the second floor, which served many purposes (common in those days). The dressing room, sitting room, sick room and delivery room were necessities in the life of a woman with seven children.
Through the basement is the entrance to the back courtyard. Plants are unkempt, but the sun shines directly onto the cast iron and cement benches.
Self-guided tours are free with admission. Guided tours are free and offered on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the afternoon. Appointment for groups of students or adults can be scheduled throughout the week.