Best Public, Preserved 19th-Century Home - 2002
MERCHANT'S HOUSE MUSEUM
Unless you've got loads of cash, posh friends, or a real estate license, you probably haven't seen much of the city's townhousesonce the epitome of spacious, suburban single-family dwellings. Many are privately owned todayor, more likely, dissected into teeny apartments. A trip to the MERCHANT'S HOUSE MUSEUMthe only preserved 19th-century home in Manhattanreveals the real lay of the landings. The four-story Greek Revival structure impresses with sweeping staircases, symmetrical double parlors, and original furnishings: Duncan Phyfe chairs, horsehair-upholstered sofas, and pier tables with petticoat mirrors. The finery moved in around 1835 with owner Seabury Treadwell, his wife Eliza, and their seven children, about whom there exists a wealth of information. After the death of his youngest daughter in 1933, the home opened as a museum.